SWORD OF THE BUSHIDO (1990)
Directed by: Adrian Carr
Screenplay: James Wulf Simmonds
Starring: Richard Norton, Rochelle Ashana, Toshiro Obata, Judy Green
This little 90s gem is one of underrated action star Richard Norton’s better vehicles mixing swords, ninjas, shotguns, Thailand and sexy ladies into a bodacious B-movie mix. Norton is super badass, super cool, super ladies man Zac Conners (top B-movie action name!) a former soldier on a mission in Thailand to find out what happened to his grandfather and the mysterious Sword of the Bushido, both of which disappeared many years ago. No sooner has he set off into the hostile jungle, he’s ambushed by deadly bandits, his kindly guide is gunned down and a bunch of pump action wielding good bandits save him and allow him amongst their ranks. Connors and his new bandit lady squeeze locate said Sword of the Bushido (rather easily it must be said) and hop back to the city in order to collect the reward. Low and behold things don’t quite go that easily as a nasty Yakuza mob boss also wants the sword, dispatches ninjas to fuck shit up, kidnaps Conners’ lady squeeze and holes up in a his big swanky mansion awaiting Connors to come kick his ass.
Despite a barmy plot that veers here, there and everywhere, a mid section that slows to a snail pace, Sword of the Bushido is still some fun and entertaining action silliness. It’s always good too see Norton in a lead action role and he’s both charismatic and adept a busting heads. His character may be a bit too much of a suave douche (he gets to bed all the ladies including his own real life missus, Judy Green, in a hilarious seduction scene) but the dude can kick ass. While the pace does feel a little lethargic on occasion there is still plenty of cool action to help keep proceedings ticking along. The jungle attack features mucho shotgun blasting action, there is a nice fight between Norton and a bandit dude who doesn’t like him (at first, as they soon become buddies: after Norton has kicked his ass!), some ninja’s make an appearance (awesome!) and the final showdown in the bad guy’s mansion is pretty sweet stuff which includes a wicked sword dual.
But the stand out set piece and a good reason to watch this film (besides Norton, the cool action and the awesome title!) is the car chase that features Norton pursuing his enemy in a, go-kart. Yep, a go-kart. When he takes chase after the bad guys he doesn’t flag down a passing car, or jump on a near by parked motorcycle or even commandeer a bus, he goes for, well, a go-kart! God knows why there would be a kid driving a go-kart down a busy Thai main street but there is and Norton uses said vehicle to pursue the bad dudes. What follows is an awesomely hilarious sequence that thanks to some pretty decent stunt work is actually kind of cool. In a completely mad B-movie action kind of way.
So we have Norton, a go kart chase, ninjas, a sword, some decent action sequences and hell, even, a few boobs: all of which makes Sword of the Bushido some highly entertaining 90s action fun.