Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pray For Death

Pray For Death (1986)
* * *1/2

Cast: Sho Kosugi, James Booth, Donna Kei-Benz, Norman Burton, Kane Kosugi, Shane Kosugi

Directed by Gordon Hessler

Kosugi stars in what is probably the best U.S ninja film to date (This one still isn’t as fun as Five Element Ninjas) as a businessman and closet ninja who dispenses his deadly skills when mobsters kill his wife and threaten his kids over some type of priceless necklace. Pray For Death is really the best U.S ninja film of the 80s as it features excellent choreography and a really well done revenge subplot that has us rooting for Kosugi. Indeed this film is even more fun than the American Ninja series (1-2) as well as Kosugi’s Enter The Ninja and Revenge Of The Ninja mainly due to how personal the action feels. Pray For Death not only works as Ninja hokum but actually works as more as Pray For Death has its moments in political statement in saying how violent American cities are, Of course such is Reagan paranoia but it does filter well with the rest of the action and because the revenge angle works so well, we find ourselves engrossed in Kosugi’s quest for revenge. Indeed real stakes are being played and like the equally enjoyable Avenging Force (also written by Booth) the bad guys mean business and the action sequences are tough and brutal in a way to indicate seriousness this genre rarely has. However Pray For Death works mainly because it just keeps coming with the action. Pray For Death then isn’t just a good kung fu film but rather a good action movie overall that is well worth seeing. Indeed one can safely say this is Sho Kosugi’s best film to date and deserves a more prolific DVD release and an overall rediscovery as this film should be heralded as one of the best in the martial arts genre, too bad the title is so bad as it detracts from an otherwise well made and thrilling martial arts flick.


  1. I think we've talked this one to death on my blog as well. The one thing I can agree with you on is how awesome Kosugi's action is. He really brings it, which is all we can ask of him.

  2. Yeah. I agree. I can't really say more than such that I already said on your turf.