Tuesday, March 13, 2012

MST3K: Episode 322 - Master Ninja I

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that can be found here and here.

Episode 322: Master Ninja I

First aired: Comedy Central on 11 January 1992
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon (Volume 20), Shout Factory (Volume 20), Best Brains (Volume 20)

Master Ninja I
Again, as with most of Season Three, this is another episode that I didn't see when it aired during the Comedy Central run of MST3K. I missed a lot of good stuff during the season. Some great stuff, too.

This episode is more towards the "good stuff" and "great stuff" ... but it is good.

During Season Three, there were several movies that were actually two cobbled-together episodes of TV shows. Four, so far. This makes five.

The other episodes featured movies made from Japanese TV shows. This one is an American show, although it has a Japanese theme, what with the ninja stuff and all.

The copy of this episode I watched is the iTunes version. This one is a better version than some iTunes releases. Many others have chapter markers every 10 minutes. This one, though, has the chapter markers at actual breaks, such as, well, commercial breaks, and the Host Segments. Which is the way all the iTunes versions should be. Oh, and, yes, my DVD collection is complete. I have Volume 20 but never watch the DVD. Having it on iTunes is so much more convenient.

The movie went from clueless to Clu-less
A running gag during the second half of the movie is Crow making references to "the other episode" then correcting himself, as if he's not supposed to mention it's two episodes of a show made into a movie.

Towards the end, he goes ahead and tells Joel, who is not too happy. Whether he's unhappy that the movie was parts from a TV show, or if he's unhappy that the robots knew that and he didn't isn't clear to me.

This episode featured more riffs aimed at the actors than previous episodes. One notable exception was Episode 106: The Crawling Hand, where they riffed on Alan Hale, Jr. Timothy Van Patten was the primary target in this episode.

You can trust your bar to the man who throws the star...
The premise of the movie -- based on the premise of the TV show -- is that John Peter McAllister, played by Lee Van Cleef, is a ninja. No, I'm not making this up. McAllister left Japan to search for his daughter he didn't know he had. He meets a hot-head with a van and a gerbil and they travel around fighting wrong. Or something.

They save Demi Moore's and Claude Akins's family airport from Clu Gulager, then save a Dancing Pirate's nightclub from a Japanese crime lord. Typical jobs for your everyday ordinary roaming American ninja with a gerbil-owning sidekick.

A good-but-not-great episode. Some funny bits in Deep 13. When one of the Mads tries to smother the other Mad, that's always fun. And, some of the actors in the film were actually pretty good actors. Not all, but some. Lee Van Cleef, Bill Saito, Soon-Tek Oh... Of course, casting Koreans as Japanese ticks me off as much as casting Canadians as Americans. Oh, well. Such is Hollywood.

Oh, by the way... there will be a Master Ninja II. You have been warned.

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