Mystery Science Theater 3000

Season 3 Episode 22

Master Ninja I

Aired Unknown Jan 11, 1992 on Comedy Central
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Master Ninja I
The crew watch two episodes of the 70's series The Master pressed together into a bad movie. Also, the 'bots make pop-up books of famous novels and Crow uncovers the Van Patten plot.

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  • The first in a series that did not need a sequel. Or a first movie, for that matter.

    This movie is to martial arts films what cats are to particle physics.

    Lee Van Cleef stars as a ninja master, John Peter MacAllister, who stays quietly at his home in Japan until one night when he is attacked by would-be assassins. He defeats them and decides to light out to America. There, he crosses paths with young Max Keller, a do-gooder who has a hamster in a cage attached to the dashboard of his van. Yes, a hamster. In a cage on the dashboard. Just go with it!

    Max has just helped Holly Trumble escape from the evil sheriff on her trail.

    When the group is attacked in a bar, MacAllister for some reason jumps around the room and smashes nearly every piece of equipment in it. I don't know what the dart machine did to hurt him. He also kicks down the row of beer mugs. Finally, he demolishes a section of the ceiling. All to prove that he and his friends are *not* a threat and should be allowed to leave.

    If you don't get it, don't worry, you're not alone.

    Keller offers to help MacAllister find his missing daughter if John will instruct Max in martial arts. Max and John run some training exercises in a public park, in the middle of the day; a ninja spying on them from a tree ten feet away doesn't see or hear them at all.

    Later, Max is trying to get into a building without being stopped. He taps the security guard on the face, then slugs him--never mind the surveillance cameras, genius!

    Once John is on his way upstairs, there's a long scene where we review almost every character who's already been in the movie. Cut to a shot of the ninja leader removing his contact lenses, for some insane reason; then John attempts to cross a room while he is dressed in full black gear, but all he does is walk slowly next to the wall. He doesn't even slink along it with his back flat to it. All the lights are on.

    There's a fight with the mysterious figure, somehow everything resolves itself, except that we don't know what happened to most of the characters, and it's onward into the other half of the movie. Did I mention this is really just two episodes of a t.v. show stuck together? Well, it is.

    The second part tells the tale of a club owner who is being hassled by some thugs. The owner's daughter is a good-hearted soul who is wheelchair-bound and dreams of being a star in the club show. Keller and John must help them throw off the shackles of crime. Or something. And the hamster shows up again!

    There are more car chases, gunfights and bad music, and John climbs up a telephone pole without anyone noticing him. He does the ever-popular leap onto a car roof without getting even slightly hurt. Of course John beats the foes and, with Max, makes his way back to town.

    We get some fights with the evil extortionists, a ludicrous hide-under-a-car scene and as many creepy flute solos as one movie can handle. Max and John save the day again.

    You'll almost wish they hadn't.

    This film is replete with unexplained character appearances, murky settings, lame dialogue and everything else that could possibly distance it from quality storytelling. If you notice anything in it that makes sense, please let me know.moreless

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