Revenge of the Ninja (1983) Revisited + Director Sam Firstenberg Interview

Revenge of the Ninja is up there with the best American Martial Arts films ever made. Star Sho Kosugi had made a big impression in Cannon’s Enter the Ninja the year before, stealing the show from his (heavily doubled) co-star Franco Nero. Ninja’s became such a sensation that, in the sequel, Kosugi would be elevated to the lead, becoming the hero of one of The Cannon Group’s most profitable action movies of the eighties.

In this one, Kosugi plays Cho, a former Ninja whose home is attacked by a rival clan. He flees to the United States with his surviving son, Kane (played by Kosugi’s own son, Kane Kosugi), to start an import/export business. Soon, he discovers that his company is being used to import drugs, while at the same time, an evil, demon-masked Ninja is terrorizing the city. Knowing “only ninja can defeat ninja,” Cho once again dons his ninja-yoroi to take on the baddies, with real-ice martial artist Keith Vitale at his side. It all culminated in a spectacular battle between the good Ninja and evil Ninja on top of a Salt Lake City skyscraper, which is widely considered one of the best American-shot fight scenes of the eighties.

In this special episode of Reel Action (written and narrated by Travis Hopson, edited by E.J. Tangonan), we revisited the Cannon Ninja classic while also sitting down for a very special interview with the movie’s director, Sam Firstenberg. If that name sound familiar, it’s because Firstenberg directed most of the great Cannon Films of the era, including Ninja III: The Domination, American Ninja, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, and so many more.

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.