Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)

(Second Viewing, On Cable TV, September 2015) I’m pretty sure I saw Beverly Hills Ninja in theaters, three months before I started writing these online movie reviews in early-1997.  There’s no wonder, though, as to why I’ve kept almost no memories of the film: It’s terrible.  Starring Chris Farley as a dim-witted buffoon trained as a ninja, Beverly Hills Ninja is one pratfall after another, played broadly enough to appeal to all the kids in the audience.  Farley is more annoying than endearing, and the film never loses a moment going for subtlety when endless hammering of the same joke is possible.  Worse yet: Many of the physical gags can be seen coming long in advance, adding to the misery of the entire film.  The bright spots are few and frustrating: Robin Shou is a far more enjoyable protagonist as a competent ninja fixing the title character’s mistakes, while Chris Rock shows up and doesn’t have much to do as the sidekick.  There are echoes of Beverly Hills Ninja in Kung-Fu Panda, but the comparison is almost cruel to the latter animated feature.  There are films best left in the sands of time, and Beverly Hills Ninja is an unremarkable example of those.

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