Sunday, August 14, 2011

Canon MST3K Review: Master Ninja II

A little over a year ago, I did a review of an MST3K episode called Master Ninja I, in which two episodes of the failed 1980s TV Series The Master was presented as one movie. Well, this review is the sequel, Master Ninja II, in which once again, Joel and the 'bots watch two crummy tv episodes jammed into one movie. Yes, that means two more episodes of Timothy Van Patten mumbling through his lines, two more episodes of a stuntman doing all of Lee Van Cleef's action scenes, and two more episodes of throwing stars and smoke bombs. Awesome.

The first episode is titled State of the Union, and guest stars a young Crystal Bernard. She plays a young woman racing against Max in a motocross race named Carrie Brown. Even though Max claims he's faster than a hiccup on greased lightning (I think, although I can't make out what he says half the time), Carrie wins. Yay. Then she turns down Max's advances. Yay again. But as it turns out, Max and the Master are needed, as Carrie has some problems with her boss Chad Webster. See, Carrie is trying to form a union at the cannery, but Chad doesn't want any part of that, and Carrie is convinced that her brother was killed for a similar attempt at forming a union. She then mentions this 34 other times during the episode. As it turns out, Carrie was right about Chad, as he attempts to grab her at a restaurant. But the master saved the day (while Max got his worthless self thrown out of the place) and the three must continue to avoid various attempts on their life. One night, Chad and his thugs run the Master and Max off the road, and the Master is believed to be dead in the crash. Max runs over to Carrie's house, but they're captured anyway. Everybody is taken to the graveyard, where the Master "comes back from the dead", and they have a very confusing fight in the dark graveyard in which somehow, Max and the Master emerge victorious. At the end, Carrie thinks to two for helping prove her brother's murder in a most cheerful manner, and the two leave for another town in the midwest in search of the Master's daughter.

The second half of the movie starts with a bang, as Max is flying a plane he got out of the back of his van (huh?) and rescues a damsel in distress who is driving a fast car with crummy breaks on a cliff. He grabs the girl, and the blond bombshell lands on the Master. As it turns out, she's the daughter of a senator and having a garden party for some European dignitaries. As it also turns out, there's a group a terrorists seeking to kidnap a whole bunch of people at the garden party in the hopes of the release of various political prisoners. Also, George Lazenby is here for some reason, playing a Bond like character who thinks that the Master is a killer. Well, if you saw Master Ninja I, you know that that is true. Lazenby, Max, and everybody else proves useless as the terrorists take about 12 people hostage, including the senator's daughter. At least the Master got one of the bad guys with a throwing star to the back, and Lazenby (or Mallory as he's called here) shoots a tracking device on one of their helicopters. As it turns out, the terrorists are holding the hostages in a giant house right next to the HOLLYWOOD sign. Yeah, that's inconspicuous. Somehow, Max and the Master are arrested for something, but are eventually freed, and the Master agrees to accompany Mallory on a mission to rescue the hostages, but not before a run in with his former pupil out to kill him for leaving Japan or something.

With his escape from his former pupil, the Master gets to the task of rescuing hostages. First, he takes five minutes to climb a rope up onto the roof, and the 'action' begins. Mallory is captured almost immediately, while the Master takes care of one security guard before he too, is captured, but at least he's able to escape by hiding on the roof of a storage closet and taking down a few more security guards. Meanwhile, Max takes out his damn plane from the back of his van and flies onto the property. Both Max and the Master get there just in time to save the senator's daughter from being raped, and the Master frees the hostages and stuffs them in the back of a moving truck. While Max drives off, the Master comes back for Mallory and saves him by tying up the bad guy's machine gun with a rope and then knocking him out with a cartwheel into leaping side kick combo. At the end of the day, Max kisses and leaves again, and they go off in search of the daughter that is never mentioned at one point in this movie.

The acting in this movie/show borders on awful. Except for Van Cleef and Lazenby, you can't even understand half the words the actors say, in part because of bad audio and in part because of the actors themselves. Whoever cast Van Patten as a heartthrob made a huge mistake, as quite simply, he can't act. You can hardly understand what the heck he's saying (something that is mocked to great effect during this episode) and he doesn't exactly fit the profile of a heartbreaker. As far as the action goes, it's cheesy 80s action at it's finest, with car chases and explosions galore. Overall, it makes for a quite humorous episode, as there's just so much to mock here.

The host segments are a mixed bag. The opening segment featuring an improv exercise was well done, as was the Patton spoof starring Crow as Timothy Van Patten 'motivating' his soilders. However, the 70s van segment and the TV detectives pets as determined by Servo segments weren't quite up to the same level.

Overall, this is such a cheesy group of episodes, but Joel and the Bots make it more than bearable. It's actually better than the first Master Ninja episode in my opinion, even without Demi Moore. I'd give the movie a 3.3 out of 10, but the episode a 7.1 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this review, or ideas for future reviews, then feel free to share either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

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