Making the Grades
Recently, I was speaking with the manager of a couple of large video outlets about how she determines what movies will rent. "If it has a naked woman on the cover, it will always make money," she claims. I think one other item can be added to that blanket statement: If it has the word "Ninja" on the cover, it too will always rent, especially to the young crowd.
Having not seen the original, I don't know if 3 Ninjas Kick Back is worse or (hard to imagine) better than it's Disney predecessor. The first one grossed over 30 million dollars on a film that cost 6 million (peanuts by Hollywood standards) to make.
But the real reason I'm so hard on these movies is the lack of any attempt to solve a problem without violence. The language is quite clean, with one very mild sexual innuendo, and a few rude jokes. However, the Home Alone style of violence completely mocks the true Ninja philosophy. According to Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, author of The Essence of Ninjitsu (the Japanese philosophy that Ninja's are to adhere to), "The first priority of the ninja is to win without fighting."
I have yet to see a Ninja movie that even for a moment contemplates resolution without force. Good guys take on bad guys throughout this film, and consequences for their actions are never seen. The movie is also plug full of stereotypical characters, some bordering on racism. Check the maniac taxi cab driver who wears a turban and can barely speak English.
It's no secret that I have a problem with this type of entertainment packaged for children. If your kids are interested in seeing this movie, I urge you to preview it first, and make your own decision. This type of cartoon violence is far more offensive to some than it is to others, and only parents can decide what's right for their kids. However, if you do let your kids watch this one, at least explain what Ninjitsu really means.