Enter the Ninja (1981) is the first of the Sho Kosugi Ninja movies that would make him the default person known for being THE Ninja.
In this movie, Sho Kosugi is actually not the star, and he plays the bad Ninja (Hasegawa). While Franco Nero is cast in the role of the good Ninja who wears the white uniform. The movie starts out with the white Ninja completing his final test to “graduate” and receive the scroll to being a full fledged Ninja. Okay, it may sound a bit hokey and the music is more reminiscent of a porno flick than a cinematic action flick, but this was really the movie that started the Ninja craze of the 80’s in America. This flick was also the flick that put Sho Kosugi on the map.
After Cole (Franco Nero) passes his test, he heads to the Philippines to visit his friend who is being forced by a big company and mob style business man, to sell his land. When he won’t sell, the thugs are sent to scare off his work force and basically make him sell. When Cole single handily takes them out it forces the main CEO baddie to send his lackey to Japan and get his own Ninja. After Cole’s friend is killed by Hasegawa, it leads to a final battle between the two Ninja.
The movie is still a joy to watch after all these years. I probably watched this weekly if not daily as a kid. I could even see this movie getting a Hollywood update since the story isn’t really dated. Maybe even Kane Kosugi (son of Sho Kosugi) could even be in it? Just keep the special effects to a minimum and rely on the good old practical effects and actual physicality and dexterity of the actors (or stunt people). It’s nice to play a movie that isn’t one CGI effect after another and Enter the Ninja fits the bill.