Humiliated and marginalized by the real American Ninja Michael Dudikoff in American Ninja 4: The Annihilation, replacement American Ninja David Bradley chases a measure of redemption in this, the final movie in the American Ninja franchise. That American Ninja V has nothing to do with the franchise is really for the best since Bradley is further embarrassed by being teamed with a mouthy child sidekick named Hiro who lugs his gigantic handheld gaming device, the Stone Age Era Sega Game Gear, all the way to Venezuela to tag along with Bradley on a mission long on gargantuan coincidence, woeful attempts at buddy comedy and short on anything to justify the movie’s intense ninja training-like 100 minute running time. That this film shares zero continuity or connection to the previous four is because it was apparently made as American Dragons and wasn’t supposed to be part of the American Ninja franchise. American Ninja movies were always about bad asses (Dudikoff) and their lackluster replacements (Bradley) not saying much and constantly beating up a variety of stunt men dressed in a rainbow of ninja costumes. So it is that they bicker, the kid spends half the movie saving Bradley, the other half being trained on the job as a ninja by Bradley and culminates in the little twerp somehow flying an airplane and learning the ninja disappearing trick (accompanied by totally inappropriate wacky sound effect) to harass Bradley who is trying to have a date with the girl he just spent the whole movie trying to save! Bad guys in Venezuela are forcing a doctor to make an insecticide which will also kill people and kidnap his daughter in America to ensure his cooperation.
Joe is an American Ninja who runs a gym and that very same day before the date, his old master (Pat Morita!) drops by and uses all his ninja powers to force Joe to babysit his pre-teen douche bag grand nephew, Hiro.
Hiro is the last of some ninja clan because years ago his father was killed by evil super ninja The Viper who uses poison spikes! There are plenty of ninja attacks and lots of people in ninja bathrobes get kicked in the head, but it’s all horribly dragged down by Bradley having to nursemaid this kid.


The Viper is supposed to be most evil ninja on the planet, but he dressed like some ponce going to a costume party with his red outfit, black cape, and gaudy medallion he stole from Hiro’s dad.
There are a few moments of probably unintended hilarity such as when David Bradley catches on fire and has to dive into the ocean and when Bradley helps rescue an adorable puppy from the deadly insecticide. The very definition of ignominious for all involved including the American Ninja series as a whole.
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Have I lost it or did I read sommewhere that original American Ninja Michael Didikoff was gonnabe in Expendables 2? See, I took this one totally different, I took it as a spoof on the other movies, which was kind of a fun way to wrap up the series. Every so often there was a kid to help out, but he was only there to provide a ride or bit of information to move the plot along and the Dude never engaged in heart to heart talks about school and ninja training and the like.
Most tellingly of all, Bradley’s career incomprehensibly takes a turn for the better with his very next movie, Cyborg Cop!
Cannon Pictures made it under the title American Dragons (it is even shown on many cable TV stations with this title) but the title was changed to American Ninja V before release. In American Ninja V though it’s more like David Bradley is American Ninja Big Brother! We are not against kids in action movies but we felt this kid in particular was pretty obnoxious.




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