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Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 322- Master Ninja I

Plot: (1984 TV episodes; 1991 combined movie) An occidental ninja, searching for his long-lost daughter, joins forces with a mush-mouthed drifter to help save an airport, and then a nightclub, from thugs, while evading the ninjas who have been sent to kill him.

First shown: 1/11/92
Opening: The bots build a model muscle car, and it’s a bad influence on Gypsy
Invention exchange: The Mads demonstrate their boil-in-a-bag IVs, while J&tB show off their pop-up books for adults
Host segment 1: Crow presents “The Van Patten Project”
Host segment 2: J&tB brawl to Master Ninja’s many theme songs
Host segment 3: J&tB explore other kinds of nunchuks
End: Song: J&tB sing the “Master Ninja Theme Song” while Joel reads a letter; Frank gets even with Dr. F
Stinger: “To them it’s some kind of ritual”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (159 votes, average: 4.58 out of 5)


• I’m going to fall back on the “good-not-great” assessment for this one. The movie is reasonably watchable while being very riffable (did nobody have the nerve to tell Timothy to slow down and enunciate?). Most of the segments are fun (though the nunchucks one goes nowhere), and the stupidity of the movie brings out some solid, if not dazzlingly brilliant, riffing.
• This episode was included in Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XX.”
• The exact year of this “movie” is unclear. Trans World Entertainment came out with VHS tapes in 1985 that featured these two episodes and it’s called “Master Ninja I,” but I don’t know if they’d been stitched together to form a movie, or whether Film Ventures International did that when they came out with their version in 1991. In the end I decided to go with the copyright date on the screen.
• These two episodes aired on NBC on Jan. 20 and Jan. 27, 1984. The series was called “The Master.” The individual episodes were titled “Max” and “Out-of-Time-Step,” respectively.
• In the invention exchange, the script does not call for them to open the “Naked Lunch” book–so the prop guys didn’t bother making something that opens. Unfortunately, that makes it not look very much like a book.
• Callback: “He learned too late that man is a feeling creature…” (It Conquered the World) “I’m a ninja warrior!” (paraphrase of a line from “Viking Women.”
• Crow’s crack about “check your career!” came before Timothy became a very successful and award-winning director.
• In the first barroom scene, after being harassed by the sheriff, Lee proceeds to trash the place. Why? What did the owner of the bar do to Lee to deserve all that damage? Does the sheriff own the bar? If so, it’s not established.
• I like the way Crow ZOOMS out of the theater as he heads into the segment 1, hurrying to prepare his presentation.
• One small problem with segment 1: Timothy is not Dick’s son. He’s Dick’s half brother.
• In the theater segment after segment 1, Crow’s net falls off. They keep going.
• They mispronounce Clu Gulagher’s last name twice.
• We get another reference to “Bonnie, your Time/Life operator.” This commercial must have permeated somebody’s consciousness.
• Once again there’s a bit that makes a reference to a portion of the movie we haven’t seen yet. At the end of segment 2 we see Frank, with top hat and cane, saying “It’s show ti-…” We have no idea what he means until we return to the movie and get the second plot about the aging hoofer.
• The second episode—er, I mean, portion—of the movie presents yet another modern night club with an enormous dance floor on which dancers perform but do NOT take off their clothes (see “Flashdance” as the prime example). I contend such places DO NOT EXIST. Most night clubs, if they have live shows, have a TINY stage so they can jam as many tables in as possible. And NOBODY dances in a night club and keeps their clothes on.
• Segment 3 features yet another plea for people to write in, (remember “ways to off Gaos”?) and once again we never hear anything more about it. Did nobody write in?
• Cast and crew roundup: These people all also worked on “Master Ninja II”: executive producer Michael R. Sloan, episode director Ray Austin, special effects guy Phil Cory, stunt coordinator/ninja choreographer/co-star Sho Kosugi, stunt coordinator Gary Charles Davis and theme song composer Bill Conti. Sound guy Glen Glenn (creative parents, Glen!) not only worked on Master Ninja II, but also “The Corpse Vanishes” and “Hangar 18.” And our old pal Karl Michael Demer is back with more “music.” In front of the camera, of course Lee and Timothy and Sho Kosugi will be back. In addition we’ll meet Clu Gulager (who they call “Gallagher” all through this) in “San Francisco International.” And Bill McKinney (who did a nice interview on the Shout! Factory DVD) will be back in “Final Justice.”
• CreditsWatch: Frank’s name appears along with Mike in the “additional music” credit. There’s also an additional contributing writer: Mike Gandolfi. Trace and Frank are still “villians” and Dr. F’s last name is still “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff: “Hey mister, your ninja’s dragging!” Honorable mention: “I just passed wind in my suit. I ask you, as a point of honor, give me a second.”

121 Replies to “Episode guide: 322- Master Ninja I”

  1. ARCH HALL 3 says:

    YAY ! M.N. # 1 AND # 2 ARE GREAT ! HI- KEEBA!


  2. robot rump! says:

    hibah keebahlah!
    watching these episodes crammed together,,i mean this movie, i have to chuckle and wonder which actors considered this series a high point and which considered it a low. i think Lee would have made a better Jedi Master than a ninja master…’cause he can wear the..robes and cloak y’see heheh…the gut..form fitting…ninja.. anyway


  3. Jose chung says:

    Crow does not return to the theater with his net on. It falls off during the movie.


  4. Dan in WI says:

    Let me start out by asking the timeless question: “Who says a coma has to be tasteless.”

    This is not a classic episode. Yet it is light and fun. I do enjoy it a ton.

    Frank has a nice opening as he attempts call Joel names in the way Clayton would. He misses the mark but it is fun watching him try.

    By the way Max Keller, BA Baracas called. He wants his van back.

    Joel makes an “Over the Top” riff during the bar scene. You don’t suppose Mike wrote that one?

    The payoff to the Van Patton host segment is classic. Joel “Crow would you please get to your point.” Crow “I don’t have one.” Isn’t that true of so many of those sketches? But understand I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.

    Joel sure is proud of his cluck-chucks and I guess there are some cute ones in that host segment. My favorite was the ground-chucks.

    I’m not completely sure why but reading that letter to the Master Ninja Theme Song makes me giggle. It sure is lucky they had a letter which repeated the phrase “Master Ninja Theme Song” several times within its text.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Max “The only occidental American to ever become.’ Crow “Miss Japan”

    Crow “Wow he got paid to kiss Demi Moore.” Tom “Most people have.”

    Tom “Well you shouldn’t be calling her a gimp now dickweed.”

    Crow “If he falls do we have to watch is life pass before his eyes?”


  5. Jose chung says:

    Sorry i ment he doesn’t return to the theater with his net off. It falls of curing the training scene of the movie.


  6. briizilla says:

    5 stars for Master Ninja theme song alone. As someone who grew up on 80s action shows I love this episode and all the made for tv stuff they did. Can you imagine them doing 2 stitched together episodes of The A Team? Dukes of Hazard? Magnum P.I.?


  7. dad1153 says:

    Saw both “Master Ninja” movies back-to-back a few weeks ago while working late at the office (where, as you can probably can tell, work wasn’t getting done :quiet: ) after years of watching them separately. I used to think of both episodes as one uninterrupted trip, but seeing them one after the other revealed to me that “Master Ninja I” is the far superior of the two experiments. Almost everything said about Max and the Master in “MNI” gets recycled/repeated/given-a-new-coat-of-paint-but-basically-its-the-same-joke riffing in “Master Ninja II,” with the ‘guest stars’ (Lazenby, Bertinelli, etc.) and union/hostage-taking plots being the main difference/targets of the humor. But in “MN I” everything/everyone was new, not to mention the ‘guest stars’ (Demi Moore, Claude Aikins, etc.) were cooler. I disagree with Sampo on this one, the humor and riffing (which tends to fall mostly on the observational ‘look at that’ style, but for something as self-mocking as “MN I” that’s really all that was needed) are off-the-charts funny with this one. I never get tired of the ‘Lee, tuck in your shirt/suck your gut’ or ‘the stuntman has taken over’ jokes. The first time I saw this episode back in 1995 (yes, I was late to the “MST3K” party), when the Master is on the highwire above the thug’s car (which of course goes horribly wrong) and Joel announces proudly/mockingly ‘Ladies and gentlemen, LEE VAN CLEEF!’ both me and Tom said at the same time in unison ‘Yeah right!’ Nearly busted my sides from laughing so hard. The only things that don’t work as well as they used to are the riffing assaults/jokes about Tim Van Patten being a loser without a career since Tim went on to become an incredible director of HBO TV dramas (most notably “The Sopranos” and recently various “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire” episodes). Sure, as an actor Tim is only a couple of degree credits shy of graduating for the Ben Casey school of ‘Hi, I’m Ben Casey’ smugness, but at least his stunt double got work. And isn’t it freaky that, even though the episode with Demi Moore is 27 years old this year she only looks about 10-15 years older now than she did then (plus she is still in the news and has a movie coming out soon, something you can’t say about anybody else from the ol’ “Master Ninja” franchise. Also I know and have seen many more Sho Kosugi movies since “MN” so, when he and Lee face off, I find myself conflicted because I want Sho to win because he’s clearly the superior athlete/trained performer to Lee’s only attribute being his past glory as a bad-ass (which is tough to buy when he dons the ninja outfit when you remember what he looked like with his shirt tucked off! :clap: ).

    Anywho, FOUR-AND-A-HALF STARS (out of five) for “Master Ninja” because, frankly, the host segments never did anything for me. This one is all about the riffing and the flick itself being gloriously goofy. Favorite riff (after a car wrecks during a chase): I hope Stephen J. Cannell was in that car. (no disrespect to the man, RIP). Second favorite riff: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Gerbil.


  8. lancecorbain says:

    I remember laughing very, very, very hard at this one the first time I saw it, mainly because once Lee puts that hood on, he’s a whole other person….literally. I recognized Mr. Van Cleef from For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, so it was nice to know he was still alive and working in the 80’s, but I also knew how old he would have been at that point. The obvious dummy that was supposed to be him hanging on to the bottom of a car, man, we must have rewound that part 5 times at least, laughing harder every time. The ridiculous touch of the hamster (gerbil? I can’t remember) running in his wheel while Max is driving and Joel yelling “You bastard!!”….it’s an easy joke, to give pets and other animals in these things their own voices, but it works on me every time.

    And knowing Dick Van Patten from other TV shows (and the movie High Anxiety), I loved the Van Patten Project. One of their better presentations, like The Godzilla Geneology Bop and the careers of Sean and Neil Connery.

    Favorite riff-“Tonight, on a very special Mrs. Ironsides…” I still catch myself doing versions of that, “Tonight, on a very special (insert joke TV reference here)…..”, most recently while watching the movie Priest. And I ramble.


  9. Spalanzani says:

    I guess I agree with “good, not great”. It’s a hilariously silly “movie”, but somehow I just can’t quite get into it. My favorite riff is actually the very first one: “Hi, I’m Max Keller” “I’m a seagull”.

    I do love that part at the beginning where those angry bikers from the bar yell “Hey, that’s Max Keller” as Max takes off. Why is he so famous? Because he’s always getting thrown out of bars? And when the Master is getting picked on in the bar, some trucker tells Max he’d been hearing about this old guy, and that he can take care of himself. So apparently the Master’s been getting into tons of fights along the way. But why? Why would he constantly be getting into trouble trying to track down his daughter? The whole “movie” seems made up of small stuff like that which doesn’t quite make sense.


  10. Fred Burroughs says:

    This is an enjoyable ep, if only because it is 80s schlock cheese, it feels like just sitting around watching TV with friends (who are aware how crappy our entertainment fare is here). I don’t understand why Van Patten is considered so bad. He seemed like a pretty normal 80s hero, if a few notches below average. I like how his intro voice-over states that his usual way of leaving a bar is being thrown through the front window; and I thought “really?” Usually? and later we see that, yes, the next time he goes into a bar, that is in fact the way he leaves. You have some major problems if that is normal…


  11. Travis says:

    I watched this rather recently for the first time in ages and boy is it bad TV, misreprensenting Asian culture notwithstanding.
    I do have to say, that the scene where the two ninjas fight each other with swords was actually really impressive. Other than that, everything was bad.


  12. ServoTron3000 says:

    Max: Meanwhile, the Master was getting us into even more trouble.

    Servo: Snapping off antennas in the parking lot.


  13. Matthew Shine says:

    Poor Lee. Poor, poor Lee Van Cleef.
    Going from Sergio Leone to THIS…
    It’s really REALLY sad to see a cinema legend reduced to 80’s TV schlock.

    However, this and it’s sequel are my fourth favorite 80’s “movies” they did. (Third is Alien From L.A., Second is Hobgoblins and first is Pod People.)


  14. Zee says:

    I dearly love this one, but I have to agree with dad1153: watching them back to back after the DVD release revealed Master Ninja II is not nearly as fun as part I.


  15. Sitting Duck says:

    dad1153 #7: The only things that don’t work as well as they used to are the riffing assaults/jokes about Tim Van Patten being a loser without a career since Tim went on to become an incredible director of HBO TV dramas (most notably “The Sopranos” and recently various “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire” episodes).

    Much like when Dr. F proclaimed City Limits as the high point of Kim Catrell’s career.

    Interestingly enough, the menu of the Shout Factory release features some riffs that were actually used in Master Ninja II (most notably the Batman announcer riff).


  16. Stressfactor says:

    A few things I noticed with this one…..

    Joel and the gang usually riffed making fun of the *characters* in the movie but if you note they rarely seem to take pot-shots directly at the *actors* themselves. I know it probably seems I’m splitting hairs but it is a distinction. But with “Master Ninja I” and “Master Ninja II” a huge portion of the riffs seem to be directed at the *actors* themselves. After a while I actually start feeling sorry for poor Timothy Van Patten. I mean sure, his delivery of lines is terrible but after watching him get bashed on for close to two hours I feel like he doesn’t necessarily deserve that much abuse.

    Another thing of interest — when the guys introduce the nunclucks they indicate that the audience should already be familiar with them…. but the only time, to the best of my knowledge, the nunclucks have been seen was in Joel’s old stand-up routine and in one of the “missing” early KTMA episodes!


  17. dsman71 says:

    I felt this episode was good, but MN 1 & 2 and Fu Manchu seemed like *filler* to get to the 24 episode mark of this season. They arent considered too popular – but the Master Ninja Theme Song was a hit. I felt the 3rd season peaked with Santa Claus Conquers the Martians ..
    Joel’s Hair was back to the bangs look again
    Joels Hair
    Joels Knees
    Mast-Uh Nin-Juh theme song
    wok a doo wok a doo wok a doo
    i know i know..therapy


  18. The DA says:

    Thug: “You’re a dancer…DANCE!”

    Crow: “You’re an actor…ACT!”


  19. Graboidz says:

    I’m not sure if it’s noted above and I missed it, but is this Timothy Van Patten the same as Tim Van Patten, one of the producers of “Boardwalk Empire”?


  20. monoceros4 says:

    The goofy earnestness of the starting material gets to me. The makers of “Master Ninja” really seemed to think they were treating with serious questions of social justice, with Max Keller getting to make impassioned populist speeches. Max may be a bit dim, but you have to admit–he’s a better student of martial arts than Luke Skywalker ever was.


  21. snowdog says:

    I’m a bit surprised at the lukewarm reception for this one as it’s one of my favorites from the Joel era. It’s also one of the few times I laughed out loud at the invention exchange. Who knew being in a coma could be so delicious? Five stars for me.


  22. snowdog says:



  23. Sampo says:

    Graboidz–yes that is the same Tim. He has achieved real success behind the camera (which, if it keeps him from being in front of the camera, we can all agree is a good thing.)


  24. Tom Carberry says:

    This and it’s companion piece Master Ninja II were amongst the last of the Season 3 episodes I recorded and watched during the Comedy Central midnight rotation. For some reason these two were bypassed during the rotation for various reasons. When I finally got them I must say I wasn’t very impressed. They are ok, but not knockout episodes like others in Season 3. While I will admit to liking Castle of Fu Manchu (yes, I know I’m very much in the minority on that one) these two just don’t click for me. They seem to have a “let’s just get through these last three so we can go on vacation” feel to them. I know CoFM was a real ordeal for them.


  25. Dan in WI says:

    You know who turned out to be a much better version of the Max Keller character: Ritchie Ryan of Highlander.


  26. Fred Burroughs says:

    In the ACEG, Paul Chaplin makes a complaint about the villains in Master1 & 2. I have to agree wholeheartedly that this is an example of Hollywood’s view of smalltown America: a few nice people, mostly dumb drunken rednecks, corrupt sheriff, evil capitalist developer willing to murder dozens of people just to build a strip mall. Not just once, but every town seems to be this way. As PC said, I have a hard time believing all developers are that evil; they could be trying to make money. Same plot as most Hollywood movies last decade too.


  27. Thomas K. Dye says:

    I disagree about it being “good not great.” This is one of my favorite episodes and always has been. Maybe it’s because I love things that make fun of the cheesiness of the eighties.

    Tom (to the background tune): Ain’t got no rear-view mirror…

    Max: I remember in a bar when I was in Saigon..
    Tom Servo: Yeah, right, when you were a BABY…

    Joel: Good thing he studied with that ninja for those ten minutes…

    (After McAllister stands around while Jill falls over)
    Tom: Lee, you can jump in at any time here…

    Jill (leaning on her father): Look, Dad, I can stand on my own two feet!
    Crow: Actually, dear, you’re on MY two feet!

    I’m amused at how Max is such a Mary Sue here… Demi Moore falls for him, Lee Van Cleef praises his “tenacity and speed” (yeah, whatever) and even the ad for “The Master” says “he’s the ultimate heartthrob”. On the other hand, he does get his butt kicked a few times, and the climaxes usually feature McAllister facing off against some faceless “ninja.” Even so, the idea that Van Patten could be this action hero is ridiculous.

    Some annoying things… Sho Kosugi is the nemesis in the FIRST episode. The second episode foe is a different character and an entirely different actor, yet Joel and the bots keep calling him “Osaka” (oops) and “Sho Kosugi.” Lee even SAYS plainly that it’s not Okasa! It irritates me a bit, but I suppose they found the “movie” so confusing that they weren’t paying that close attention.

    Apart from that, I wish they’d done more bad action shows. They really sent up the ridiculousness of this one well. Max’s skin must be encrusted with glass, I don’t believe he’s taking very good care of that hamster, and the way McAllister describes it, it does sound like there’s a wheel still stuck in his back.

    “Master Ninja II,” however, was a disappointment. I think Joel and the Bots just ran out of things to say by that time, and the stories were considerably duller.


  28. Cheapskate Crow says:

    This episode was better than I remembered, I always like Crow’s actor/character sketches. I would give it 4 stars, Max is the kind of person who gets annoying quickly so I didn’t mind the constant abuse hurled at him. The editing really seemed incomprehensible though as characters were coming and going, don’t know why Hollywood would do these episodes hacked together as movies thing so often. I have a laserdisc of a Battlestar Galactica “movie” that is really parts of three episodes hacked together in an equally incomprehensible fashion. Yes I am old and a huge nerd. Really wondering about watching next week’s episode though, I remember Fu Man Chu as one of the worst of all time.


  29. Spector says:


    I remember watching the debut of “The Master” way back in the day, so I was delighted when the Brains gave this the treatment it richly deserved. Such a shame to see Lee van Cleef reduced to doing this dreck. I would consider this one in the very good category, as there are some areas in this episode which drags a bit, or where the jokes fall flat, but overall, I found it quite enjoyable, especially when they razzed on van Cleef as a ninja, or whenever Timothy van Patton (“I’m Mathx Keller”) opens his mouth. Four out of five stars.


  30. Max Keller says:

    I see Dick Van Patten once a week or so at Starbucks (geez, what a name dropper!) and I always hum or softly sing the Master Ninja Theme Song. Sadly, he seems to not recognize it, but one of these days I’m hoping he turns around and tell me to go $^%# myself. :)

    This is the episode which got me hooked on MST, and I’m still on the line all these years later.

    Any anyone who says Claude Akins doesn’t have a nice rump, you and I have issues.


  31. JCC says:

    Love these two episodes, they’re in my Top Ten, maybe even Top Five. I was (still am?)a big fan of bad 70’s and 80’s TV though so there’s your reason why. Riding With Death is also in my Top Five. HIBAKEEBALA!


  32. Zeroninety says:

    “Yes, this is from my 1935 film, The Prancing Ninny.”


  33. dad1153 says:

    Max Keller wrote: Any anyone who says Claude Akins doesn’t have a nice rump, you and I have issues.

    Me (turning around): you guys talking about Claude Akins’ butt? :laugh:


  34. Thomas K. Dye says:

    More bad things about the film:

    Max: “How do you know about Rocky? You’ve been out of the country for thirty years!”
    Yes, because once you’re out of the country, you can never see an American film ever again. Or be aware of anything American.

    I’m sure some hastily shouted names while being mugged by a “ninja” will stand up in court as evidence, unless the sheriff has the worst defense lawyer ever.

    How does Lee know Jill can walk if she wants to? For all he knows, she has some serious medical problem and shouldn’t be on her feet at all.

    So Lee throws a gas bomb at the overacting Chinese crime lord, and manages to fry Mr. Lica, and as a result things are all happy and Charlie Patterson will never be hassled ever again. Sure.

    On the other hand, it’s kind of cool that the “Prancing Ninny” footage actually was that of the actor playing Charlie Patterson. Didn’t seem like the guy got many other roles, though, according to iMDB.


  35. Mitchell Rowsdower Beardsley says:

    This IS a classic episode in my book. One of the most rewatchable-even-though-I-know-all-the-jokes ones of all (like Earth vs. The Spider). LOVE it!
    Although I agree part 2 is strangely unmemorable every time I see it. Can’t put my finger on why.

    Anyway, 4 stars. Oh, and



  36. Ralph C. says:

    I gave this episode five stars… and if 100 stars were available, I would’ve given it 100! This is one of my favoritest episodes of MST3K, ever. To me, funny through and through. I’ve watched this episode again and again and again, and I never grow tired of it. In fact (I’ll mention it now), “Master Ninja 2” is one of my favorite episodes, too. The “Master Ninja” two-volume set is over three-and-a-half hours of laughs and tears… of hilarity and joy.


  37. Rich says:

    “Bonnie, your Time/Life operator”. When I read that line of yours, I saw her in my mind. Now that’s a good ad campaign.


  38. Droppo says:


    The reason I am a MSTie.


  39. Cubby says:

    I really like this episode, but I like MNII better. I think some of this is what Dad1153 mentions way up at the top: many of the riffs are of the same flavor, hitting the same themes. People who prefer this one seem to have seen it first – and I’m the complete opposite. I’m not sure what was going on that Jan. 11, since MST was by then regular viewing in my house, but I totally missed this premiere. It was probably work-related, since I only saw three quarters of MNII when it first aired, but I saw 2 before 1. (It could also be that I prefer Crystal Bernard and Jennifer Runyon to Demi Moore and Shanna Reed, but that’s another discussion entirely, isn’t it?)

    For some reason, I really get a kick out of the bald cracks in the second half:
    What skull wax to you use?
    Ah, we’re bald, and we’re bonding!
    And Crow’s, “It’s the battle of the turtlenecks! … and Lee’s not wearing one.”

    These days, though, I think my fave riff in this one is when Max says, “I didn’t know what to do.” “So I did a voiceover.”
    Runner up is long-time fave, “Someone has broken Ape Law!” (One of my only memories of the Planet of the Apes TV series was a bit where the apes were planning to brainwash one of the humans, and Claude Akins is trying to understand the concept, “You take the brain out, soak it in cold water and put it back?”)

    Crow’s conspiracy theory did make me want to track down some episodes of the Good Guys.


  40. Johnny Ryde says:

    Thomas K. Dye:

    On the other hand, it’s kind of cool that the “Prancing Ninny” footage actually was that of the actor playing Charlie Patterson. Didn’t seem like the guy got many other roles, though, according to iMDB.

    I’m glad someone mentioned this because I thought it was kind of strange. Charles Collins played Charlie Patterson and footage is of him in the film The Dancing Pirate (not very good). So, why do they call him Patterson and not have him just play himself?


  41. charles says:

    FVI really didn’t do anything to package these two episodes as a movie. I’m pretty sure in the unMSTed version there’s a title for the second episode that pops up that MST edited out. It’s not like Riding With Death where they actually went back and overdubbed new dialog to link the two episodes.

    With TWE’s releases the cover simply said Master Ninja (numbered 1-7 but I don’t think any video store had them all) which looked like a movie but if you read the back you could see it was two episodes. FVI’s version simply changes the titles and some music.


  42. big61al says:

    While not a great episode it certainly is a very good one along with MNII. I was glad to see this get an official release.:star::star::star::star:
    I remember watching these when back, when it was actually on tv. Poor Lee, he deserved to be in better films than this. Casting him at 59 years old as a ninja was a mistake. He simply was too old for the part.
    I bet Demi never talks about this film :film::poop: any more.


  43. Matt says:

    The tranquility of post-war Japan?!

    As a pretty recent fan (roughly since this past June, although I’ve known about the show for years), I’ve been making my way through just about every single episode of the series (Thank you DAP and Netflix). I saw this one quite awhile back along with the other episodes released on Vol. 20 and found it to be one of the better ones that I had seen up to that point.

    Watching it again last night in preperation for this episode guide entry, and having seen nearly every other episode since (just six more to go at the moment and then I dive into the KTMA’s *ugh*), I now consider it one of the highlights of Season 3, ranking just below “Stranded in Space” (I know, I’m in the very small minority who likes this one) and “Daddy-O”. It’s just a whole lot of fun all the way through. The “movie” itself is watchable (I’m definitely not one of those types that let’s the badness of the movie get to me most of the time, which is why I’m looking foward to re-watching Fu Manchu next week), the host segments all work for me, and I even dug the “Master Ninja Theme Song” bit at the end which I thought was kind of irritating the first time around. I give it my highest rating: 5 skulls!


  44. CatraDhtem says:

    Just to clarify something that’s otherwise trivial, the various “Glen Glenn” credits in movies are referring to Glen Glenn Sound, which was one of the biggest sound-recording companies back in the day.

    There was in fact a real Glen R. Glenn who founded the company in 1936, but as far as I can tell he and his wife were both murdered in 1960, so it’s a tad unlikely that he personally had anything to do with the making of the Master episodes.


  45. Cubby says:

    Charles @42,
    “With TWE’s releases the cover simply said Master Ninja (numbered 1-7 but I don’t think any video store had them all)”

    Though it’s now closed, That’s Rentertainment, a video rental chain in the Iowa City, IA area actually had all seven in their Coralville store alone, with some of the others in their other stores. I made it through Master Ninja 4 before boredom took over … but that’s too much information, right?

    (I am of the understanding that they can be found through various unsavory portals online, as well)


  46. April de Wetpants says:

    One of my faves! Enjoy the second one more though. And I still have them both on tape, the original Comedy Central version with commercials. Those commercials are hilarious to rewatch. Also remember seeing the original show, and yes, also remember Misfits of Science. I was pretty young though. Remember thinking how cool it was to see something riffed that I’d seen before.

    Also find it funny that Van Patten is so successful now. Like Shawn Levy, from Zombie Nightmare. Recently saw Levy’s name as a producer for that new Tim Allen Show. And that movie Real Steel seems to be doing well.

    Anyway, I digress…

    Some fave quotes:

    “Ok Elvis, we know you’re in there!”
    “Everybody’s got their own theme music!”
    “You guys talkin’ bout my butt?” (and I agree, Claude does have a nice rump)
    “Clarence the cross-eyed ninja”
    When Lee is on a highwire “Ladies and gentlemen, Lee Van Cleef!”
    “He’s around here somewhere, I hear his theme music”
    “Can you tell I’m sticking my tongue out at you?”

    Love the chick dancing and crying and Crow crying “Let’s get physical”

    And probably my absolute fave
    “The tranquility of post-war Japan?”


  47. April de Wetpants says:

    Oh, and another thing. Always wondered why Joel is laughing during the song at the end. Is he tickled as the guys singing or the letter from Desert Storm troopers?

    Which is probably my fave letter. That and the guy calling them out as a puppets in Minnesota. Hey, that would be a pretty good discussion, has it been done?


  48. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    This one is pretty good, not a classic episode, but solid. The “movie” itself is quite fun, lots of guest stars and ninja action. The Host Segments are only so-so, same as the Invention Exchange.

    I like the 2nd part of this “movie,” especially the scene where Lee Van Cleef (“yeah right!”) jumps onto the top of that car and breaks the windshield and somehow manages to rip the steering wheel right out of the vehicle. THAT is fairly amazing.

    Like everyone else, the standout moment has got to be the closing segment with the singing of MASTER NINJA THEME SONG! That there is just classic.

    Overall, 4 shruikens out of 5.


    Crow: “Whoa, you’re a mess. Were you at Prince’s house?”

    Crow: “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Gerbil”

    Joel: “THE TRANQUILITY OF POST-WAR JAPAN?!” – – – -yeah, I know. WTF, Van Cleef?

    Crow: “Go to bed, old man!” – – – – This is at least the 2nd time Crow has said this. What is it a reference too?

    during the wire walk scene,
    Joel: “Yeah sure, that’s Van Cleef. He can barely hoist himself up into the van.”
    Crow: “It’s Lee Van Petit.” – – -Philippe Petit is a world famous French wire walker, subject of the excellent documentary MAN ON WIRE.

    Ninja does a Fred Astaire kick-flip off the wall,
    Servo: “Make ’em laugh! Make ’em laugh!”

    movie: “I came to see your father..”
    Joel: “About a horse.”

    Joel: “Timothy Van Patton IS Hard to Kill.”

    Joel: “Hey Mister, your ninja is dragging.”

    Crow: “I’m a ninja warrirorrrr. . . ” —-callback to Grimualt warrior in Viking Women vs. the etc. . .

    Lay down some funk drums,
    get the wah-wah going,
    add in some horns,
    you got yourself,

    also, a 4/5


  49. PondosCP says:

    I’ll put my review up over the weekend; very busy now.
    But to sum up:
    Hands down.


  50. Master Ninja 1 & 2 are two of my favorite comfort episodes. All of the MST recycled TV episodes are right up there for me.
    I remember seeing The Master when it aired, and thinking how awful it was.
    The writers’ confusion about the relationships of the Van Pattens always bothered me a little, but as someone else said, it’s excusable.
    It was nice to hear a shout-out for “The Good Guys” during the Van Patten Project segment – that really was a decent show.

    This ep is 24 karat gold, and MN2 is 22 karat.


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