Beverly Hills Ninja (1997) / Comedy-Action
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence and mild sexuality
Running Time: 88 min.
Cast: Chris Farley, Nicolette Sheridan, Robin Shou, Chris Rock, Nathaniel Parker, Soon-Tek Oh, Keith Cooke, Francois Chau
Director: Dennis Dugan
Screenplay: Mark Feldberg, Mitchell Klebanoff
Review published June 30, 2004
SNL alum, Chris Farley (Tommy Boy, Black Sheep), plays Haru, who lands among a clan of ninjas when a ship he is on is shipwrecked while he is still a baby. Prophecy has foretold that a Great White Ninja would come and be their savior, but growing, Haru has shown very little of the skills necessary that would show he is worthy of the honor. As a test of his worthiness, Haru consents to help a desperate woman (Sheridan, The Sure Thing) seeking assistance with the clan in keeping tabs on her ne’er-do-well boyfriend (Parker, The Haunted Mansion), who has gotten his hands in an insidious counterfeit money operation. When the woman disappears, Haru uses clues to trace her back to Beverly Hills, and with his brother Gobei (Robin Shou, Mortal Kombat) at his side, rescue her from any mishaps that may have befallen her.
Beverly Hills Ninja is one of the most juvenile PG-13 films you’re ever likely to see, with only one joke going for it to see how many pratfalls the portly actor can endure without killing himself or others. If you have fits of laughter whenever you see a fat man fall on his face, this is the kind of movie for you. No one, and I mean no one else need apply. Even Chris Rock (Dogma, Lethal Weapon 4) fans will be disappointed at just how poor the level of humor is here. Nicolette Sheridan proves to be the only asset worth watching here, more for her mini-skirt than for her acting skills. Only for Farley’s biggest fans, who are obviously not very hard to please.
©2004 Vince Leo