Top positive review
The "REAL" 3 Ninjas Are Back!!
on July 18, 2003
The original brothers return in this, the third installment in the 3 Ninjas Trilogy. Like a lot of fans of the series, I really enjoyed the first film a lot. It just had the perfect blend of humor, action and drama to make for a great adventure. Michael Treanor as Rocky, Max Elliot Slade as Colt, & Chad Power as Tum Tum really had some great chemistry together. Rocky was more of the sensitive thinker, while Colt was more of the aggressive type. And Tum Tum? Well, he was more a combination of comic relief as well as a way of letting smaller kids feel like they could be a ninja too. But like many fans, I was very disappointed with the 2nd installment, 3 Ninjas Kick Back, because Michael Treanor & Chad Power were replaced by two other actors. This was the biggest mistake in the world and it crippled the franchise as a result. Kids aren't stupid. They will notice when you change actors on them in a movie. Thankfully, Treanor & Power returned for the third installment, 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up.
Directed by Simon S. Sheen, "Knuckle Up" is a story about an indian community being mistreated by a cruel and sadistic landowner (played nicely by Charles Napier) and it's up to the 3 Ninjas to take him down, with the help of a pretty indian girl named Jo (played by Crystle Lightning). The Kevin Costner movie, Dances With Wolves, brought about a huge interest in Indian culture, and "Knuckle Up" is one of the many films about Indians that was made as a result. There is a true mysticism about their ways that the brothers discover and make their own. But then you gotta love the 3 Ninjas Dance!!
This film may not be as clever or humorous as the original, but it still is great fun. Colt fighting a bunch of guys while holding a pizza in one hand is just an example of the cool choreography. And those who scoff at the cuts of Victor Wong (Grandpa) with his stunt double, which were handled more effectively in the first film, should know that this film was made on a very low budget, much lower than the first two films, and they just didn't have the money to make it more realistic. But what's really great about the film is its heart. There's a great moment where Rocky (the thinker) understands the meaning of the flowers and why he and his brothers need to be more like them. Great scene!
The DVD doesn't have much as far as special features. You get both the Widescreen & Full Screen Presentations (I recommend the Widescreen version) as well as some bonus trailers of other films like: Roughnecks, Buddy, Beverly Hills Ninja, The Karate Kid & Jumanji. The front cover of the case is odd because the 3 Ninjas are all dressed up in white karate outfits, which they never wore in the film at all.
This film has a good message and plenty of fun humor, action and heart to entertain just about anyone. I recommend it and the first film highly. It's too bad these guys didn't do the fourth installment (perhaps they were just too old by then?). This would've also made a great TV show for kids too.
3 Ninjas Knuckle Up - Add it to your collection!
"Colt's gonna kiss Jo! Colt's gonna kiss Jo!"
"Come on, Guys! Okay...Maybe I will."
"WHAT??!!" -Michael Treanor, Max Elliot Slade, & Chad Power as Rocky, Colt & Tum Tum - the 3 Ninjas