Society just doesn't work. That's all there is to it. Crime and injustice are so rampant you'd be a fool to not want to put on a cape, wait until nightfall, and then go punch a stranger.
Then why bother justifying the decision to take the law into your own hands? That's just wasted time. We all know the score. So does 2003's The Black Ninja, a vigilante movie that does absolutely nothing to prove our collective need for Batmen.
Hotshot defense attorney Clayton Prince makes his living convincing juries to let killers and rapists go free. But by night, he dons the costume of the Black Ninja and dispenses his own brand of justice to the city's worst criminals.
As concepts go, that's not too shabby. How does this man reconcile his conflicting identities?, you might wonder. But probably not. Because The Black Ninja opens with special effects that would disgrace a Flash game and a title sequence that appears to have been rendered in HyperCard. Very quickly, it is evident this is a movie that requires a different set of standards. To be specific, a much lower set of standards. And possibly bourbon.
Incidentally, Prince didn't just star in The Black Ninja, he also wrote and directed it. With movies, this is more or less the kiss of death. You're more likely to crash with that approach than if you tried to design, construct, and pilot your own airplane.
So I was surprised to see Prince actually has a bit of charisma. A non-awful lead goes a long way in a movie as bad as this. In fact, if you can look past the fuzzy audio, stock screams, hilarious theme song that repeats every time the Black Ninja rolls into action, and a general lack of energy, you can pretend, for a while, that The Black Ninja wasn't scraped from the bottom of the barrel.
Then comes the third act. With the villains on the verge of murdering Prince's true love, he knows just what to do: heroically sit at his computer until the ghost of his first wife materializes to inspire him to hop on an exercise bike and train really, really hard.
From here on out, it's a big old pile of crazy, full of nonsensical subplots and a rival ninja of such mastery he can't even steal a diamond for himself. A bit dull to this point, The Black Ninja then bombs along like a third-rate Bond plot. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty bad. But it's also pretty fun.