American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (Blu-ray Review)

American-Ninja-3Martial artist David Bradley (Cyborg Cop) takes the reins as Sean Davidson in this third installment of the American Ninja franchise, teaming up with the returning Steve James (American Ninja andAmerian Ninja 2: The Confrontation) in yet another explosive action-packed adventure, American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt.  American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt is directed by Cedric Sundstrom (Captive Rage) from a screenplay by Gary Conway based on the characters created by Gideon Amir and Avi Kleinberger.  The film also stars the likes of Marjoe Gortner (Earthquake) and Michele Chan (TV’s Danger Bay).  American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt will be available, along with the rest of the films in the franchise, on August 23rd!

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With the aid of Curtis Jackson, Sean Davidson battles “The Cobra” , a maniacal terrorist experimenting with biological warfare and an army of genetically-cloned ninjas led by Chan Lee.

Now, I need to be clear.  There is a distinction between a film being “silly” and a film being “stupid”.  American Ninja 2 is clearly the former with this third film is all sorts of the latter. The film features multiple uninteresting and some completely dumb subplots that fail to engage or entertain throughout.  Sometimes you can sit and laugh at these things and have fun, but Blood Hunt never makes a case for that.

The obvious thing with this film that has changed since the last one is that there is no Michael Dudikoff (Explained a bit on the bonus materials).  In steps David Bradley as the American Ninja.  Bradley is serviceable in the acting department and handles the martial arts stuff really well.  However, there is just nothing engaging or likeable about Sean Davidson.

Part of that may be that they brought Steve James back who radiates a screen even when he seems disinterested with a film like this one.  Jame isn’t trying but he overshadows Bradley so much.  It doesn’t help either that the two don’t have much chemistry and their bromance seems so forced.  I read somewhere else that questioned something, and its a good point; why didn’t they just do this as a solo Curtis Jackson event promoting him to be the American Ninja?

Now, with the action, this film is a step down from the previous one, but still on that same “go big and cheesy” page that the last film had.  Unfortunately there are missed opportunities abound even with underwater ninja fights.  It doesn’t help that this movie’s plot and lead character just don’t help to get us into this much.  But, thankfully the action keeps this thing somewhat watchable.

Blood Hunt is clearly the loser in the American Ninja sweepstakes.  Its unfortunate as its the last one to star Steve James.  It had a tough act to follow, and didn’t seem to even try to pick up the candle to hold up to it.  Still, some may get a kick out of this, or just sorta be able to deal with it better than others.  Its part of the franchise and I definitely never skip it and welcome going back to the disappointment each time.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Third verse, same as the first (and second).  Once again, this is the same master.  Just, you guessed it, a little darker (Seriously, we’re only going to do this routine one more time).  American Ninja 3 has a solid picture, a tick under the first two, but not enough for me to drop the score.  Details are find and the image is as sharp as its really gonna be.

Depth:  Average depth again.  Cinematic movements and decent enough spacing make this okay.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and solid.  Some nice shading with minimal detail hidden in the darker areas of the picture.

Color Reproduction:  Mostly greens and plain colors fill this up.  There are some blue ninjas that give this a little pop.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones remain natural and consistent in appearance from scene to scene.  Details on facial feature look good in close-ups where you can see sweat, scars, wrinkles and veins.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some grain, specs and dirt appear, but its no bother.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  Another solid, action heavy fun track.  This is pretty much identical to the 88 Films release as well.  Good, solid movements with layered effects make this impactful and fun.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue sounds fine.  Clear and clean.

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Strike Me Deadly: The Making Of American Ninja 3 (HD, 13:49) – Featuring interviews with director Cedric Sundstrom, executive producer Avi Lerner and actor Gary Conway.  The shortest of the bunch, still engaging though.  Some of the best stuff comes from Michael Dudikoff talking about why he wasn’t in the film and what Cannon was prepping him for instead (Playing Superman in Superman IV or Spider-Man in their Spider-Man movie).

David Bradley Audition Tape (HD, 6:45) – A VHS that displays some acting but mostly Bradley’s fighting abilities.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:40) 

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Here is where Olive Films has clearly topped its UK rival 88 Films.  American Ninja 3 comes with some handsome bonus material to give this maligned film some love.  Its appearance and sounds here is up to snuff with the others and the price is very generous.  If you’re gonna have them all, that’s all you need to ask for.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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