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So Bad it’s Netflix #29: Scene Breakdown Special Edition – American Ninja II (1987)

So what if the their Spielberg collection consists of Amistad and Hook? Who cares if the only Altman films they have are Three Women, Ready to Wear and Popeye? What Netflix does have in abundance is garbage. It’s time to surrender and celebrate it. This isn’t so bad it’s good… this is so bad it’s Netflix! 

American Ninja II: The Confrontation (1987)

“Near the start when Joe and Jackson are leaving their superior’s office, a different actor is playing Joe.” American Ninja II‘s imdb page.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Come on, imdb; this is stated with way too little excitement. A mistake like this only comes around every so often. We’ve all seen instances in which a stunt double can be recognized in an action sequence. These goofs usually occur in low quality action vehicles, but even the occasional “quality” picture fucks up royally like American Sniper did with its fake baby nonsense. Ninja II is a perfect movie to see a stunt double’s face in; with a budget of less than a half million, one practically expects to see such things as part of the package. But this particular sighting is very special, since this double, is, well, not performing any stunt at the time.

Let’s break up the scene into shots. First you have the asshole superior officer who doesn’t like our heroes for some reason.

BOSS

Then you have your two-shot of the boys.

TWO SHOTNext there are the close ups.

DUDIKOFF CUSIDEKICK CU

And then… the wide shot.

STUNT 1

I can’t remember if I noticed Dudikoff’s absence from this angle right away but if I didn’t- shame on me. One can see immediately that Dudikoff has left the building here. And once they turn and walk out…

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DUDIKOFF ECUSurprise! This movie is far shittier than you thought! At five seconds, the shot lasts an eternity, as if the filmmakers really wanted us to notice this imposter. Kudos to the stunt guy for adding his own style to the proceedings by looking directly into the camera. Magnifique!

Top Ten Reasons Why Michael Dudikoff was replaced by a stunt Double in this shot

  1. Dudikoff had to go to the bathroom to do a Ninja 1, a Ninja 2 or a Ninja III: The Vomiting
  2. Dudikoff had too many ninjas to kill to just stand around and act in a dumb movie
  3. The producers were afraid that Dudi would fall into the gaping bottomless pit in the middle of the floor
  4. The Dudi ran off when upon hearing there was only one crab leg left at craft services
  5. The Dudi’s contract said he couldn’t be filmed from behind; he has a three foot protrusion jutting out of his butt bone
  6. The director and editor are legally blind, mentally disabled and aren’t they just precious and wonderful for trying to make a little movie?
  7. It was also in Dudikoff’s contract that he had to hang ten when those bodacious waves got gnarly
  8. Dudi had to take a last minute gig as Mel Gibson’s stunt double
  9. Stunt double wanted to start with small tasks and slowly ramp up to the big stuff
  10. A family emergency. I know it’s not funny- these things rarely are