Scene Breakdown – ‘3 Ninjas’

I love kid’s movies from the 1990s. There were a rack of them made when I was growing up that catered to 8-14 year olds that were just about perfect. The Sandlot, the Mighty Ducks movies, Little Giants, etc. One of my favorites was 3 Ninjas — a film about three brothers (nicknamed Rocky, Colt, and Tum Tum) who were trained to be ninjas by their martial arts master grandfather. In the movie, the three brothers are put to the test and (SPOILER ALERT) end up saving the day. In the process, despite being 8-14 years old themselves, they manage to repeatedly disarm and overcome fully grown adult ninjas, often who outnumber them. I always figured these were the same sh-tty ninjas from the Foot Clan. While the basic idea of children beating up adult, armed ninjas is patently ridiculous, it is not the most bonkers part of the movie. That would be the above scene.

Over Christmas break I rewatched 3 Ninjas, because I am an insomniac and it was On Demand. This scene, where Rocky and Colt take on some schoolyard bullies in a game of basketball blew me away. It’s horrible and amazing, like Katy Perry singing topless. So I yoinked a bunch of screencaps and am going to break this down. That’s right. IT’S A SLIDESHOW PEOPLE!

(*air guitar*)


The Bullies
The scene begins with the ball rolling over to the bullies, followed by them doing what good bullies will do, and refusing to give it back. Then the rest of their gang joins them, and it is straight on. Before we continue, though, let’s examine our antagonists.

Front center:

Mini-Everlast: The obvious boss, he’s outfitted in a black, generic “Los Angeles” baseball jersey, and plain white fitted. Conceited douchey face, cool “tough guy” posture. Probably the type of guy who will eventually make his girlfriend sit in the back seat while he’s driving around with his boys.

Fake Kenan: Fat black friend. Mouthpiece of the group. Fantastically, he’s wearing a white t-shirt with the word “AWESOME” in block letters across across the top, and what appears to be a giant pig preparing to mount something. I want this shirt badly.

Backround (left to right):

Skinny kid: Has no business being in a gang of bullies. He almost definitely had a Sega Genesis, a hot older sister and/or a swimming pool. That’s the only explanation for his inclusion.

Fat kid at center: More on him later.

Asian kid: Diversity hire.

Bulls jacket kid: This kid is my favorite. Watch his walk and pose when the gang all forms together like Poseur Voltron. Captain doof. Sweet jacket, though.

Fat Kid
Every good gang has a fat kid like this. Watch him in the background while Fake Kenan talks junk. He makes a smug face, and laughs extra hard at people’s jokes. I’d bet my parents’ house that he’s the type of guy who would stuff a nerd in a trash can, fart into the can, and close the lid. Also, if I know my 90s movies like I think I do, his farts smell TERRIBLE.

The Plot Thickens
The bullies challenge the brothers (L-Colt, R-Rocky) to a game of basketball. If the bullies win, they get the brothers’ bikes. If the brothers win, the bullies won’t take Rocky’s girlfriend’s bike. This brings up three important points:

1) I would pay a million dollars to see that giant, fat black kid in the shirt that says “AWESOME” and has a sex-fiend pig on it ride off on a girl’s bike. I would record it, make it a GIF, post it on my Twitter, and laugh for days.

2) Am I really supposed to believe there are child ninjas in this town, and people are unaware of this? The bullies seem to have no idea. I declare shenanigans. If there were ninjas in my peer group as a kid, I would know this. Believe me.

3) These bullies didn’t stand a chance if a fight broke out. Seriously, who you got in this fight? The fat, diabetic kids? Pencilneck Jones? All I’m saying is that if this was real life, one of the ninjas is wearing that Bulls jacket to school tomorrow. Unless that Asian kid knows ninja, too. I don’t think we can rule that out at this point. Possible game changer.

I also want Rocky’s sweet Aeronautique-brand sweatshirt.

STFU Emily
Emily is Rocky’s girlfriend. When things start breaking down, and the bullies out-and-out threaten to steal her bike, Rocky steps up defend her AND prevent his hothead brother from getting into fisticuffs. He’s being both heroic and mature. All he asks is for her to hold his hat. Emily’s response: “Why are you showing off?” Emily, if you’re reading this, I’d like a word…

BITCH, YOU’RE BOYFRIEND IS A NINJA! Do you not see this?! Also, we are about to find out he’s some sort of Lebron Jamesesque basketball prodigy. I’m straight up and down like six o’clock, but if a ninja-slash-basketball-prodigy had defended my honor at the age of 12, I’d probably have swooned and begged him to slow-dance to “I Swear” by All-4-One with me. Let the man breathe, sister. Haters to the left.

This Kid Is Awesome
The game begins, and, naturally, the ninja brothers are throwing each other alley-oops and stuff (like all 12-14 year olds do), and the bullies are playing dirty. But I’d like to pause to point out the hero in the red shirt under the hoop at the 1:55 mark, and the little dance he does.

That’s… that’s not what you do, son.

Anyway, the game continues on this trajectory until we reach game point. Colt has just taken a hard foul scoring the last bucket, and Rocky is pissed. He channels his anger into the most amazing athletic achievement ever.

Blake Griffin Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Rocky
Rocky eyes up the basket, focusing what I can only assume are all his ninja skills into one startling feat. He charges towards the basket…

… takes off from the foul line…

… flies through air, displaying what appears to be a 50-inch vertical leap…

… and proceeds to dunk the ball WITH TWO HANDS. EXCLAMATION POINT. As a reminder, Rocky is like 14 years old. No one can do this. At his peak, Michael Jordan did a foul line dunk with one (1) hand. Yet here, in this sleepy suburb, some white junior high student is doing NBA Jam style dunks on the playground. WHILE WEARING JEANS. The writers of this movie apparently equated “ninja” with “effing magic.”

Anyway, I love this crap. I feel very confident that in the past 1000 words, I’ve put more thought into this film than the writers, producers, and director combined. I don’t care. It was worth it. And, seriously, Rocky… dump Emily. You can do better.