An American soldier with special skills gets posted to an island base where someone keeps hijacking military convoys. When his convoy gets hit, he’s cooperating right up until someone hits the Colonel’s daughter, and then he intervenes. When the hijackers send Ninjas after him, it becomes even more obvious though that his skills are way more than just simple techniques. His memory of his childhood is mostly gone from an explosion on an island, but he has obviously had training.
What I Liked
Some of the basic fight scenes are fine, particularly between Joe and the Black Star Ninja. And the opening sequence is really well done. There’s a scene where they shoot arrows at him, and he uses the handle on a shovel to deflect their trajectory…highly iconic and when I first saw it as a kid, I was hooked.
What I Didn’t Like
I rewatched it recently, and it just doesn’t hold up. As I said, some of the basic fight scenes are good, but the fight scenes with guns seem more like a Stephen J. Cannell TV show where a million bullets are fired but nothing ever hits its target. In addition, some of the stunt work is either done at low speed, shows that it isn’t the actor doing the stunt (particularly a motorcycle jump), or in one case, requires a helicopter to hover in place for about 5 seconds for the stunt man to get ready to jump on the front.
The Bottom Line
A basic action movie from the ’80s but it doesn’t hold up.