"The Dumb shall become Ninja"
What You Need To Know:
Taking the fat joke shtick too far, this sweet but stupid comedy would have worked much better as a short Saturday Night Live skit. One foul scene involves Haru accidentally breaking into a strip club. All of the strippers have their essentials covered, but Haru decides to rip open his shirt and play with his own nipple. This movie also has astral-projection and false religion beliefs. This movie may make some children laugh, it may not have the strength or stealth to kick up big box office profits
(FR, L, VV, S, N, A, D, M) Eastern philosophy lampooned; 6 obscenities & 2 exclamatory profanities; moderate slap-stick violence including falls, kicking, punching, fighting with sticks, knife throwing, head butts, etc., some gunfire deaths, & shipwreck; strip club scene & brief scene where man & woman roll on the floor; upper male & upper female nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, some gross behavior such as stepping in dog feces
Martial arts movies exhibit elements which are easy to ridicule, such as Eastern psycho-babble, intense physical training and cat-like reflex moves. It was only a matter of time before this genre was spoofed. In BEVERLY HILLS NINJA, Chris Farley plays a fat, unskilled Ninja-in-training who manages to fall, run into poles and get into lots of trouble. Taking the fat joke shtick too far, this sweet but stupid comedy would have worked much better as a short Saturday Night Live skit.
Twenty-five years ago, a white baby washed to the shores of Japan and was raised by a dojo, or leader, of Ninja warriors. After many years of training, bumbling and adding pounds, Haru (Chris Farley) wants to be a Ninja like his brother Gobei (Robin Shou), but he just can’t help performing all the wrong moves. (Haru thinks he is the legendary Great White Warrior foretold long ago in Ninja records.) When Ninja belts and necklaces are given out, Haru is passed up.
Saddened, Haru must stay behind while the others celebrate. Fortunately for him, a beautiful woman named Alison (Nicollette Sheridan) comes to him and requests the help of a Ninja. Eager to help, Haru obliges and lies to her, saying that he is a Ninja. Alison, under the pseudonym Sally, asks Haru to spy on her boyfriend, whom she suspects is involved in foul play. Haru goes to her man, Martin, and discovers that he is counterfeiting Japanese money. When Martin and Alison go to Beverly Hills, California, Haru says it is his duty to go and protect her from danger. A fish out of water, Haru doesn’t know the culture, speech or customs of the community. He bumbles through one set up after another until, aided by Gobei, he fights Martin in a super-fight while a bomb ticks away, threatening the life of Alison.
Some dumb comedies are smart because they have a variety of jokes to carry the usually light-weight plot. BEVERLY HILLS NINJA has only the humor of an overweight man going through spills and pratfalls. The only funny scene involves Haru pretending to be a Japanese chef who fakes all the culinary stunts at the griddle in front of paying guests. One foul scene involves Haru accidentally breaking into a strip club. All of the strippers have their essentials covered, but Haru decides to rip open his shirt and play with his own nipple. So, an innocuous and dumb comedy becomes morally crude.
Nevertheless, the worldview of the movie is enough to stop many discerning viewers. While the movie does not take itself seriously, the dojo, or Ninja master, does give many proverbs and adages that are neither moral nor Christian. In fact, we see the dojo meet Haru and others meet on an animated plane of enlightenment. This is a place where a Ninja can go out of his body and confer with others. It is almost like astral-projection. Also, there are many times where Haru says he is one with the universe. All of this adds up to New Age teachings.
If Chris Farley wants a prosperous career, he needs to expand to the type of comedy he exhibited in TOMMY BOY. That had physical and mental comedy. This movie may make some children laugh, but it may not have the strength or stealth to kick up big box office.