Beverly Hills Ninja (1997)

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Released 8-Oct-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Roghnecks 2: Starship Troopers Chronicles-The Tesca Campaign
Trailer-The Karate Kid
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 85:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Dennis Dugan
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Chris Farley
Nicollette Sheridan
Chris Rock
Nathaniel Parker
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music George Clinton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

"Master of disaster."

    In a far away land, a prophesy is foretold, a child is found, and a legend is born. I'm kidding, right? Yeah, I guess I am, but this is really how this whole film starts. Shipwrecked on the coast of Japan, an infant male (the only survivor) is rescued and raised by a group of ninjas. The ninjas believe that the white child is the one spoken of in an age-old prophecy, one who would become 'The Great White Ninja'. Sadly, the ninjas come to realize that they were wrong...really really wrong. Instead of a prodigy child, Haru (the late Chris Farley) is a bumbling idiot. Overweight and uncoordinated, Haru stumbles and bumbles through his ninja training. Being raised by the dojo's Sensei as a second son doesn't seem to do any good and in his early adult years Haru is as bad at his ninja art as he always was. When the time comes for the ninjas to be awarded their accreditation, Haru is left out. Sad that he has not made the grade, Haru is despondent, but hopeful that he can one day prove himself.

    On a night when the dojo's ninjas have gone on a mission, a mysterious woman in white comes to the dojo looking for the services of a ninja warrior. With all the other real ninjas on a mission, Haru puts himself forward as the real thing and demonstrates his considerable martial arts talents (nearly destroying the dojo in the process). The woman's request is simple: travel to Beverly Hills and investigate her fiancé, whom she suspects of being a counterfeiter. Against Sensei's advice, Haru is determined to carry out the quest and go to 'the hills of Beverly' to aid his dream damsel in distress. Sensei, knowing that Haru isn't up to the task of a full ninja mission, sends his son and star pupil Gobei to watch over his adopted brother and see that he isn't harmed. The fact that Gobei is following isn't to be made known to Haru so that he doesn't lose face. Before you know it, Haru is smack dab in the middle of Southern California and Beverly Hills won't know what hit them. Neither will Haru.

     This film doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is: pure stupid slapstick kung-fu fun. Against recent titles such as the uninspiring (and almost unwatchable) Kung Pow:  Enter the Fist, Beverly Hills Ninja hits the funny bone again and again with some great comedic timing from Farley and a bit of sidekick support from Chris Rock who seeks to learn from Haru the ninja ways. Sadly, the star of this film, Chris Farley died in 1997 after an accidental overdose of cocaine and other drugs. He strangely mirrored the tragic life of another Saturday Night Live alumni, that being one of his comedic role models, John Belushi. Both had so much more ahead of them and both of them wasted their lives for what they thought would be a temporary high which unfortunately ended up being for them a permanent low. A real shame for us as moviegoers as we are robbed of talent that we really need:  people who can make us laugh. Thankfully, this film is here to do just that and at least we have it to remember Chris by. Don't expect Masterpiece Theatre here, just a bloody good laugh because that's exactly what you'll get. Enjoy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    We have a reasonable video transfer here with the film presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement. Although no definite confirmation could be found of the original theatrical aspect ratio for this film, it would be safe to say that it was probably 1.85:1 of which 1.78:1 is a popular variant.

    I had no complaints with the level of sharpness seen during this transfer and at all times the image is quite clean and visible. The darker scenes during the film reveal quite reasonable amounts of detail and clarity and visibility during these sections is not a problem. I had no issues with low level noise.

    Colour use in this transfer is quite good with a natural colour palette used to good effect.

    MPEG artefacts were absent from the feature with a consistent image viewable throughout. Aliasing was seldom a real problem and only visible when looked for. Also making an appearance in Beverly Hills Ninja is edge enhancement who makes himself  frequently visible such as at 14:30 and 38:51 along with many other places during the film. Edge enhancement is an unwelcome artefact that is the worst thing about the video transfer on this disc. There were quite a few film artefacts visible through the film with the majority being made up of black and white flecks and nicks. These are quite small and do not detract from the enjoyment of the film, but they are there.

    There are 21 different subtitles available on this disc with the English subtitles conveying the mood and gist of the dialogue while not being word for word.

    This is a single layered disc and as such, a layer change is not an issue.

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

Audio

    The audio for this film is quite reasonable and serves the programme material well.

    There are 5 different audio tracks available, these being:

    The disc appropriately defaults to the English Dolby Digital track.

    Dialogue quality for the duration of the program is quite good and dialogue intelligibility is never an issue even when thicker accents are used. I found the audio sync to be spot-on with no real issues of note.

    The film's score was composed by George Clinton who is known for his scores of the popular Austin Powers series as well as many other features from the early 80s to the present. This score suits the film well, with all the appropriate musical cues that are required present and accounted for, from the Eastern themes to the underscoring of the comedic sequences. Also included are the songs Kung-Fu Fighting and Turning Japanese which, considering the subject matter, come as no big surprise.

    While this film features a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, for the most part the rear channels contribute mostly an atmospheric sound without drawing attention to themselves.

    The subwoofer backs up the musical score well, but there aren't heaps of on-screen happenings that make their way into the LFE channel.

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

Extras

    There isn't a huge range of extra material available on this disc.

Menu

    After the distributor's logo, we are taken straight to the Main Menu. This and all other menus available are static and silent. There is no 16x9 enhancement on any of the menus.

    The Main Menu offers us:

    Once the Special Features menu is selected, we are taken to a menu offering us:     Selecting Trailers takes us to a menu offering us trailers for:

Beverly Hills Ninja - Theatrical Trailer  2:15

    This is the standard trailer that you'd expect from such a film starting off seriously and then 'surprise, surprise'. This trailer is presented full frame. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.

Roughnecks 2: Starship Troopers Chronicles - The Tesca Campaign - Trailer  1:03

    Trailer for the animated series based on the 1997 Paul Verhoven film. Presented full frame with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.

The Karate Kid - Theatrical Trailer  2:05

    Trailer for the popular mid-80s teen hit that featured Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. It shows its age quite a bit and the trailer suffers from a faded print, heaps of film artefacts and a thin-sounding Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix. It is presented full frame.

Filmographies:  Dennis Dugan (Director), Chris Farley, Nicollette Sheridan, Chris Rock

    These are brief, one page selected filmographies for the above stars. Very limited with the name and production year of each film only.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on:


    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on:

    The main loss to us in Region 4 would be the missing production notes, which may be of interest to some. Otherwise, with our PAL transfer and local affordability, I would call this one a very close draw.

Summary

    If you were disappointed in Kung Pow: Enter the Fist and found that it didn't deliver the goods in the laughs department (you wouldn't be the only one) then have a look at this. Good stupid fun featuring the gone-too-soon Chris Farley with a bit of help from Chris Rock. Brain off, feet up, push play...enjoy.

    The video is watchable with some minor film artefacts and way too much edge enhancement to be seen.

    The audio is quite good with a very listenable 5.1 mix available.

    The extras are fairly thin with some trailers and 4 very brief cast & crew filmographies available.

There is an Official Distributor Comment available for this review.
read

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Monday, November 18, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic A300-MU, using S-Video output
DisplayHitachi CP-L750W LCD Projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2090
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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