Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pray For Death

Pray For Death Directed By Gordon Hessler. Starring Sho Kosugi. (1985).
    Sho Kosugi is the best actor for this type of genre and the quintessential ninja of the 80's! He can totally act his way out of a paper back,he speaks pretty hilarious broken english and he always acts along side his real children and has a super hot blonde girlfriend. He's like an Asian Charles Bronson (Sho is the 4th or 5th banana in the Cannon Films star roster)! If you see only two ninja films this and Ninja III: The Domination are the ones to choose, but like potato chips you can't just eat (or watch) one. All the stereotypical racist thugs, corrupt cops and unhelpful neighbors are present. Sho Kosugi moves his family to the mean streets of L.A. in an attempt to start his restaurant (which I imagine as a Chinese Pizza parlor, that's destined to fail)! He swore he'd never raise the ninja sword or chuck the Chinese stars ever again, but the most viciously calloused and vile super criminal "LimeHouse" Willie (James Booth) convinces him to don his ninja costume and slay some criminal butt!
    This movie pulls no punches! an old man is set on fire as bad guys cackle hysterically! In one of the most genius tricks to sneak into a hospital, Limehouse decides to slice his wrist to get medical attention so that he can inject Sho's wife with poison. His two "real" sons (Kane & Shane) take down a bunch of punks on mongoose bikes. Sho Kosugi was the king of all 80's ninja movies and the main inspiration for all the goofy ninja lore on the internet and beyond. His first role was to painfully watch Franco Nero in "Enter The Ninja" (or White Ninja) clown around with Christopher George and pretend to be a ninja. Nero wears a white mask over his face and cannot conceal his giant frankfurter mustache! After that came Revenge Of The Ninja which Pray For Death is basically remade, but that doesn't make it less worth your time, both are incredibly entertaining! There's a wicked chainsaw battle toward the end in the final showdown and gratuitous violence to satisfy people with the bad sense to enjoy these Cannon films. Director Hessler made a couple of 70's flicks with Vincent Price (Cry Of The Banshee, Scream and Scream Again) and most famously Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park! and James Booth (who acted in Neil Diamond's Jazz Singer before this) plays Limehouse Willie and wrote this fucker. Hessler in a must read interview with Shock Cinema talks about all the strange details (midgets,tanks, Cher and Dr. Pepper!)

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