Beverly Hills Ninja

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Beverly Hills Ninja Movie Poster Image
Pratfall violence, crude humor in silly Farley movie.
  • PG-13
  • 1997
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Somewhere in all the silliness are messages of teamwork, being true to yourself.

Positive Role Models

Haru is a clumsy oaf, but always tries to do the right thing. Some stereotypes about large people.

Violence

Plenty of slapstick violence and comedic pratfalls throughout. Man shot and killed before falling off a bridge. Characters fight with punches and kicks. Guns, machine guns, bombs. Reckless driving.

Sex

Some sexual humor and euphemisms for sex ("short sword," "climb the temple," "sacred object"). Haru makes reference to a joke concerning a sensei and "the two 18-year-old geishas." Running joke that's a play on the expression "choke that chicken." While in a strip club, Haru is entranced by a dancer's rear end, and she later flashes him (not shown). Silhouette of female lead character taking her clothes off behind a curtain, immediately followed by silhouette of Farley taking his clothes off.

Language

Infrequent profanity: "a--hole," "bulls--t," "ass," "hell." Sexual jokes and euphemisms. 

Consumerism

Pepsi, Budweiser, and Bud Light signage in some scenes. Budweiser and Busch bottles clearly shown inside a Japanese restaurant. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer drinking in a restaurant.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Beverly Hills Ninja is a 1997 martial arts comedy in which Chris Farley plays a clumsy ninja who must stop a counterfeiting ring. There's a lot of pratfall and slapstick violence as Farley falls, slips, trips, and knocks into people and objects at any given opportunity to do so. There are also scenes with punches and kicks, as well as fighting with guns and machine guns, and a scene in which a man is shot and killed before he falls off a bridge. There are some jokes revolving around sexual euphemisms ("choke that chicken" is a running gag), and Farley's character makes reference to a joke about a sensei and "the two 18-year-old geishas." In a strip club Farley's character becomes entranced by the rear end of one of the dancers, who later flashes him her breasts (not shown). Occasional profanity, including "a--hole" and "bulls--t." Some product placement of Budweiser signage and products. Some stereotypes about overweight people.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 12 years old June 6, 2021

Terrible Comedy is super stupid and is extremely crass

Stupid comedy is crass and overly slapstick. Has some language like BullS-t, Son of a B-tch, ass and asshole. Also a scene in a strip club with scantily clad wo... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 6, 2021

Needs More Comedy

This movie was my first chris farley movie. it is good but it needs a bit more comedy. there is a scene in a strip club.

What's the story?

In BEVERLY HILLS NINJA, a chest washes ashore and is discovered by a group of ninjas. Inside the chest is a baby. The baby is adopted by the ninjas, grows up, and trains with the other young ninjas. Named Haru (Chris Farley), his large size and clumsiness make him the worst ninja of all who are training. Naru is left behind while the other ninjas go on a mission. A woman named Sally Jones (Nicollette Sheridan) enters the temple and requests assistance in finding out what nefarious activities her husband is engaging in behind her back. Haru agrees to help her, and soon discovers that Sally's husband and bodyguard are engaged in a counterfeiting ring. Haru is unable to tell Sally of this before she leaves the island, and so Haru, with only a matchbook of a Beverly Hills hotel to guide him, resolves to travel across the ocean to Beverly Hills to continue to help Sally. Gobei, Haru's adoptive brother, is sent in secret to track Haru and make sure he doesn't get too far in over his head. Upon arrival in Beverly Hills, Haru finds a willing student (Chris Rock), a bellhop, who wants to train under him, and soon discovers that Sally isn't who she says she is. As he pursues the bad guys and goes from one calamity to the next, Haru must find a way to bust up the counterfeiting ring before more people, including "Sally," get hurt.

Is it any good?

Some comedies cannot be saved, no matter the talents of those involved, and Beverly Hills Ninja is such a movie. It was the last movie starring Chris Farley to be released during his lifetime, and while no one would expect a "Chris Farley Movie" to be anything but pure silliness mixed with pratfall after endless pratfall, his talents alone couldn't save what amounts to a dumb and very thin story. The over reliance on Farley's talent gets old within the first 30 minutes, as each scene essentially amounts to a set up and excuse for Farley to knock things over, fall down, and engage in the antics that made him one of the true luminaries of 1990s comedy, on Saturday Night Live and beyond. 

It's not without some genuine funny moments that go beyond "big guy fall down go boom" humor. When Farley channels his inner Midwesterner to go in disguise as the annoyingly garrulous Chet Walters, his voice and mannerisms are as funny as his Matt "Van Down by the River" Foley character on Saturday Night Live, or his cameo as the bus driver in Billy Madison. Unfortunately, Farley didn't get enough moments like these to break out beyond increasingly-tiresome clumsiness and stale sexual euphemisms. The result is a ridiculous premise maintained by a formulaic storyline that loses steam at least 30 minutes before the movie actually ends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about slapstick comedies like Beverly Hills Ninja. What's the appeal of comedy rooted in clumsiness that results in people and objects falling over?

  • What about Chris Farley's comedy makes it a movie that's uniquely his? What are some other examples of actors who have a signature style that gives them their own unique kind of "movie"?

  • What's the difference between slapstick and actual violence? Is real violence every funny? Why or why not?

Movie details

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