(director/writer: J.F. Lawton; cinematographer: Jack Conroy; editor: Eric Strand/Robert Ferretti; music: Leonard Eto/Motofumi Yamaguchi; cast: Christopher Lambert (Paul Racine), John Lone (Kinjo), Joan Chen (Kirina), Yoko Shimada (Mieko), Yoshio Harada (Takeda) Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: R; producers: John Davis/Gary Goldstein; MCA Universal Home Video; 1995-in English and Japanese, with English subtitles)

A mostly risible graphic martial-arts thriller, that’s not for the squeamish or the critical.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A mostly risible graphic martial-arts thriller, that’s not for the squeamish or the critical. It’s filled with chases, ninja fights , subtitles and, of course, lots of chopped heads. Cult director-writer J.F. Lawton (“Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death“/”Pizza Man”), in this big-budget film, tells the violent tale of a New York businessman Paul Racine (Christopher Lambert) in Tokyo selling computer chips who is pursued by a deadly band of ninja warriors (led by the leader Kinjo-John Lone), after the American witnesses the ritualistic murder of a prostitute Kirina (Joan Chen) decapitated by 3 ninjas after servicing him. Fearing for his life after wounded, Paul’s hospitalized and through the help of a samurai couple, the drunken Takeda (Yoshio Harada) and Mieko (Yoko Shimada), he leaves the hospital via train to escape his attackers. The couple is unseen on the train and kills an army of ensuing ninjas, as they reach an island fortress for Paul to recuperate. The samurai couple teach Paul swordsmanship and samurai survival skills for a few weeks. We learn the couple are rivals of the ninjas and wish to use Paul as bait so they can kill the ninja leader. It ends not with a sword fight but a wrestling match between Paul and Kinjo in the mud, as the American takes out the leader with a rock to the noggin. This speaks volumes for how wacky is this film. The mindless film, seen through flashback, unleashes continual bloodshed and mayhem. I couldn’t see the fun in so much blood, but if you love violent trashy thrillers how could you not love this one!