Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pray for Death

  Another Sho Kosugi action vehicle where he moves to America, gets mixed up in some bad business, his family's safety is put at risk, and he must once again unleash the ninja and kick some serious ass.
This doesn't differ too much from his last movie I saw, Revenge of the Ninja, however, this one is nowhere near as corny. Its actually made far better and can be taken almost entirely serious throughout.  There are, of course, stupid moments, silly dialog, flat acting, and the like. But thats to be expected here. Unlike Revenge, these moments dont scream and holler and draw attention to themselves like a man-child at Chuck-e-Cheese's. 

  Akira Saito (Sho Kosugi) plays a mild mannered businessman in Japan, with his perfectly normal family, in their perfectly nice looking house.  His wife however wishes to move back to America, where she's from. Against his better judgment, Akira agrees. They all move to Los Angeles, California, if I remember right, and they plan to open a nice Japanese restaurant. In the ghetto. Yeah.  But no no no, its okay see? "All the big business is coming out this way. This whole neighborhood is up and coming!" says the kindly old man who sells them the property. Unaware that crooks have been using the abandoned part of the building to store stolen valuables. And when one of the crooks gets a little too greedy and decides to keep the stolen jewels for himself, the blame gets tossed around until it lands on the building's new owner: Mr.Saito. Instantly placing him and his family in harm's way. He must "flash his fighting spirit" once again to protect the ones he loves and clear his name with the criminal underworld.

  Now, aside from a little teaser in the beginning of the movie, Sho Kosugi only actually dons the ninja gear towards the end in the big climax. Which isn't a problem at all, unless you came here looking for wall to wall ninja action.  For that, I suggest you go back to 'Revenge of the Ninja'.  This isn't to say though that the movie isn't totally action packed. There isn't five minutes without some kind of action scene going on.  And a particularly fun car chase with Kosugi, again, running after a moving vehicle. He seems to have a knack for that. Lots of fun to be had here. If not a bit dated. Its not a movie thats aged terribly well. Some movies can be timeless and still dated, this one really shows its age though. And seeing as how its bereft of the hilarity and ocassional awfulness of Revenge, you're left with a mixed bag. Its not corny enough to land it in cult classic territory, and its just competant enough to reccomend for a simple two hours of fun, but don't expect pure awesomeness.

   That being said, Pray for Death is pretty fun for what it is. If you dig the eighties and like Sho Kosugi and all his ass-kicking awesomeness, then you'll probably love this movie.  There definately are some great moments in here, and the climax is super cool, but overall its just pretty standard martial arts/ninja flick fare.

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