73 Sports Movies In 73 Days: Surf Ninjas

I’d like to apologize for taking a few days away from the very important 73 Sports Movies in 73 Days series, as I wanted to get the Fantasy Football stuff out there for the six people who demand it from me each year and I’m also traveling this week. But that’s no excuse, because I made a vow and I shall stick to my vow, even as I’ve already accrued several weeks of extra sports movies posts (but I did that on purpose so I can keep doing this longer).

That said, I hopped back in the shark-infested waters today with the 1993 martial arts and surfing comedy Surf Ninjas, which I am 100% positive was created by two incredibly coked out executives (basically applies to every sports movie ever made to this point) who wrote as many action buzz words that they could think of on index cards and dumped them all into the bucket that they had been keeping their coke in. The first two cards they pulled out read “Ninjas” and “Surf” and then one of the execs said, “Wait a sec…” and switched them around, as they shouted, “SURF NINJAS!!!” and probably stabbed a prostitute.

Surf Ninjas turned 20 years old this past Tuesday, and I haven’t seen it in at least 19 years, so let’s kwantsu, dudes!

Jesus, was there a more 1990s trailer than that? I’m surprised the Battletoads didn’t show up and play air guitars the entire time in the bottom corner while everyone drank Surge and traded slap bracelets and pogs. That trailer is so 90s that it should have its own listicle. Well, I guess this kind of counts.

The One Line That Is Completely Different Between Then And Now

“I love you, dad… SIKE!”

Wait, so does Johnny not actually love his adoptive father? Because that’s really a kind of f*cked up thing to say to the guy who keeps a roof over his and Adam’s head and seems to just want the best for them. I used to think that Johnny was the coolest, but now I think he was kind of a Dick.

But Burnsy, Isn’t Mac Being Oppressive By Not Wanting Them To Pursue Their Surfing Dreams?

As we learned in Gleaming the Cube, parents of the 1980s were far too restrictive of their skateboarding sons, and Brian Kelly showed us that not only are skater punks just like us, but they can also solve murders and bring fraudulent arms smugglers to justice. HOWEVER, I also agree with Mac’s stance in the opening of Surf Ninjas that while it’s cool that Johnny and Adam want to surf and skate, they need something to fall back on. Every child should learn at least two trades as they grow up so they always have something to fall back on. If anything, Mac should have been elected Secretary of Education.

Remember When Rob Schneider Was Kind Of Charming And Not The Literal And Figurative Taint Of American Comedy?

Thanks to one successful Saturday Night Live sketch – “Making copieeeeeees” – studios began assuming that we wanted to see Rob Schneider in more and more films. At the time, he seemed harmless and sort of charming in a goofy dork kind of way. But once he showed up in Necessary Roughness (don’t worry, next week) and did the whole “Fumblerooski! Fumbleaya!” routine, it was kind of obvious that he was a one-trick pony. Imagine my shock and horror 20 years later when he’s managed to build a huge career out of playing the same three characters over and over. Thanks, Adam Sandler.

This Movie Teaches Horrible, Awful Things To Children

Again, Johnny is already kind of a dick to his adoptive dad, but Adam shows that he’s also a little punk when he questions “the man” because he’s not allowed to drive yet. He’s 11-years old. Does he want to vote and smoke crack, too? Be a kid, kid. Meanwhile, when Iggy is driving Johnny and Adam to school, they practice “Motosurfing” which is like Teen Wolf’s van surfing, except nobody is driving.

Then, when they get to school, their only concern is making up excuses for why they haven’t done their homework, while Adam has no clue where Spain is on a map and even though I’d very much love to punch this kid in the face, he’s right to laugh at Adam.

This is America in the 1990s in a nutshell, folks. What destroyed America? Surf Ninjas destroyed America.

Wait, Johnny Just Realized That He’s Adopted?

When they arrive at school, Johnny reveals to Iggy that he just found out the night before that he’s adopted. He lives with his white father and he looks nothing like him. See what happens when you don’t do your homework?

Is The “Barbara Ann” Song Bit Racist?

Seems like it could have been misconstrued because they’re making fun of the guy’s culture, but I think it was more stupid than offensive.

This Was The Beginning Of The End For Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen will forever be one of my favorite actors because of The Naked Gun, but I want to be very selfish here and wish that he had only appeared in the Airplane! and Police Squad series and movies. He may have had some moments as Colonel Chi in Surf Ninjas, but this was his gateway drug to Dracula: Dead and Loving It.

So Johnny And Adam Are Princes Or Something

Colonel Chi’s men show up to kill Johnny and Adam, but Zatch shows up and rescues them. Of course, they leave Mac behind, because why wouldn’t the poor guy who raised these kids only to have them not love him in return and be terrible students who break laws give his life for them? Mac should have been on the first bus out of whatever California town they live in so he could open a new fish taco joint far, far away from these brats.

Meanwhile, Colonel Chi, who is a cyborg thanks to Zatch kicking him into an elephant’s path, knows that he has to kill Johnny and Adam to cement his own evil destiny, but they were taken away and protected by Mac, who was a loyal servant of the royal family. Once they learn all of this, of course, Johnny and Adam feel like dicks and suddenly want their dad back. Too bad they have to fulfill their destinies and stop Colonel Chi once and for all.

This Scene Made Me Believe That Chopsticks Were Actually Weapons

That’s why, to this day, I never learned how to use them.

Tone Loc, The Go-To Street Smart Black Cop Of The 90s

Tone Loc had a good run as an actor in the 90s, but I always felt like he was screwed by not having a recurring role as Lorenzo on NewsRadio. And Fakin’ Da Funk (next week, amigos) was probably one of the several roles that he should have reconsidered. But he was always a fun guy to have in movies. Mainly because “Wild Thing” ruled.

Adam Suddenly Realizes That His Sega Game Gear Can Tell The Future

How did he just notice this? Does he realize that by not realizing it earlier that he could have saved two innocent cops from being killed by ninjas? This is the kind of thing that should have haunted him for life.

Also, while Natch is helping the boys escape the ninja attack on their house, why does he yell so much while fighting? I thought ninjas were supposed to be quiet. Colonel Chi’s men are very quiet, but Natch shouts every time he punches someone, which would only give away their location to the other ninjas. A big theme in this film is irresponsibility.

Let’s Talk About Rob Schneider Again

For starters, once Natch arrives and tells Johnny that he is set to become a king on his 16th birthday and Adam that he’s a prince – it always sucks for the younger bro, right Harry? – Iggy automatically assumes that he’s royalty, too. But Natch makes it perfectly clear to him that he’s not involved in this in any way. Yet they let him keep saying that he’s going to be a king. How did no one “accidentally” fail to save him from a ninja sword? He’s not a very good friend.

I’m under the impression that Sylvester Stallone watched this movie and was like, “This guy is hilarious, I should make him my obnoxious sidekick for not one, but two movies!” Haha, great choice, Sly! Judge Dredd was the best.

Holy Crap, This Movie Was For Kids, Right?

Adam is 11-years old, and when they introduce Johnny’s arranged bride, he says, “You know what they say, ‘If she’s got a veil, dude better bail.’” WHO??? WHO SAYS THAT?!?!?! How does an 11-year old know that saying? And seriously – WHO SAYS THAT? I’ve gone through several misogynistic phases in my life, and I’ve studied sexism over the span of centuries as a means of honing my own craft, but I’ve never heard that. I’m sorry if this point seems irrelevant but I feel that the writers should be held accountable for making an 11-year old into such a smug little sh*t.

And “If they cover the face, pick up the pace”? How does any 16-year old know a phrase that amazingly stupid? I mean, if the face is covered, take your time, right?

Anyway, the writer of Surf Ninjas is Dan Gordon, and he apparently served in the Israeli Defense Forces, so that makes a lot of sense that a guy who fought in the Middle East would include lines like this. Still, Adam is 11. This is insane.

(Gordon also went on to write Wyatt Earp and The Hurricane. Talk about day and night. But you know what they say, if the guy can write horsesh*t he can probably also write a critical hit.)

But of course the girl is gorgeous and Johnny immediately falls in love and asks her if she wants to go to the mall, leading to Adam saying, “Way to close the deal.” I hope this guy’s first sexual experience was humiliating.

Finally, Johnny Suddenly Realizes That He’s A Ninja, Too

One of the things that I always hated about these martial arts movies that were ultimately vehicles for exhibition by the sport’s stars – in this case Ernie Reyes Sr. and Ernie Reyes Jr. – is that they were more artistic than they were brutally hilarious. Like, some throat-snatching and limb-snapping would have been amazing.

Meanwhile, Tone Loc…

I’m about halfway through the movie, and we haven’t seen Tone Loc since Johnny’s and Adam’s home was blown up. Suddenly, he cares that they’re getting on a boat to go to their home country, but he hasn’t been there once to save them from ninja attacks. I’m not sure that he was qualified to even be a movie cop, especially since he swallows his handcuff keys on purpose and just basically quit his job as a cop to accept that he’d been kidnapped by some kids, and accepted it as a vacation.

Worst Line Of The Movie By Far…

“Hey, I found Waldo! SIKE!” My “sike” count is at “too many.” I know people thought that “sike” and “not” were the coolest of sarcastic cool in the 90s, but holy crap I wish I could go back in time and wedgie every last one of us.

Hey, Let’s Talk About Rob Schneider’s Character Again

By the time we reached the big fight on Colonel Chi’s island, as Johnny and Zatch rescue Adam, Iggy and Tone Loc from the soldiers, Iggy has contributed nothing to their efforts. In fact, his only heroic feat was an accident, as he mistakenly threw a stick of dynamite at an enemy Jeep. But then he ruined that by telling Zatch, who pulls out a pack of cigarettes, that he should get the patch. It’s funny because Zatch has an eye patch. I can only imagine Gordon writing this screenplay and saying to himself, “Come on, man, we have to get that patch joke in there somewhere.”

Johnny Is Finally Crowned A Warrior Prince

As is Adam and, because he’s a whiny, sniveling dick, Iggy gets one also. You know who else gets it? Kelly Hu.

Talk about a criminally underrated actress. Kelly Hu should have been a star. Also, when she broke off the arranged marriage with Johnny, he deserved that for the sexist comments about women with veils.

Hey, Remember All That Surfing?

Up until the final attack on Colonel Chi, there had only been one actual surfing scene. Naturally, there needs to be more surfing in a movie called Surf Ninjas, so the new warrior prince handles that by teaching his army how to surf in a matter of seconds. Hey, it’s all magic anyway! I mean, I took surf lessons when I was a kid for several weeks and I was f*cking horrible, but I guess it was the instructor’s fault for not telling me to bend my knees and that the ability is in me.

Also, I’m ashamed that 20 years later we haven’t cleared up the belief that “brothers can’t surf.” Poor Tone Loc.

Suddenly, Iggy can kick ass, too, so he chases people around while screaming, because again – ninjas are loud and obnoxious.

Eventually this guy falls down the longest set of stairs in history and, I kid you not, this scene did not help my lifelong fear of heights one bit.

Colonel Chi finally encounters the Surf Ninjas and he uses a gun, because we’ve come too far to be creative now. Also, Mac has been tortured this whole time, but when they find him he’s all, “Hey bros, what’s going on? Going to kill an evil colonel? Cool, I’ll help.”

Then the same guy gets thrown down the same stairs again and I almost vomited everywhere. Seriously, I hate heights like spiders and Kids Bop albums.

Finally, Johnny takes down Colonel Chi, and no Leslie Nielsen comedy death scene would be complete without a nut shot or two…

Iggy still thinks that he’s the actual king after Johnny saves the day, and he should have been fed to a tiger, because Rob Schneider should have never been allowed to have a career in acting.

Final Grade: One out of 10 appropriate reactions to anything that Rob Schneider says…

(Images via New Line Cinemas, and GIFs via here, here, here, here, here and here)