VHS Visions: Robot Ninja

Published on April 18th, 2014 in: Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Retrovirus, Reviews, VHS, VHS Visions |

By Brad Henderson


What if I said that Robot Ninja is one of the most important films in the history of cinema? I would be full of shit, but I can tell you that it’s my favorite J.R. Bookwalter film and probably the most fun you could ever have with a title like Robot Ninja.

Robot Ninja is full of cheese, bad dialogue, and a ridiculous plot, but that makes it very special in a weird way. I was born in Akron, Ohio and moved to Pennsylvania when I was very young but we would visit Ohio for a few weeks every summer. My parents would go out gambling with some of my family members and I would stay behind with my grandmother who would take me to a place called Video Time. Video Time seemed to specialize in horror because their horror section was at least 12 large walls and contained everything you could ever imagine. This is what I would consider the root of the knowledge and power I carry today.

J.R. Bookwalter made most of his films in the Akron/Canton area. Video Time knew this and had a small section of his films. While I was perusing the shelves one day, I stopped to look at The Dead Next Door. An employee approached to tell me that those films were made here in town. My eyes widened and I took The Dead Next Door home with me. I simply fell in love with it and then rented everything else from that shelf that same week: The Sandman, Zombie Cop, Ozone, Witchouse 2, and the one that really stuck with me, Robot Ninja.

Robot Ninja has quite the amazing plot if you really think about it. A comic book artist, Leonard Miller, has created a superhero. One night Leonard intervenes to help a couple who is getting raped and beaten, but in the process Leonard gets his ass handed to him. The following day he has his friend Goodnight help him bring his superhero character to life by making him a real-life Robot Ninja. Using his new gear and weapons, he takes to the streets to stop this gang of vicious thugs.

For a film that was made for $15K, they did one hell of a job. Sure, Robot Ninja has its flaws, but all in all it’s what the ’80s was all about. It does suck that Bookwalter’s career didn’t take off because he is one talented guy who can do wonders with a small budget. Robot Ninja is a film that’s definitely been forgotten because it is extremely difficult to find. There are some DVD-Rs out there but the transfer is shitty because it was a bootleg. I don’t think the VHS was mass produced. I do have hopes that Bookwalter owns the rights to all his films since he had his hands in the production company, but I don’t know if he knows how important his films are to people like me.

Robot Ninja is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Nothing can prepare you for this piece of gold, from the ridiculous of the film and its killer special effects to Robot Ninja T-shirts, cool-ass movies posters shown throughout, and a Robot Ninja theme song at the very end of the credits! Seriously, it really does have a song at the end about the film. It’s hysterical and plays through the credits, which you should watch in their entirety because they’re pretty funny as well.

Well, now you know that I’m a huge fan of this film. I hope that soon I can start a Robot Ninja army and we all can storm the gates and demand this gets a Blu-Ray or even a DVD release. Track this piece of art down, watch this son of a bitch, and enjoy the hell out of it.

2 Responses to “VHS Visions: Robot Ninja

  1. Mormo:
    April 24th, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    This movie is def a holy grail for me which I have not found yet. A few years ago I dropped some serious cash to pick up Don Dohler produced Harvesters on VHS but I probably should have got Robot Ninja instead!

  2. Douglas Waltz:
    April 24th, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I have said this for years. Well done, sir!

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