Thursday, October 09, 2008

Kane Kosugi Week! Kane: The Early Years

You know what really helps a kid get himself started in Hollywood?

Having a father who is the most well-known screen ninja ever, of course. What, you don't have one of those? Tough luck.

Back in the early to mid eighties, ninjas were all the craze. Chuck Norris was kicking them around as is his wont. Even James Bond had to deal with them. American Ninjas. Comic book and cartoon ninjas (Yo Joe!). Don't take my word for it. I think Teleport City explains it much better than I ever could.

Sho Kosugi (Kane's story will always start with his father, despite the distance he apparently wants to put between them) was the man back in those days. Enter the Ninja. Revenge of the Ninja. 9 Deaths of the Ninja. Pray for Death. Black Eagle. The Master tv show. He was the ninja's ninja. But his characters weren't always just lean mean black mask wearing killing machines.

In Revenge of the Ninja, Sho Kosugi is a man trying to put his old life behind him. He's all ninja'd out and wants to devote his time to his son, Kane. Coincidentally, his real son's name is Kane! And wait! Kane is playing Kane! Well, that certainly is lucky.

According to his website, Kane started doing martial arts at the ripe old age of 1 and a half years old and had amassed 176 trophies before the time Revenge of the Ninja came out. They waste no time in showing everyone that Sho's son came to the set to kick some butt.

Apparent Dodger fan Kane is confronted by a bunch of older punk kids for no apparent reason other than to give him someone's ass to kick. And he does.

As far as fighting little kids go, Kane was never as annoying as some (the kid from that Jet Li movie New Legend of Shaolin comes to mind). Of course his fighting repertoire included those kid staples of going between people's legs, kicking or headbutting males in the crotch, trying misdirection that even the most brain-dead henchmen shouldn't fall for, etc. I don't remember if he ever did any leg biting early on in his career. But he often got to wield nunchucks and beat up people with them so he's got that going for him.

Hey Kane, watcha lookin' at?

Anyway, it was basically lather, rinse and repeat after Revenge of the Ninja. In 9 Deaths of the Ninja, Kane isn't Sho's son (I think) but he's basically the same character.

This time Shane is with him but Shane doesn't do much of anything.

Rather than getting to stare at a buxom blond who had just come out of a hot tub (the baddies were trying to drown her - Jacuzzi of DEATH!) all Kane gets for his hard work is a stinking lollipop (that Sho's character, the video game-esque named Spike Shinobi, is always carrying around with him to boot).

9 Deaths of the Ninja has a special place in my heart though, for the opening credit sequence which featured Sho and some dancers trying to do a low-budget homage to those classic James Bond opening credit sequences. Except instead of a suave secret agent, you get copious shots of Sho Kosugi's unshaved armpits. I know the song has a name but I like dubbing it the "Love Theme to 9 Deaths of the Ninja" anyway.

You can find the video on youtube. It's there. I already looked for it.

Pray For Death was pretty much Revenge of the Ninja: The Ninja's Revenge.

I haven't seen Black Eagle in years but I do remember it being not all that good. And that was back when people still thought Jean-Claude Van Damme was kind of cool.

The last (I think anyway) collaboration of father and son was the 1990 movie Mayeda/Shogun Mayeda/Journey of Honor/Kabuto. Something like that. Kane was a bit more grown up now and was obviously attending the Sho Kosugi School of Acting because Kane usually just barks out his lines like his father would. However, Kane's voice isn't quite as deep as Sho's (plus he was still a teenager at the time) so it always sounds weird when he talks.

In this case, they are not father and son but they do a mix of teacher and student and master and servant. Kane is the only son of the Shogun learning how to be a man under Sho.

The pair travel to Europe to get a super secret secret weapon but fall afoul of those pesky white people and their white people ways. Kane doesn't do much fighting in this one. He does lots of standing around trying to look like he's a proud noble man's son.

Kane doesn't even get the girl at the end. He gets a chaste kiss will his father gets to full on make-out with the girl in the photo above. Maybe THAT'S the source of friction between father and son. Damn hormones!

Up next! Kane moves to Japan and does whatever he can get!

1 comment:

Arsenette said...

I remember seeing the movie Revenge of the Ninja. I think my Dad saw ever Sho Kosugi flick even if it was bad! Thanks for doing a review! Can't wait to see the rest!