Parents' Guide to

3 Ninjas: Knuckle Up

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Martial arts comedy has stylized violence, outdated terms.

Movie PG-13 1995 85 minutes
3 Ninjas: Knuckle Up movie poster

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If you're playing 1990s bingo, prepare for a full house. 3 Ninjas: Knuckle Up offers a splattering of monster trucks, pizzas, arcade machines, green toxic waste, backwards baseball caps, incriminating evidence on floppy discs, sewer tunnel chases, and impromptu martial arts breakdancing. It's also fantastic fun. The three ninjas themselves are charming company and amusingly competent. They face every challenge with the confidence and knowledge that they'll succeed. Take, for example, the set-piece where they need to drive a car: "Rocky, you don't drive!" "I do now!" But these aren't adolescent tearaways. After a brawl in a pizza parlor, the trio go back and clean up -- a feat they manage quickly and easily. As far as role model status goes, these are kids who trained really hard and as a result can do things really well.

The genuinely witty script is given a visual flair to match, thanks to Chinese fight choreographer Wan-chang Lin, whose years working in Hong Kong action cinema gives this movie the same eye-popping treatment. A mix of bone-crunching impact, hilarious pratfalls, inventive jokes, and "whoa!"-inducing stunts, raises the film from a throwaway kids' movie to one worth watching. Filmed in Southern California, the movie's outlook is as bright as its sun-drenched locations. These ninjas embrace learning from cultures other than their own and have a fun time doing it.

Movie Details

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