Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)

Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)
 
 

Kung Fool

Chris Farley in Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)

To put things very simply Chris Farley makes "Beverly Hills Ninja", his likeable naivety and willingness to throw himself into every gag is what keeps you watching. Without Farley "Beverly Hills Ninja" would be nothing even other than a collection of daft scenes even though it has a few other familiar faces such as Chris Rock, Robin Shou and Nicollette Sheridan.

Due to an ancient prophecy a clan of Ninja warriors take a white baby into their temple when they discover him on the beach following a shipwreck. But whilst the prophecy says there will be a great white Ninja the baby they name Haru (Chris Farley) is certainly not it as he grows up over weight, naive and accident prone and is the worse Ninja going. When an American woman going by the name Sally Jones (Nicollette Sheridan - Spy Hard) wants to hire the services of the Ninja's Haru is sent to America who with some secret help from fellow Ninja Gobei (Robin Shou - Mortal Kombat) gets to prove himself worthy.

Robin Shou and Soon-Tek Oh in Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)

Let me tell you why "Beverly Hills Ninja" can only ever be an entertaining but average movie and it is the failure of the storyline. It is simply far too slim as we watch Haru head to Beverly Hills and through his own accident prone ways and a little secret assistance from Gobei come good. There is just not enough story and so in the end it feels like a poor vehicle for a lot of gags.

But to counter act that let me tell you why "Beverly Hills Ninja" manages to be so entertaining and it is Chris Farley. Farley had this likeable quality about him; he never seemed to be trying to humiliate anyone else when he was joking only ever playing the fool. But for a big man he was also nimble and was the master of the visual comedy. These two things combined with his willingness to throw himself into ever movie scene no matter how poor the joke was is what makes "Beverly Hills Ninja" entertaining.

In fairness Farley does have some help from a couple of supporting actors with Soon-Tek Oh as his Sensei bringing comedy as does Robin Shou as Gobei. The scene where Shou is covered in gold paint to look like a statue works because of Shou's stealth like qualities and that works well nicely in conjunction with Farley's fooling around.

What this all boils down to is that "Beverly Hills Ninja" is a lot of fun but for really only one reason and that is Chris Farley. Without Farley's likeability and willingness to make a fool of himself in every scene this would be a nothing movie.

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