Ninja Nope

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Ha! Unholy masters of unintentional comic relief, if you ask me.

 

Confession time, again. I was never much into the whole ninja craze that hit America in the 80’s and despite oh, 30+ years of trying to watch a chunk of these films, they just bounce off my imagination like bullets off Superman’s chest. Sorry, but the sight of some guy in black or white pajamas throwing down a smoke bomb and a handful of sharpened jacks just makes me chuckle to on end. Give an American ninja a deck of Hanafuda cards and he’d still be a joke shilling 3-card monte on a street corner somewhere in Baltimore.

Granted, the films I’m referring to are primarily American-made and very intentionally cheesy (even if they try too damn hard to be serious). I’ve seen a few Asian ninja flicks that I vaguely recall being “okay” in that “Well, it’s made over there, so it’s not so bad” manner one says as he politely dismisses more guys in their pajamas tossing pointy metal stars and throwing gravel in the faces of their enemies as they make a clean getaway (snicker!). Yeah, I just think the whole idea of stealthy assassins dropping in on a catered or any affair to bump off some poor sap(s) is prime hilarity more than any actual threat.

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Worst Assassins Ever (The Non-Blogathon!) #1: The French Connection

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A good cop? Oh, the irony of that caption. Or, a picture is worth a thousand words (or less)…

IF yours truly was ever going to host a blogathon, it would either be something like the ‘That’s NOT My City!’ or ‘Worst Assassins EVER!’ blogathon because both are topics that make me chuckle in films more than they’re supposed to. As a native New Yorker who’s heard from a bunch of friends over the decades about how certain films shot here (or places pretending to be here) range from inspiring (great!) to “It’s so unsafe there! Do you actually go out at night?” (lousy!), I can think of far too many made in (or outside) in NYC films to scribble about. As for terrible assassins in films, with assistance I could probably write a book on how the best of the best go from first in their class to dirt-napping klutzes thanks to inconvenient plot monkey wrenches needing them to forget how good they are in favor of making a series of increasingly terrible decisions that put them into the hall of shamefully comedic demises.

However, between being a bit more scattered than usual (“I want the hangings public” is my mantra of late) and not motivated enough to create all those GIFs, promo posters and banner art to pass out to potential contributors, I’ve decided to flip a coin for the name and non-host a stealth blogathon anyone can contribute to. Or not. Actually, this particular film popped into my head first because it fits both categories perfectly AND happens to be a great essential flick that’s still well worth a look. For those about to complain… don’t. I love this film to death, but repeated viewings over a few decades show it’s got a hidden comic gold vein running through it in the form of one the the most inept professional killers you’ll ever see. Continue reading

Leonard Nimoy: The Transformed Man Passes

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The universe of stars just got a bit dimmer with the loss of Leonard Nimoy earlier today. Known primarily for his work on the Star Trek series, animated series and film series, the man was also a writer, director and producer with a body of work that showed he was more than just Mr. Spock. The character was actually a great deal more nefarious looking and fervent when the show began (as seen here), but mellowed in looks over time. Spock’s demeanor also shifted to a less intense, but still compelling presence that helped carry many an episode and helped keep him a fan favorite. His role as that character was so pivotal to his career that even when he tried to gently distance himself from it, it very likely was his role as Spock that got some Trek fans interested in his other film and TV work. Of course, he never really hated being Spock, but his sense of humor based on fan reaction made for a nice second autobiography.


 

Not a way I wanted to go about having a Friday, but I’m glad to have had the pleasure of enjoying his work on Star Trek and a plenty of other projects he’d worked on during his 83 years on the planet. No matter how you feel about the man and his work, it’s an absolute fact that he lived long and prospered. So long, sir – you’ll be missed by many.