Russian soldiers kidnap a Swedish scientist that has discovered the secret to nuclear fusion control so they can finally become the ultimate superpower. After a failed rescue attempt due to a double-agent, the CIA resorts to bringing in one of the best ninja-teams from Sweden who will do whatever it takes to keep the secret formula out of the wrong hands.
When we were plotting out this Swedish review-a-thon, it was decided that one of the movies I would cover would be "Dragonetti" and talking about it with Ronny I discovered that a lot of people pit "Dragonetti" against the Swedish action classic "The Ninja Mission". Being that the two are often compared in order to decide which one is the more violent movie and because "The Ninja Mission" is one of the most successful Swedish movies made, I figured I had to watch it.
Right off the bat, "Ninja Mission" is one big ball of 80's action clichés; the story is about Russians (It's the 80's, so of course the Russians are the bad guys.) trying to obtain a "secret formula" that would shift the controlling powers to their side. So the (British) CIA sends in an elite squad of Swedish ninjas in to rescue the old scientist and his daughter who've been taken hostage and kick some pinko-commie ass. Hot damn! Let the battle of the accents commence! But wait a minute, you're probably asking yourself, "Why ninjas?" Because it was the 80's and those are the only people who could get the job done during that decade. Duh.
Though, after watching the movie and thinking about how this movie is the most successful Swedish movie, only one question popped into my head: Why? Okay, that's not exactly fair. Yes, "Ninja Mission" is a bad movie but it's an 80's action movie so you can't expect anything less. The movie has everything you'd come to expect from an action flick of that time period: secret agents, double-secret agents, Russians, a Communist threat, buildings having an unusually high amount of cardboard boxes being stored, good guys being able to kill all the bad guys even though they're outmanned and outgunned. It's all here, even non-movie related decade clichés are present: bad hair, bad clothes, cheesy synth music, etc.
"Ninja Mission" is bad, no matter how you look at it but that is also what makes the movie watchable and entertaining. Certainly no one believes a movie called "Ninja Mission" that was made in 1984 would be good, and thankfully, it lives up to those expectations. Yes it's certainly illogical and almost quite stupid at times (C'mon. If you're trying to be stealthy why would you leave a guard's dead body out in plain sight?) and the acting is downright painful at times. It all works at making the movie more fun, and quite frankly, "Ninja Mission" isn't any worse than any of the Hollywood big-budget action movies from the same time. Actually I'd say "Ninja Mission" is better because it takes things way over the top during the climax. The ninjas finally breaking out some swords and put them to good use by slicing and dicing, they also use a serum that cause a person's head and heart to explode, and people getting shot to hell in slow-motion gory goodness. It's enough to make a gal's heart skip a beat, if you know what I mean.
Personally, I didn't like "Ninja Mission" but that's because I've never really been an action fan. As far as the movie itself goes; yes it's bad, actually, it's down right terrible. To be fair though, it's not poorly made movie. As a matter of fact, it's well made in some respects and a lot of what makes it bad is simply the high levels of cheese. All of which could be a factor of when the movie was made and that "Ninja Mission" is nothing more than a victim of circumstances. Regardless of its lack of quality, it was still an entertaining ride and it satisfied a great deal of the audience's bloodlust. I can't recall too many (good) action movies from the US that featured a henchman's head getting chopped off and flying through the air in slow motion. Maybe if there were, I would have been a bigger fan.