3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998)

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Released 11-Jun-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Trailer-The Karate Kid 1&2, Roughnecks, Jumanji
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 90:27
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Sean McNamara
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Hulk Hogan
Loni Anderson
Jim Varney
Mathew Botuchis
Michael O'Laskey II
James Paul Roeske II
Case ?
RPI Box Music John Coda


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain is a children's movie designed to provide some comic martial arts thrills. It is one of a series of films, which tell the adventures of three young boys, Tum Tum, Colt and Rocky, who spend each summer at their Grandpa's house, being trained in the mysterious ways of the Ninja.

    This film takes place as the two elder Ninjas decide that they have had enough training, and want to spend their summers earning money for a car or picking up babes at the beach. Tum Tum seems to be the only one who still believes that there is value in the Ninja way - as personified by his television hero Dave Dragon (Hulk Hogan). Dragon's series has just been axed by the network after fifteen years. Fortunately, Tum Tum's birthday means that they get to visit Mega Mountain theme park that very weekend, which coincides with Dave Dragon's final public appearance. They are joined by Amanda, a new teenage neighbour who just happens to spend her time designing high-tech gizmos for her father's movies.

    As luck would have it, strange things are afoot at Mega Mountain. The park is soon under the control of a group of armed terrorists led by the incredibly camp Medusa (Loni Andersen). They are extorting the wealthy owner of the park for $10 million (insert Dr Evil laugh here). Even the mighty Dave Dragon is soon overpowered by the gang, leaving only one group of young heroes to save the day...

    3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain is a by-the-numbers attempt at a kids action movie. The script is pretty weak, which does not help the cheesy young leads deliver their performances with any real credibility - their acting is easily up to the standards of the incredibly hammy Hogan, however. Still, this is lightweight B-Grade stuff designed for kids (pre-teens I would suggest) and it is certainly not dreadful - just rather predictable.

    The frequent violence is all played for laughs, and there is never really any concern that anyone is going to get killed, or even suffer long-lasting damage. There are some laughable special effects employed here - one of the ways the thugs terrorise the punters is to increase the speed of the rides. For some reason this involves the henchmen adjusting a dial clearly marked "Temperature Set Point" - surely they could have afforded some appropriately labelled props? There are some vaguely funny moments in the film and enough martial arts action to keep youngsters happy for the ninety-minute running time. I doubt it would warrant too many repeat viewings however. Recommended for a rainy afternoon rental only of you cannot get your hands on far superior fare such as Spy Kids.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall video transfer of this disc perfectly reasonable.

    The film is presented in a widescreen ratio of 1.85:1 which is the original aspect ratio. It has been 16x9 enhanced.

    The overall transfer does feel a little soft, with some low level grain evident in the backgrounds. This is not distracting however, and kids will not notice it as an issue. The larger your screen, the more prominent this softness will become.

    Most of the film is shot in brightly lit conditions, but where needed blacks are solid, with minimal low-level noise evident. Shadow detail is a little limited on occasion, with some scenes becoming rather inky, but probably acceptable overall.

    Colours are well rendered and fully saturated throughout, with no evidence of colour bleeding. Skin tones are fine.

    The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts, but film-to-video artefacts crop up, in the way of mild but noticeable edge enhancement on occasion. Examples can be seen around Grandpa at 3:20, the boxes at 12:21, the policeman at 36:38 and the girl's trousers at 50:42. Aliasing is not a major concern - particularly if viewed in progressive scan, where it is unnoticeable. Telecine wobble is absent.

    The transfer does have a few film artefacts, with minor white specks cropping up intermittently, but always briefly. There are occasional larger, more noticeable, specks present, for example at 9:07 and 9:40 - but these are again fleeting.

    The English subtitles are reasonable in that they are well timed and easy to read, but they do rephrase rather a lot of the dialogue for no particular reason.

    This is a single-layer, single-sided DVD 5 disc, and there is therefore no layer change present.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The overall audio quality of this disc is acceptable for a kids' flick.

    The English audio track is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 kbps. Played loud enough it manages its task adequately without ever becoming inspiring.

    Dialogue was generally clear, except for the occasional slurred line from Victor Wong as Grandpa, and audio sync was usually fine. There is an intermittent clicking present on the soundtrack, but as this is fairly quiet, it is unlikely to be distracting to the target audience of the film.

    Original music is credited to the musically named John Coda, and it does a reasonable job. The score has a suitably "heroic" feel and suits the movie fairly well. It will not however, have you rushing out to buy the soundtrack CD.

    The soundstage is mainly frontal as would be expected given the transfer. The use of Dolby Pro Logic II however, does result in a reasonable degree of surround activity - mainly for the musical score.

    Being a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, there is no specific LFE activity from the subwoofer. On my set-up there was some bass presence redirected through to the subwoofer, but nothing remarkable.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are minimal extras on this disc.

Menu

    The menu is a silent photograph of the Ninjas cover allowing the selection of audio language, subtitles, one of twenty-eight chapter stops or the following meagre extras:

Trailers

    There are several trailers on the disc, generally with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps:

Filmographies

    These are silent, text-based pages for Sean McNamara, Hulk Hogan, Loni Anderson and Jim Varney all presented at 1.33:1.

DVD ROM content

    There are web-links to Sony Pictures Entertainment and Columbia Tri-Star web sites. In addition, there is a trivial but mildly diverting Flash game, which involves kicking and punching falling objects to score points or extra time.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release is presented with a 1.33:1 transfer and a 1.78:1 transfer on opposite sides of the DVD. The extras seem to be similarly anaemic. The Region 4 would appear to be marginally preferable, due to being in the original aspect ratio, and trailers - but the difference is pretty negligible, so buy whichever is cheaper.

Summary

    3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain is a B-Grade kids action movie. The action scenes are based around Three Stooges type violence with a touch of Bruce Lee for good measure. There is little in the way of surprises to be had here, and the acting of all the principal characters is uniformly poor. Still, for a rainy afternoon when everything else in the store has been seen, this may be worth a rental for the under 10's.

    The video quality is reasonably good.

    The audio quality is adequate.

    There are negligible extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Friday, November 07, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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