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How Would You Rate This Episode?
10 (Perfect!) 5%  5%  [ 4 ]
9.5 (One of the Best) 14%  14%  [ 11 ]
9.0 (Excellent) 16%  16%  [ 13 ]
8.5 (Very Good) 34%  34%  [ 27 ]
8.0 (Pretty Good) 23%  23%  [ 18 ]
7.5 (Decent) 5%  5%  [ 4 ]
7.0 (Average at Best) 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
6.5 (Not So Good) 3%  3%  [ 2 ]
6.0 (Pretty Bad) 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
5.0 (Just Awful) 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 80
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 4:10 pm 
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I re-watched this episode today and I really enjoyed it. Especially great was the ending, John Hillerman looked completely insane.

Also I had no idea Seth Sakai had so many appearances on Magnum, P.I. I knew he was in this and Billy Joe Bob, but I had forgotten that he was in episodes like All Roads Leed to Floyd and All For One.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 12:55 pm 
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Fridays for me have become double-review days, and here’s the first. A good episode, with the great Mako.

[rating=9.0]

When Robin Masters' valuable Kenzan porcelain plate is stolen by Ninja warriors, Magnum works with the Samurai to whom the plate was entrusted to get it back, before the Samurai’s custom dictates he takes his own life. An enjoyable Japanese-themed episode…

-----

I really like this episode. Although not a fanatic, I am casually interested in Japanese culture, and more than anything else, the late, great Mako really makes this story. He has such presence, and really brings his character alive.

I enjoy the scene where Higgins scorns Magnum for having dog repellent – Higgins insisting that it is “contraband and subject to confiscation” is wonderful, suggesting he runs the Estate like a prison!

Watching the episode nowadays, it is maybe amusing that Magnum finds it to hard to believe that Ninjas are involved. Ninjas had faded from culture in the early 1980s, before they became recognised again in the 1990s (spearheaded by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze).

I probably sound like a record saying this on various episode reviews, but the story has plenty of the three key ingredients: drama, comedy, and action.
The plot itself in this episode is passable but maybe not one of the greatest, but that doesn’t really matter, as this is more a character driven piece. Tom Selleck and Mako work well together, and it is a shame that this is Mako’s only appearance in the series, as I would have loved to have seen Tozan make a return appearance later on.

There are also some very artistic shots in this episode, especially the one of Tozan’s silhouette at sunrise, as he plans to take his own life.

One thing I did pick up on – Seth Sakai is used AGAIN. Although he is a very capable actor, it seems that just about every time they needed someone to play a Japanese villain, they turned to him! He appears in six episodes in total, each time playing a different character.

The last scene is maybe disappointing in that we don’t get to see Tozan before he leaves; instead we get Higgins’ ire over Magnum’s dog repellent (I won’t spoil the scene). Although this is reasonably funny, I would have much preferred to see Tozan’s departure, and his farewells to Magnum and Higgins.

Overall, this is a very likable episode. I give it a decent 9.0.

-----

Other notes, bloopers and misc.:

* Magnum mentions one day writing his “handbook to being a world class Private Investigator”. He had mentioned this once previously in the second season, but from this episode onwards, it’s mentions would become more regular.

* Possibly flub: When Gallagher goes to escape through the door at the back of his shop and Tozan charges after him, the whole wall moves!

* I’m not as familiar with this as with the other third season episodes; When I recorded it from Channel 5 in 2002, I didn’t realise that the video tape I was using was damaged, causing the episode to play in shaky high speed! Luckily I noticed before I recorded any more episodes on it.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 1:03 pm 
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Just one thing I forgot in today's review - do I presume that Mako is wearing his headpiece, or did he really style his hair like that for this episode?

(Sorry to mention that other love of mine), but a few months later, he appered in 'The A-Team's early second season episode 'Recipe For Heavy Bread', where he had regular hair.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:37 am 
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Just watched this episode again as part of my random watchathon and it is a great episode. The comic banter between TC and Rick at the beach club was superb, easily one of the best laughing scenes in the entire series.

Great stuff

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:12 am 
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Jay-Firestorm wrote:
Watching the episode nowadays, it is maybe amusing that Magnum finds it to hard to believe that Ninjas are involved. Ninjas had faded from culture in the early 1980s, before they became recognised again in the 1990s (spearheaded by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze).


I see you're from the UK so I don't know how it was there, but ninja were huge in the '80s in the US. By the '90s it had died down (TMNT notwithstanding).

The movie "Enter the Ninja" (1981) is what kicked it off here in the US. This was the first of what became known as "The Ninja Trilogy" all featuring Sho Kosugi. "Revenge of the Ninja" followed in 1983 and was bigger than the first movie (and is the best one of the genre IMO); and then "Ninja III: The Domination" in 1984.

"American Ninja" was probably the next big one, and that was in 1985, and was followed by a sequel: "American Ninja 2: The Confrontation" in 1987. There were dozens of lesser known ninja movies throughout the '80s as well, including such stinkers as "Ninja Mission" (1984); a Swedish ninja movie that is quite possibly the worst movie I've ever seen. Here is a list of extremely bad ninja movies made in the '80s. In fact, they were so eager to cash in on the '80s ninja craze, that they slapped the word "ninja" into the title of some movies that didn't even have ninja in them:

Quote:
Q: Are there any movies with "ninja" in the title, but few or no actual ninjas in the movie?

A: Yes! Picture this. You walk out of your local video store with Death Mask of the Ninja clutched under your arm. After buying a Coke Slurpee and Hickory Sticks, you make your way home to enjoy some ninja-tainment. You sit back, press play, and slowly realize your greatest nightmare has come true: there are no ninjas in the movie! The following is a list of films with no (or very few) stereotypical ninjas.

Black Ninja
Bruce Le Vs Ninja
Death Mask of the Ninja
Empire Of The Spiritual Ninja
Ghost Of The Ninja
Leopard Fist Ninja
Lone Ninja Warrior
Ninja Apocalypse
Ninja Enforcer
Ninja Exterminators
Ninja Fist of Fire
Ninja In The Claws Of The CIA
Ninja Knight Heavens Hell
Ninja Supremo
Ninja Swords of Death
Ninja The Kung Fu Emperor
Ninja Turf
Ninja Vampire Busters
Ninja Wars
Ninja Wolves
Screaming Ninja
Shaolin Challenges Ninja
The Ninja Strikes Back
To Catch A Ninja


There was even a short-lived ninja TV series; "The Master" (1984) featuring the unlikely Lee Van Cleef as a ninja master, as well as several appearances by the ubiquitous Sho Kosugi. And don't forget the '80s videogames, such as Ninja Gaiden, Shinobi, Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja, etc.

BTW, pretty much all '80s ninja movies I've seen have an obligatory scene where someone either has never heard of ninja or doesn't believe they exist anymore. It is standard fare; so Magnum's lines in this case were taken straight from the ninja movie playbook.

I believe that this particular episode of MPI was simply capitalizing on the burgeoning ninja craze at the time. It is a particular favorite of mine, because it combines two things from the '80s that I'm nostalgic about: Magnum, P.I. and ninja movies.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:29 pm 
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Wow, very interesting MR! I was a teenager in the '80s, yet I somehow missed the "Ninja Craze"! I vaguely remember American Ninja, and I remember playing Shinobi in the arcade, but that's about it. That is, until the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arrived on the scene in the late 80s.... but I wasn't a fan of them.

In looking at the timeline of the "80s Ninja Craze", this episode would have been an early entry (filmed in 1982). It was a trend setter, not a trend follower. I like that. ;)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:35 pm 
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I'd say the ninja craze hit me around 1984. There was nothing cooler than homemade throwing stars (cut the tip of my finger off with one) and renting those newfangled VHS tapes of Sho Kosugi movies!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:14 pm 
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Oh yeah, ninjas were huge in the 80s. I was big into that. In fact I could have been called a Winja - wanna be ninja. 8)

I had and still have maybe a half dozen throwing stars that I would buy at the local military surplus store. I also had other weapons like butterfly swords. (Chinese, but what did I know?) A friend of mine would sleepover and we'd watch the American Ninja movies and others until we fell asleep.

Anyone remember Gymkata? It was the absolute pinnacle of ninjutsu meets gymnastics meets obstacle course films.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 6:30 pm 
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James J. Walters wrote:
Wow, very interesting MR! I was a teenager in the '80s, yet I somehow missed the "Ninja Craze"! I vaguely remember American Ninja, and I remember playing Shinobi in the arcade, but that's about it. That is, until the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arrived on the scene in the late 80s.... but I wasn't a fan of them.


I never even really associated TMNT with ninja, aside from the name. In my mind, ninja were people wearing black (or sometimes other colors) hooded uniforms; period.

Quote:
In looking at the timeline of the "80s Ninja Craze", this episode would have been an early entry (filmed in 1982). It was a trend setter, not a trend follower. I like that. ;)


Yeah, this episode was between "Enter the Ninja" (1981) and "Revenge of the Ninja" (1983). The '80s ninja craze wasn't full force until the mid '80s. In the U.S. during the '80s, Kung-Fu movies (big in the '70s) were out, and ninja movies were in.

I got a jumpstart on the craze, because I happened to go visit my uncle in '82, and walked in as they were watching "Enter the Ninja" either on VHS or something like HBO. As a 7-year-old, I was enthralled with these "ninja" (it was the first I'd ever seen or heard of them). I thought the fight at the end between the white-suited American ninja and the black-suited Japanese ninja (Sho Kosugi of course) was the most awesome thing I'd ever seen.

That movie hasn't aged well BTW, but "Revenge of the Ninja" is still good B-movie fun.

Rubber Chicken and Styles Bitchley mentioned the throwing stars. Those were definitely the thing to have in the '80s. I got suspended for three days from school for buying throwing stars in Bar Harbor on a class trip (lol). I also had a ninja uniform that I ordered out of the back of a martial arts magazine in the mid-'80s for like $20, and I wore it for Halloween when I was about 10.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:25 pm 
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I didn't care for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles either. Skateboarding turtles who learn the art of ninjutsu from a rat? Come on, what are the odds. To me, that show and everything surrounding it was a bit phony.


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