Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)

Posted in Reviews by - November 05, 2014
Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)

The burly Chris Farley is promoted to starring role status with this dumb comedy. The film appeals to his natural abilities as a physical comedian with a story mostly consisting of him bumping into things. With his bowl-cut hairdo and faux superiority, he is charming as the innocent orphan man-child Haru who was raised a ninja in a rather idyllic Japanese dojo setting. “He’s fat, he’s a fool, and he’s an embarrassment to ninjas everywhere,” says his exasperated fighting brother Robin Shou, playing sensai’s pet and straight man to Farley’s tomfoolery. Haru flies to Beverly Hills in pursuit of an American lady who has links to a major counterfeiting scheme masterminded by a Japanese crime syndicate and a token evil British guy. He must uncover the true culprits to fulfill an ancient prophesy of becoming the so-called Great White Ninja. Much of the comedy remains rooted in pratfalls, even when Farley’s SNL friend Chris Rock shows up as a hotel bellboy, who is then left to chase a chicken around for the rest of the film. There are shades of Jack Black in Farley’s loud physicality and he displays great promise and confidence as a leading man, if only he had not died from drugs soon after the film’s release.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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