Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and the Legacy of Ninja Movies

Ninjas nonetheless proliferate Japanese cinema, particularly in anime. Who can deny the impression of Naruto? And as anybody who has seen it is aware of – Batman Ninja is an unusual deal with of an anime mash-up. There are actually tons of of Japanese ninja movies – anime, basic historic, trendy depictions, tokusatsu tales, even a complete sub-genre of erotic ninja movies. 

And ninja motion pictures are nonetheless well-liked in Japan. In 2019, director Yoshitaka Yamaguchi delivered his extremely regarded twin ninja movies, Last Ninja: Red Shadow and Last Ninja: Blue Shadow. Like Snake Eyes, that was a creation story circling round a ninja rivalry. 

Early Hollywood Ninja Movies

The immigration of ninjas to Hollywood goes again to none apart from James Bond. In 1967, You Only Live Twice launched Bond (Sean Connery in his closing look as 007 in an Eon Production) to a clan of ninja accomplices. The movie marked a major departure from Ian Fleming’s unique novel. You Only Live Twice was the conclusion of Fleming’s “Blofeld trilogy” the place Bond lastly will get revenge on his arch nemesis and assassin of his bride. Bond lastly tracks down Blofeld in Japan, hiding in his “Garden of Death,” a restored citadel surrounded by toxic crops, and dispatches him in a brutal sword struggle. 

The film script was written by kids’s guide writer Roald Dahl, who pirated the plot of the second guide of the Blofeld trilogy, Thunderball, during which SPECTRE steals a missile, however as a substitute of atomic bombs, it’s a manned spacecraft. In retrospect, it felt proper to have Her Majesty’s prime murderer introduce Japan’s elite killers to Western audiences. 

In 1975, celebrated motion director Sam Peckinpah reintroduced Western audiences to ninjas in Killer Elite. James Caan and Robert Duvall play former covert operative companions, Mike Locken and George Hansen. Again akin to Snake Eyes, Locken and Hansen are cut up by a vengeance-filled rivalry. Hansen is in cahoots with a ninja clan, led by Negato Toku, performed by famend real-life Karate grasp Takayuki Kubota. Kubota invented a preferred self-defense keychain that he dubbed Kubotan and instructed many celebrities, notably Martin Kove who performs Kreese in Cobra Kai. Sadly, Peckinpah succumbed to cocaine throughout manufacturing and Killer Elite is regarded by many critics as his worst movie. 

The Eighties: The Golden Age of Ninja Movies

The addition of Snake Eyes into the G.I. Joe universe got here as a reboot of the toys that mirrored the instances. Originally G.I. Joe dolls had been 12” navy figures that had been launched in the Sixties. These had been reality-based figures, every emulating the genuine uniforms and gear of U.S. armed forces. In 1982, the toy line was rebooted at 3 ¼” scale, the similar measurement as the well-liked Star Wars figures launched in the late 70s. 

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