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Humpday Horribleness: ‘Pocket Ninjas’

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One of the great features over at the Internet Movie Database is the Bottom 100. Based on ratings viewers of the site give to various films, the worst of the worst films get put on this list. Some of them are on and off in a matter of days. Others stick around for the long haul, showing just how much suckage they truly emit.

It’s time to look at these movies and determine where they stand. Do they deserve to be on the Bottom 100 list? Are they not as bad as everyone says? Will they be off the list any time soon?

Here’s the breakdown for this week’s film:

pocket ninjas poster

Title: ‘Pocket Ninjas’

Release Date: March 25, 2007

Ranking on Bottom 100 (as of 8/12/2009): #1 (based on 700 votes)

Why it’s Here: Recently, while coming up with ideas for our weekly Top 10 Tuesday column, a Movie Geeks joked that we should come up with the list of Top 10 Hollywood chins.  He threw out names like Bruce Campbell, Willem Dafoe, Sienna Miller, and a few other notable mandibles.  However, I had an ace up my sleeve.  Amidst this back and forth of a non-alcoholic name game,  I whipped out the name of the one actor that trumped all others.  This man has a chin that can be seen by space.  I’m pretty sure if his chin were to ever appear in a movie theater, the gravitational pull would create a wormhole.  I’m talking about Robert Z’Dar.

Don’t know who I’m talking about?  How about now?

pocket ninjas zdar

I think that tattoo used about a half a gallon of ink.  Then, while scouring the IMDB Bottom 100 to find what movie I should talk about this week, I came across the name ‘Pocket Ninjas.’  It stars Z’Dar.  It’s about a trio of pre-teen martial arts experts.  It’s at #1.  #1!!!  How could anything be so bad starring Robert Z’Dar that it deserves to be all the way up (or down, depending on how  you look at it) at the very top (or bottom) of the list?  I thought that, then I pushed play.  This movie is unwatchable.

Z’Dar stars as Cobra Khan, an evil gangster who can only be stopped by the White Dragon, played by kick-boxing champ, Gary Daniels.  After becoming injured during a battle with Khan, the White Dragon trains three of his black belt students.  Before you can say “‘Three Ninjas’ is getting ripped off” the kids are fighting crime and whooping some Cobra Khan ass.

Everything, EVERYTHING, about this movie is at an all-time low.  The acting can’t even be considered acting.  There are moments involving an evil kid (I didn’t bother to remember his name) where it literally seems like he was being fed one line at a time from some offscreen voice.  I would think that for real, but I’m sure it wasn’t in this film’s budget to go back in post and take the instructional voice out.  The fight choreography is horrendous with stunt coordination going to someone named Rick Rabago.  He also has a part in the film as Cubby Khan, though I’m not quite sure which character that was.

The music, the plot detailing, the pacing.  Everything seems to be pulled out of some, God-awful, ’80s movie trying to capitalize off of the popularity of Chuck Norris movies.  Unfortunately, ‘Pocket Ninjas’ was filmed in 1994.  Released in 1997, it is a movie that instantly hit the wall of being dated.   Awful and endless training montages, ridiculously choreographed fighting, and lamest of the lame in terms of humor, this movie has absolutely nothing interesting to offer.   Fortunately for the world, not that many people have seen it.  There’s a reason why director Dave Eddy only did one, other movie, a documentary about September 11 called ‘The Box.’  We won’t hold that movie against him, but we sure as hell will hold ‘Pocket Ninjas’ aganst him.

There are some movie that I watch for this column, and I wonder why they are on the Bottom 100 list.  A lot of these movies just get bad wraps, and people feel they have to slight them.  Then there are movies like ‘Pocket Ninjas,’ which not only deserves to be on this list, it genuinely deserves to be at this #1 spot.

Lowest of the Low Moments: As with most of these movies we talk about, there are many moments that could be construed as “lowest of the lows.”  With ‘Pocket Ninjas,’ it comes down to two moments.  One is a throwaway scene.  While criminals are terrorizing the streets of the city, one thug lures a helpless girl into a nest of other thugs by pulling on a piece of paper with fishing line.  She has a rod and reel and is standing behind some bushes.  The helpless girl, who deserves to get beat up by goons, slowly walks after the piece of paper (it might be a pamphlet of some kind, though it eludes me why she gives a damn about it) bent over in a faint effort to pick it up.  Really awful.

However, as bad as this is, it really can’t hold a candle to the central fight scene.  It involves Cobra Khan and White Dragon, and it takes place at a carnival.  Think you know where this is going?  Think again.   Everyone involved in this movie, I believe, thought they were making comedy gold, but this fight proves they were wrong.   Z’Dar and Gary Daniels bouncing up and down on balloons is one thing.   Watching them play patty-cake is another entirely.   There isn’t even much fighting in this “fight” scene.

See for yourself:

Will it Ever Get Off the List: It’s all the way at the bottom of the bottom list.   Granted, only 700 people have seen it, but that number isn’t looking to explode anytime soon.   Even if it does, the more people who see this, the more 1s out of 10 this movie is going to get.   There is no way, NO WAY, this movie is ever going to get off the Bottom 100 list, and it shouldn’t.

It is absolutley one of the worst pieces of movie making I have ever had to force myself to watch.   Even then, and I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I found myself doing anything else during the last half of the movie.   That includes dusting my computer and alphabetizing my book shelves.   If you’re ever with your buddies, and you are debating on what to watch to subject yourselves to the worst movie known to man, look no further than ‘Pocket Ninjas.’

20 Comments

  1. Adam

    August 12, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    I have this on DVD and use it as a threat when my friends anger me. None of them have ever made it the whole way through the movie.

    Cubby Kahn is the evil kid, and if he was also the stunt coordinator, well, that explains why the stunts look like they were planned by a 6 year old.

    The three "ninjas" on the cover of the DVD holding various household cleaning products are not in any way related to the film at all.

    And it's almost as thought there are three movies that were hastily being edited into one movie. There is the story of the white dragon fighting Cobra Khan, the story of the three kids fighting against Cubby Khan, and it also ha sthe same three kids reading comics about the white dragon, making you wonder if it was all supposed to be a dream or just in the comics.

    This movie is the epitome of bad. I have to agree that it belongs on the top of the bottom.

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  3. Travis

    August 13, 2009 at 4:24 am

    I have never seen this movie, but having watched the YouTube clip I am absolutely convinced that this movie was the work of Satan himself, sent to Earth to unexpectedly damn the souls of innocent movie watchers to an eternity of agonizing torture. Holy Cow! What distributor decides a movie like this has any marketability?

  4. Dave Eddy

    September 1, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Problem is that people never read end credits – Pocket Ninjas is a prime example. The first director was fired after he brought what seemed to be hookers to the set and told the young cast that he was a god. It was a night shoot and his "huge" fight scene is the scene in which the Z'dar and his gang torment the store owner and Gary Daniels jumps in, as the white dragon, and kicks their butts. It also resulted in the "Skate Dragons" (The original title of the film) fight against the gang. The other scenes directed by this director were the dojo scenes with Gary Daniels. He does receive credit for these, and the skating scenes, in the end credits.

    The next ting filmed was "directed" by the stunt coordinator. Actually the executive producer told Richard Rabogo (who was the stunt coordinator – NOT "Rick Rabago" who is his son and who played "Cubby") to get his students and take them to the beach for a sunset shot. The next things were "directed" by the line producer who was told to take the three young actors, the original DP (Who was also fired), the make up wardrobe girl and the prop master to a "dragon festival" and make up something with them being chased. This footage was then dumped on me to "make it work". In others this was a wrap around – I made an attempt to write new dialog scenes that tied this all together and finish up a few key scenes fight/action wise. While doing this the executive producer decided he wanted to also direct some scenes because the film need some really good "production value" so he wrote and directed the "balloon factory" scene that you talk about above – a scene I had nothing to do with, and is not even credited to me in the credits if one were to read them. He also wrote and directed the huge "VR" scene in which the three main kids fight "cubby" via a computer VR world. (Also not credited to me if one read the credits) The executive producer thought it would funny to end the film with them all taking off their VR gear and realize the entire thing was a dream and there is really "no place like home" – a wizard of oz parody. However these scenes had no relation to the rest of the film but I was told to make them work somehow and they had to be in the film for "production value".

    Now there are a few workout scenes in some versions of the film – ie: foreign release. The film was done, edited, mixed and I got a call from the executive producer who was at AFM. He said "Nobody wants the film because it is too short – it needs 10 more minutes, nobody wants and 80 minute film. Go shot some workout stuff to pad it" This resulted in three work out/training scenes. Two with the skate dragons and one with the gang. I hated them, did not want them. I had about half a day in one location and 2 hours on the dojo to shoot these. They are what they are, it was not my choice to shoot them or include them.

    I really do understand how people who never have made a film, never worked on location or in a studio, never worked for anybody or just think they are better than everyone else would make comments like " There’s a reason why director Dave Eddy only did one, other movie, a documentary about September 11 called ‘The Box.’ We won’t hold that movie against him, but we sure as hell will hold ‘Pocket Ninjas’ aganst him." or many of the other comments that have been made about this, and other projects I have been involved in, but the fact is there are movies that are way worse and have had only one director. There are films that have been way better but been destroyed by studios and producers who have "final cut". There have been films that have been marketed by major studios, have way more of a budget and who used massive crews that resulted in films far worse.

    My name only appears as "director" because I had to "direct" all the various footage into some sort of story that had been mangled by others before me. Being forced to include two "major" scenes that have zero to do with anything in the original story and my wrap around brought the film further down – this has been established time and time again by people such as yourself who take time to point out how bad they are. When the film was "really" don I pushed to the marketing people, as it were, it had to be aimed to kids – young kids – or else it would be a total loss. Since it was made it had been shown to many young kids and they giggle and laugh at all the "right" parts. Past the age of, say, 10 it fails horribly. As much as I hate the balloon factory scene it does get the biggest laugh out of 5 – 7 year olds.

  5. Paul

    September 2, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Dave Eddy Sucks

  6. Paul

    September 2, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    we all know that the whole thing was your idea

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  8. Dave Eddy

    September 2, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    @paul – sorry that the truth hurts and that shatters your illusions (and possibly others) of this film. Oh, and I didn't write the script either – You can blame the idea on the director and his genius writing partner (Also credited in the films credits) Should also point out that Robert Z'Dar was the directors friend and had been is his other films, such as "Hell Comes to Frogtown". So don't blame me for that either – although I am sure you will anyway. :)

  9. Jelly

    September 3, 2009 at 10:32 am

    No one cares. You sealed your failure when you tried to sue SomethingAweful for being right. This is the most horrible movie ever made and you were involved with its unholy creation. Live with it.

  10. Dave Eddy

    September 4, 2009 at 2:29 am

    @ Jelly : "You sealed your failure when you tried to sue SomethingAweful for being right."

    Actually I did not try to sue them, people need to at least make an educated attempt at stating "facts" . Something Awful has been threatened and "sured" by a lot of studios – but the guy clearly feels slander is the same as parody. Seriously – hate the film, I really don't care. The parts of the films I did direct I am fine with, I do "live with it".

    Jelly, and others, get distribution around the world and than please submit your films for review here and elsewhere. Do you have the balls to do it? Put your money where your mouth is and lets see your no budget, wrap around, no control over outcome feature. Or have you even worked on any feature film of any kind? The above post by Adam has probably been the closest in his assessment of the film that I have ever seen – "And it's almost as thought there are three movies that were hastily being edited into one movie."

    • Paul

      September 7, 2009 at 12:12 pm

      i could make a film using a soiled napkin, 3 lego men, 7 pubic hairs and a botlle of catsup and it would be better than anything you ever made. i estiate my film to cost around 3 dollars and maybe borrowing a pair of twezers for the pubes.
      Please stop directing dave and get back to sniffing bike seats outside public libraries

      • Dave Eddy

        September 7, 2009 at 2:49 pm

        Deal Paul. Unlike the real world though I will give you control over most of the casting and crew until the film is complete. You make the film, I will give you 3 dollars after prodcution is completed and you turn over your project to me. Here are some basic ground rules.

        it must be 90 minutes long minimum.
        it must have at least one name in it (i.e – a Robert Z'Dar type name will work fine. Lego men will not work in this case – sorry)
        There must be at least two action scenes, one of which must include the "name" star.
        There must be a scene around a pool.
        There must be some gun play.
        You must shoot either in 35mm film or HD.

        The films pre production my be a done an aprroved by next week – September 12, 2009 at the latest. The film must start shooting by the end of September and be turned over to me, this included the directors cut long with all the raw footage, by October 10, 2009.

        I am looking forward to working with you Paul.

        • kyazu

          September 8, 2009 at 4:51 pm

          Don't let the internet trolls get to you. They have absolutely no knowledge of your field or your life. Their positions are utterly invalid. The film DOES work with kids, and is actually funny in some positive ways

  11. Paul

    September 7, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    i wouldn't work with you, it would not be a good career move to be seen working with the man who directed the worst movie of all time…no offence

    • kyazu

      September 8, 2009 at 4:52 pm

      No johns

    • Dave Eddy

      September 9, 2009 at 1:10 am

      Let it be noted that Paul has publicly turned down an offer to make a feature film after making an offer to do so. The excuse is because it would not be a "good career move", however reading between the lines I am doubtful that Paul has any sort of "career" to move and, in reality, could not make a feature film for the amount of money they claim in their offer above they could make if for. Fact is Paul would most likely run over budget before the first frame had been shot on ink to print out the script or a trip to Charlie Chans for copies. Even more likely is that Paul has zero knowledge of how to direct anything and most likely has never set foot on any film set. This is why I do, seriously, make these offers to people who make ludicrous claims – put your money where your mouth is Paul. I triple dog dare ya.

      Also Paul has dismissed making a film by working with "the man who directed the worst movie of all time". To those who know film history this man, of course, would be the now legendary Ed Wood Jr, who is considered to be the worst director of all time and his films, including "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and "Glen or Glenda" being some of the the worst films ever made. Of course most film historians will note that "Plan 9…" was/is the worst film ever made. So, sadly Paul, I must inform you that Ed Wood passed away years ago so your chances of working with him are null anyway.

      I would also like to point out that Ed Wood has been written about far more than I have and I would be honored and flattered if the numerous books, articles and documentaries about him and his films done about me. I would be more flattered to have a film about my life done by a director such as Tim Burton going on to win Golden Globe, Academy, SAG and other awards.

      On the other hand I feel humbled that Paul places me in the same category and Ed Wood by insinuating I am of his caliber of badness. Thank you.

      • kyazu

        September 22, 2009 at 8:07 pm

        Question. Do you think it to be unethical and hypocritical to actively seek out a "so bad it's good" film? I don't mean to be offensive or anything, but Pocket Ninjas does kind of fall into that line. I have never gone out on a limb far enough to make such a work, so I wouldn't know.
        I'm not talking about the sort that berate the people who provide the entertainment they indulge in, I mean the sort that just purchase movies along the lines of Warrior of the Lost World or Plan 9 for a laugh.

        • Dave Eddy

          October 13, 2009 at 6:50 am

          I am guessing your question was to me? I am not sure I fully follow you but I never said it was not ok for someone to seek out bad films. I love cult films for example – and many of the films that Ed Wood made are cult films. On that level if Pocket Ninjas becomes a film "that bad" more power too it – however what many of the people who say they could do better or say that I suck as a director fail to understand is that I did not direct the entire film. In almost every "review" i have ever seen the stuff most "hated" is material I had nothing to do with, such as the "balloon factory" scene discussed above.

          Having said that I would guess that 99.8% of anyone who views any film walks out before the end credits, matters not if it is a good or bad film. So if I say that I love bad films it does not mean that Pocket Ninjas is bad because of that fact and if one were to read the end credits any sane person could start to put together why the film was bad. Does it make it better? No. But it also wouldn't mean that I was being "unethical and hypocritical" by saying someone was a bad director or that a film was bad. But I also come from knowledge – knowledge that most films are not made by one person. Not all directors also operate the camera for example so If I said "Man that films sucks: the focus is horrid, the lighting is flat, the color is way off " I know it is not all one persons fault – unless the director was also the camera operator who also pulled their own focus, the gaffer and D.P and the color timer at the lab.

          So I dunno if that really answered your question or not but maybe another way to look at it is this: if an adult goes out and buys a film in the kids section for 2 bucks and then complains about it being a stupid film in their eyes I think it is somewhat "hypocritical". Now if this is also a person who simply goes out looking for films that are "bad" and than complain about them – in that case I would say that it is for sure "hypocritical".

  12. Tamara Giampaolo

    May 3, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Way over my head on this. oh well ill have to stare at the net all day now.

  13. Pingback: Pocket Ninjas (1997) | All Films Blog

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