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Sampo & Erhardt

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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: 324- Master Ninja II

Movie: (1984 TV episodes; 1991 combined movie) An occidental ninja and his mush-mouthed pal help a feisty union organizer, and then help stop a gang of international terrorists.

First shown: 1/25/92
Opening: J&tB are an improv group
Invention exchange: The Mads have invented a conveyor belt buffet, while J&tB have created a (hopefully) self-perpetuating hamster habitat
Host segment 1: The bots design their own custom vans
Host segment 2: Crow is General Timothy Van Patton
Host segment 3: Tom has a new subroutine that allows him to pair detectives with their appropriate pets
End: Joel shows off the Van Cleef dress-up doll and reads a letter; Frank makes a heartfelt plea for the return of “The Second Hundred Years”
Stinger: Lee! Take it easy with the hamster!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (115 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)

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• And so, season three comes to a close with a middling effort. This one has some stretches with solid riffing, and other stretches that are less strong. It has one of my favorite host segments and some forgettable ones. All in all, it will pass the time, but it’s nothing remarkable.
• This episode is included in Shout! Factory’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XX.”
• In the “improv group” bits, there’s a lot of jargon only professional comedians who have done improv would know (“going to your where,” “you negated me”, “yes, and”). I think a lot of ordinary folks would hear that stuff and go “huh?”
• I’m guessing the hamster-loving hero of the movie led to the idea for Joel’s invention, while the conveyor belt in the canning factory sparked the Mads’ invention.
• I like the way Cambot goes right through the terrarium at movie sign.
• The two episodes in this movie were “State Of The Union” (which originally aired Feb. 3, 1984) and “Hostages” (which aired Feb. 10, 1984).
References.
• Again, Joel makes a special mention of Michael Sloan.
• As they’re digging the grave in the movie, Crow goes completely off the rails with his Cryptkeeper impression. Joel and Tom are ready to kill him.
• Who made those van illustrations?
• “MENDOZAAA!!” is a nice little nod to “The Simpsons.”
• It’s pretty clear the Brains cut the movie for time, and the cuts were so noticeable they felt the need to have the bots mention the edits.
• Callbacks: Several “Hikeebas” and “Charles Moffet: feared not” (Ring of Terror); “Ator! No!” (Cave Dwellers) “Ya got me!” (Catalina Caper), “McCloud” (Pod People).
• Segment 3, where Tom pairs detectives with appropriate pets, is a classic, the kind of sketch that made MST3K so beloved: Clever, well-written and off the wall.
• Tom does a great little song at the end.
• At one point, BBI was talking about doing “Master Ninja 3.” Cooler heads prevailed, I guess.
• Tom yells “FOUCAULT!!!” at the end of the episode–hope the censors didn’t have a fit.
• Cast roundup: Robert Hoy also appears in “Revenge of the Creature” and “The Mole People.”
• CreditsWatch: After almost a whole season of “Host segments directed by Jim Mallon,” for this last episode of the season, Mike directed. Additional contributing writer: Mike Gandolfi; additional special thanks: St. Paul Harley Davidson (not sure why). Trace and Frank are “villians” for the last time. Dr. F’s last name is still spelled “Forrestor.”
• Fave riff: “The wizard’s not in!!” Honorable mention: “It’s great we can joke about now that his hips are crushed.”

97 Replies to “Episode guide: 324- Master Ninja II”

  1. Dan in WI says:

    I love improv troupes. Of course in nearby Milwaukee we have one of the good ones in Comedy Sportz. Still they have their flaws and this opening points them out.

    I love the Mads’ invention exchange. Think of all that time you waste at buffet restaurants going back and forth to the actual buffet. Then again one of my favorite restaurants of all time was Shakey’s. Oh how I wish they would return to the Midwest. In the meantime the SOL crew puts forth a Rube Goldberg type of invention. Now that I think about it I’m surprised we didn’t see that type of invention more often.

    During Master Ninja I I’d compared Max Keller to Ritchie Ryan. I’d completely forgotten about this second episode where Max races off road motorcycles making the comparison stronger.

    It is a real treat seeing character actor Mickey Jones in the first episode, err I mean half, of the movie. This guy has been everywhere and is always fun. I’ve loved him in National Lampoon’s Vacation, Total Recall, and V but my favorite has to be his recurring role as Pete Bilker of K & B Construction in Home Improvement. (Sampo: Is this guy listed in “This Day in MSTory?” I can’t say I recall seeing him. If not please add him. Wikipedia and IMDB both agree his birthday is 6/10/41.)

    Some had a valid argument about the riffing for Master Ninja II being a bit too much more of the same from Master Ninja I. The trick is to not watch them back-to-back. Seeing them a couple weeks apart like this keeps it fun.

    Well that’s it. We’ve completed a complete lap of these in depth episode discussions. I’m really curious to see how things go on the next lap.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Employees raise their hands at the union meeting. Tom “We feel confident and secure.”

    Crow “Ah what a cliché. A Japanese guy in a GM car.”

    Monte Markham character “We don’t bargain with terrorists. Munich ’72 taught us that.” Tom “I missed that. I was at the Olympics.”

       0 likes

  2. swh1939 says:

    I guess I’m one of the unenlightened. Would someone please explain (or direct me to a site that explains) what FOUCAULT is? A quick Google search didn’t satisfy. Thanks.

       1 likes

  3. robot rump! says:

    ah Crystal Bernard…her southern twang and general mid 80’s retro country trailer girl look could allow her to blend in any where and take on any role. i still to this day don’t understand the following:
    why DID

       3 likes

  4. robot rump! says:

    OOPS! user error…
    why DID no one eat the colonel’s chicken.
    when shooting at Timothy they only grazed his hand!?!
    and the whole knockout gas having no effect on him blows my little master ninja mind.

       1 likes

  5. GregS says:

    Another sentimental favorite of mine, simply because I had this and Castle of Fu-Manchu on the same tape.

       0 likes

  6. Fodder says:

    Under cash watch you may want to add that this isn’t Lee Van Cleef’s only run on MST3k. He was also the subject of “Man is a thinking feeling creature” from “Beginning of the End”

       1 likes

  7. Fodder says:

    Yikes… CAST watch.. not cast… my kingdom for an edit button or at least a brain that would catch that kind of thing. You know what I need an Atomic Brain

       0 likes

  8. Fred Burroughs says:

    “Some feelings shouldn’t be suppressed” …”plus, I took a Shiruken wheel to the little whipper years ago.” . . .I think that line would have worked throughout this MN series. Did I mention that I have a throwing star lodged in my spine?

    Some great moments in this one. And the actor playing the shop steward at the cannery I recognized as Captain Graybar, from Cabin Boy, the Chris Elliott movie. He’s good; and I thought for sure he would be spared at the end. They seem to spend a lot of time establishing that he’s not crazy, and even remorseful for all the killings (sorry.) But at the end, he gets it like all the others. Maybe that was edited.

    Always remember to have your Ninja spade!

       1 likes

  9. Colossus Prime says:

    For some reason I really, really like the General Van Patten bit.

       6 likes

  10. Stressfactor says:

    Actually, a couple of things re: the invention exchange….

    There used to be a buffet restaurant chain called… Duff’s if I remember correctly. They had a round buffet table that would revolve slowly so you would stand there and take what you wanted as it passed by.

    Also, the hamster habitat was, I’m pretty sure, a pot-shot at the Biosphere 2 experiment. I recall the experiment getting into quite a bit of trouble within it’s first year with not enough oxygen being produced among other problems.

       1 likes

  11. Spalanzani says:

    I actually tend to enjoy this one more than the original Master Ninja, but that’s probably because I saw this one first. They do use a lot of the same jokes here, but having not seen the first one at the time I didn’t notice. And even now that I have seen both of them a few times, I still somehow can’t shake the sense that the first one is the retread. Makes no sense of course, but that just goes to show how strongly your viewing history can affect how you feel about the show.

       2 likes

  12. dsman71 says:

    Just another filler episode that finished the season..Its a decent episode, more of the same with HI IM Max Keller – 2 episodes of the Master rolled up into one *movie*
    Joel’s Hair grew out – it was really amazing that starting with Season 4 it was getting thinner – it was like something happened between Master Ninja and Marooned where suddenly you can see breakage in his hair..
    On that note
    Joels Hair
    Joels Knees ( this will apply in Season 4)
    No more Van Pattens please
    The end of season Three-Apy :)

       1 likes

  13. pondoscp says:

    “Master Ninja 2,” my second all-time favorite MST3K episode, right next to “Master Ninja 1.” Sometimes, this one is funnier to me than the first one.
    Highlights/Favorite Parts:
    -the improv intro is great
    -what kind of hedgehog would be fried in hot oil?
    -In the last episode, Frank says he’s a vegetarian. In the “Lucy sketch,” he’s ready to eat steak and ham. lol
    -I just injected him with blowfish poison.
    -Don’t move me!!!
    -19 minutes in, Crow does the “Dad” line a few here loved from SCCTM.
    -He sounds like a Resusa-Annie
    -Go all the way next time!
    -Patton sketch is brilliant
    -I’m the guy with the snake on my face
    -Charles Moffitt feared not (Ring Of Terror)
    -VJ Day! ’nuff said (that was dirty)
    -The man in the crowd with the multicolored mirrors on his hobnail boots!
    -I was just going to the buffet! (callback to the “Lucy sketch.”)
    -I’d put him in the top 3. “What are you guys talking about?!”
    -“…And a bucket of chicken” this is a call forward!
    -Love Tom’s pet/detective sketch. A mandrill does make more sense, when you think about it. :)
    -(muffled) Hey, keep it down in there! People trying to sleep!
    -I don’t think Lee can take much more of this. I don’t think that’s Lee!
    -Get a bucket of chicken (the call forward)
    -Shake & Bake, and I helped!
    -Where does he get this stuff from? (yeah, and they’re $4.50 each!)
    -Ator, no!
    -Spock!
    -What goes up…
    -We’re gonna swing by Vegas (and they do)
    -Tom’s “new” Master Ninja theme song (He’s a ninja!)
    -So what’s the blue footage in the intro from? Anything?
    -3 Joe Namath netted slingshot brief mentions in the “Master Ninja” episodes, for those keeping track. There will be a test. Only 1 Woozle named Peanut reference by comparison.

    So, Sho Kosugi. Joe Bob Briggs used to say JCVD kinda took Sho’s career after the flick “Black Eagle” came out. Sho’s had an interesting filmography; he was in Bad News Bears in Japan and Godfather Part 2!

    Now it’s time for SPOILER ALERT!!!!

    I recently viewed all 13 episodes of “The Master.” If you don’t want to know what happens, don’t read on! Besides, what would you talk about at the water cooler if you already had it all spoiled for you?

    “The Master” has an actual theme song, as well as end credits that are not part of either MST3K episode. Also, no freeze frame credits in episodes 1-4. And usually, episodes would begin with clips from “Tonight on “The Master”.”

    “Max” has a deleted scene from the MST3K version where Lee saves Demi from the fire in the hangar. Max hears and turns the van around. How Max heard, I’ll never know. Lee and Demi escape by driving a plane through the hangar doors. And no more explanation on what happened to Clu Gulager, whether he died or what.

    “Out-Of-Time Step” starts with a deleted scene from the MST3K version of Lee training Max in walking a tightrope. That’s the only difference in this episode.

    “State Of The Union” doesn’t have anything cut out in the MST3K version.

    “Hostages” has a deleted opening (Hi, I’m Max Kellar”), which shows Max training to fly. Then he tries to stop the runaway car.

    Now for the unknown! And so begins my 9 and a half hour journey into the television landscape known as “The Master”

    “Master Ninja 3” consists of episode 6, “Fat Tuesday” and episode 7, “Juggernaut”
    -“Fat Tuesday” starts with “My name is Osaka,” a little bit of a switch to the regular “Hi, I’m Max Kellar.” More hilarious slo-mo fighting scenes. The plot is something silly involving Mardi Gras and gunrunners. The actress who played Steve Martin’s mom in “The Jerk” has a prominent supporting role. And the recurring gimmick of middle aged women picking up on The Master begins here. Max and lee are starting to become more of a two man “A-Team.” Outdated computer tech in this episode is also hilarious.
    -“Juggernaut” is reminiscent of “State Of The Union.” This time, Max and Lee save a mother and daughter’s farm. The mother becomes Lee’s love interest (!) and the daughter leaves with Max and Lee, a third wheel! And Max leaves a bar through the front window again. Too bad MST3K didn’t do this one, it was ripe.

    “Master Ninja 4” consists of episode 5, “High Rollers” and episode 8, “The Good, the Bad and the Priceless”
    -“High Rollers” We’re in Vegas, as promised! With more bad dancing in this episode! Yay! ;) This one’s kind of an “Ocean’s 11” rip-off (E O 11!). We learn about Max’s family. And the show keeps getting goofier, if you can believe it. It’s funny without riffs. Ends with an Old West homage to Van Cleef.
    -“The Good, the Bad and the Priceless” episode 8, for some unknown reason in “Master Ninja 4.” The numbering system for the movies is rather confused. More searching for Terry McAllister, Lee’s daughter. This time, they foil a heist on the Crown Jewels. Another bad guy and cronies to take down, etc… Janine Turner is in this one, as another impersonator of Lee’s daughter (the other impersonator being in episode 6). The baddies force the Master and Max to steal the jewels in exchange for his “daughter.” You can guess how it plays out. This series reminds me of “Starman,” looking for the mom and never finding her because that would mean the end of the series. Another Western homage as an ad exec tries to get the Master to be in an ad campaign for deodorant! I could see an entire MST3K sketch devoted to this!

    “Master Ninja 5” consists of episode 9, “Kunoichi” and episode 10, “The Java Tiger”
    -“Kunoichi” I’ve heard the real Master Ninja theme song so much now that I hear a little “Charlie Brown” in it! The side kick third wheel is gone, but Henry’s back. Osaka tries to set up Lee against an old war buddy in this “Manchurian Candidate”-inspired episode. Osaka now has his own apprentice, who wears a white ninja suit, but I’m guessing she’s doing hard time.
    -“The Java Tiger” Same plot, recycled. Bad guy wants “the Java Tiger,” whatever that is. And he gets foiled. A filler episode of a filler series. This episode is as cheesy as “Lost Continent.”

    “Master Ninja 6” consists of episode 13, “A Place To Call Home” and episode 11, “Failure To Communicate”
    -“A Place To Call Home” Episode 13, the last episode. No, no, no, don’t pass out on me now! Another greedy 1980’s land developer tries to move a home for troubled kids. Then Max and Lee show up. Max is starting to improve as a Ninja (lmao). We end with the Master giving a little kid Ninja lessions. We never find Terry McAllister. Only in fanfic. I wonder where Max’s van is now?
    -“Failure To Communicate” Wait, I thought we were done? No, once again, I have no idea why they mixed up the running order, but up next is episode 11. Oh man, Edd Byrnes is in this episode! I wish I had known that when I met him a few years ago. I could’ve asked what was it like working with Van Cleef and Van Patten? In this episode, we meet Max’s drunk father, who gets thrown out a bar window!

    “Master Ninja 7” consists of episode 1, “Max” and episode 12, “Rogues”
    -starts with episode 1. Since there’s only odd numbers of episodes. Followed by –
    -“Rogues” this is one of two episodes burned off in late August 1984 before the new season started up. This one, about crooked cops, is quite dull.

    And there you have it. Sorry about the length of the post, I just had to get that off my chest. But I doubt I’ll revisit the extra “The Master” episodes any time soon. Some were funny, and riff worthy, others painfully dull. Overall, they are very funny, and oddly hypnotic. Seek them out, if you dare. Or you just want a good laugh. Thanks for your indulgence.

       29 likes

  14. tinaw says:

    I just watched this last weekend. I loved that J&TB made reference to George Lazenby and his stint as James Bond. Of course, the show hit you over the head with the connection, what with having George drive the Aston Martin from Goldfinger, and keeping him in a tuxedo the whole time. My favorite skit was Crow as General Timothy Van Patten. I’ve been watching this show throughout my adult life. As I get older, I get more of the jokes. The Patton joke made me laugh out loud. It made me love the show even more.

    I can’t wait to start on 4th season, which is when I discovered the show.

       0 likes

  15. ServoTron3000 says:

    My favorite riff was when “Lee” hud just scaled the compound wall and the Bond knock-off was abourt to start his climb.

    Joel: “I guess if old fatty can make it up there.”

       0 likes

  16. bad wolf says:

    Thanks pondoscp for the breakdown! I really appreciate having these episodes on DVD now, i remembered them fondly from their first appearance. I am surprised by the episode list and original airdates pondoscp and Sampo provide; i always thought that the second half of this ‘movie’ must be a much later episode in the series. They ignore the “looking for his daughter” plot, and go directly into international intrigue/terrorists/ersatz James Bond? I guess just how they paced things in the late 70s/early 80s.

       1 likes

  17. CaptainSpam says:

    I’ve always liked the General Timothy Van Patton bit. It’s the sort of segment that goes EXACTLY as long as it needs to in order to get the (admittedly one) gag out, and then it ends. It’s short and actually truncated, but it’s perfectly timed such that as soon as the first laughs start, Movie Sign hits and it ends on a high note.

       3 likes

  18. Stressfactor says:

    Also, at least by picking on poor Lazenby with the James Bond jokes it diverted attention from David “Illya Kuriyakin” McCallum and we were spared the “Man from UNCLE” jokes.

    What a season — a bad Roger Corman flick with Robert Vaughn and a bad TV plaster job with David McCallum. If they’d found something with Leo G. Carroll they would have had a trifecta.

       3 likes

  19. Insect Man #47 says:

    This proves again what a diverse group us Misties are. Sampo didn’t much care for this episode, and I count it among my favorites. I absolutely love Crow’s custom Van, and I found the riffing to be superb. The whole cannery episode is hilariously stupid. To each his on, right?

       5 likes

  20. Max Keller says:

    CaptainSpam says:

    “I’ve always liked the General Timothy Van Patton bit…..it’s perfectly timed such that as soon as the first laughs start, Movie Sign hits and it ends on a high note.”

    I always thought that the bit was a perfect piece of comedy just for that reason. It ends just at it’s peak. :)

       2 likes

  21. Thomas K. Dye says:

    #13: pondoscp: Thanks for the rundown, I was definitely curious, though probably not curious enough to seek these myself.

    Master Ninja II was a comedown from #1; probably because they’d made many of these jokes before. Also, for some reason at times they still seemed to want to pretend it was a stand-alone “movie” whose characters they weren’t familiar with.(Tom’s “I love buddy films”) while at other times they couldn’t help noticing the continuity errors (like where Max got the motorcycle — no, really, where did he get it?)

    “State of the Union” was so cartoony it was ridiculous, and probably should have worked better, but the direction is so flat and lifeless, and Lee putting no more energy into his performance than before. “Hostages” was kind of tediously unpleasant, except for the spectacle of seeing the future Cindy Brady playing an annoying rich girl. Neither one had the same goofiness of the first two episodes, and what there was, just seemed to lie there. I can’t explain it; I don’t laugh a lot with this episode unless I’m in a bad TV-movie sort of mood.

    Richard Basehart ventriloquist dummies stacked liked cordwood? Gypsy’s a little bit creepy here…

       0 likes

  22. Ralph C. says:

    I think this is one of the best episodes ever– it’s one of my very favorites. The whole episode was great, to me. I have been able to, on numerous occasions, watch Master Ninja I & II back-to-back, finding it to be a hysterical laugh-riot. I would’ve been very happy with Master Ninja III, if they did it.

    Mickey Jones, I believe, was also the drummer for the Hawks, who were part of Ronnie Hawkins’ band. The Hawks were selected to tour with Bob Dylan on his infamous 1966 tour, which was the tour that he played his electrified sets, upsetting many Dylan fans at that time. The Hawks later became The Band, though I don’t remember how long Jones was around for The Band, if at all.

       3 likes

  23. Lisa says:

    Love this episode, more so than MN I, especially the union part.

    Favorite moments…

    Max, I lost the gerbil.
    Darn, I just injected him with blowdart poison.
    I can’t, I lost my hand in a fish chopper.
    Sob, sob, remorse, remorse.
    He’s speaking in tongues.
    The whole scene where Max and McCallister are riding the motorcycle.

    Patton sketch — much better than the Van Patten Project. I could never get into that one since Timothy is actually not one of DVP’s hellish drop.

       5 likes

  24. Fred Burroughs says:

    10: The Hamster habitat is a dig on how the Biosphere experiment was *sort of* self-sufficient, which is to say, not self-sufficient at all. but a great idea. The Brains would revisit this territory when Mike &TB meet the Observers and learn about they have evolved beyond a need for bodies, or food, save the non-food pills. Except that they have bodies, and eat the pills as food.

    I love the hostage-taking assault on the party: bullets spraying everywhere, yet Van Patten gets nicked in the hand. This was pretty normal in 80s TV: it was OK to show lots of gunplay, but not blood or death. The bad guys were knocked out and stumbled away cursing under their breath because they knew they’d been beaten. The A-team is a good example; they were armed to the teeth and were constantly under assault by third-world commando squads in jeeps with mounted .30 caliber machine guns, yet no one ever got shot. This changed with Miami Vice, where each week one person would die in a bloody climax.

    “You got a light?” “Yeah, my butt and your face…” exchange at the bar; that was a bit of a rip-off from GW Baileys line in the movie Rustler’s Rhapsody. Bailey not only gets the ‘light’ part wrong, he says “your butt and my face,” moments later to realize how badly he’s mangled it and goes off to seek the asker to re-explain it to him and make it right. Good times.

       0 likes

  25. big61al says:

    It is just me or is Demi Moore a bit of a cold fish here? I am sure she regrets appearing in this episode/movie. I guesse any paycheck is better than no paycheck.

       0 likes

  26. Dr. Ted "Hotcha!" Nelson says:

    This episode had Jennifer Runyon. So that all by itself makes it A-list material. But I like it even without her.

    “No Babbister eber wub a war by dibbing for his dubbadee…”

       1 likes

  27. diskojoe says:

    #22, Mickey Jones was the replacement drummer for Levon Helm, the Hawk’s (& later the Band’s) regular drummer, who dropped out of the ’66 Dylan tour due to the negative audidence reaction.

       1 likes

  28. JCC says:

    I love the Master Ninja ep’s. They’re in my top 5 Comfort Episodes and I consider it a small tragedy that they never did the 3rd one. Here it helps that I had a big crush on Crystal Bernard as a lad, and a smaller one on Jennifer Runyon so it was cool seeing them getting riffed on in the same movie compilation.

    They really lay into David McCallum for some reason, and it’s usually Trace delivering the lines, which I thought was somewhat not really interesting.

    “Smug Brothers!” “Couple of dorks…” “YEAH GO MAN TIM ORDER! RAVE ON!” “Nice flat! I mean her apartment…” (Harsh but funny)

       1 likes

  29. As I said in the MN1 entry, I love this episode almost as much as the first one.

    Sampo thinks that viewers won’t get the improv references – I think comedy nerds will definitely get them. I got them when the show aired, and I’m not a comedian (but I play one on TV.)
    This comes back to the “right people will get it” idea. They weren’t afraid in those days to have obscure jokes, unlike the last few seasons.

       2 likes

  30. schippers says:

    #2 – Ah, let an old ex-grad student enlighten you. Michel Foucault is one of the most-cited philosophers/thinkers of the 20th century. French guy, wrote a lot about power, discourse, sexuality. It’s hard to throw a pebble in a University library’s journal archive without hitting something he wrote.

    Sadly, I can’t…quite…remember why Tom yells out his name. Oh yes, now I remember, cuz the letter writer for that ep was a grad student, and she was talking about having read stuff by Jaques Derrida (Joel jokingly has trouble pronouncing the name, and then Tom expostulates).

       1 likes

  31. Joseph Nebus says:

    I’ve seen the conveyor-belt concept at some sushi places too, and it’s … uh … well, probably a good way to eat a lot of sushi without realizing it, probably. I didn’t quite get into it myself, but, different folks and whatnot, right?

       0 likes

  32. Sharktopus says:

    At one point, BBI was talking about doing “Master Ninja 3.” Cooler heads prevailed, I guess.

    So I take it there’s some truth to the rumor that the Brains were considering Master Ninja 3 for experiment #624, but did Samson Vs The Vampire Women since it was Frank’s final episode and he’d always wanted to do a Mexican wrestler flick? (I can’t recall where I first hear that.)

    I was only 3 when The Master originally aired, but as lame ’80s TV series go, I could see myself watching it. Sure, Timothy Van Patten is mush-mouthed, but I find him likable enough, and really, what’s not to love about paunchy Lee Van Cleef as a ninja? Where’s the justice in this show only running for a dozen episodes, but Knight Rider lasts for four years? Ah, forget it, Jake. It’s Eightiestown.

       2 likes

  33. pablum says:

    Not quite as good as Master Ninja 1 since they’re covering similar material, but still a top episode for me and a great season ender. The same thing happens for me with the two Fugitive Alien episodes.

    To MSTies who hated the last episode this has to be a step up for them.

    I have a friend who is in an improv group and showed him this episode. He laughed at just how close they were with all the improv comic jargon.

       2 likes

  34. wotunw5o says:

    >32
    I think ACEG mentions the bit of Frank wanting Samson vs Vampire Women. The legend (as far as I remember) was that he wanted to Santo stuff but the Brains were put off of Mexican wrestling movies because Robot vs Aztec Mummy was sooooooooooo dull. Which is a shame because the early Santo stuff is really great.

       1 likes

  35. Revlillo says:

    #27 That would make Mickey Jones one of the most awsome guys in the universe. Quick, get a copy of Bob Dylan Bootleg Vol. 4: The “Royal Albert Hall” concert and listen to the live version of “Like a Rolling Stone.” (You might want to back up the audio a little bit because the “Liar” — “I don’t believe you. You’re a liar. Play f***ing loud!” exchange is on the tail end of the previous song. Just listen to the way Mickey’s drumming breaks out like a gunshot and propels the band into (perhaps) the very best ever recorded version of that song. Mickey Jones is a rock god!!!!! :inlove:

       0 likes

  36. Revlillo says:

    I’m sorry! The famous exchange is (anonymous audience member): “Judas!” (Incredibly p***ed off Bob Dylan): (To the audience member) “I don’t believe you. You’re a liar. (To the Band) Play f***ing loud!” :smile:

       0 likes

  37. April de Wetpants says:

    Thanks to #13 for telling us the rest of the story. I want to see it even more now.

    This is my fave of the two MN. Maybe even in my top ten of fave episodes ever. For the following reasons:

    The host segments, all strong. Sometimes one or two can be week. Especially love Gypsy’s van “Richard Basehart dummies stacked like cordwood”. In my case it would be Joel Hodgson dummies.

    Love Crow as General Timothy Van Patten

    some fave quotes:

    “And here comes Linda Ronstadt behind them on roller skates!”

    Love all the Cryptkeeper jokes, especially “have you learned the plot yet? enjoy!”
    “This guy’s got a knife in his digerdidoo (or however you spell it)”
    “Ator? No!”
    “Dave, Shaggy wants his beard back”

    And love the references to Ricky Nelson’s “Garden Party”. That one really hit the bullseye for me. Growing up in house with a mother who played his albums constantly.

    and probably my fave:

    “Michael, this is KITT, I have to be on the set of St Elsewhere by 4”

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  38. Max Keller says:

    “No Babbister eber wub a war by dibbing for his dubbadee…”

    From now on, when I want to insult someone, I’m calling them “Babbister.”

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  39. Stressfactor says:

    At #28 — actually, I didn’t think they gave McCallum the razzing they COULD have.

    More than likely it’s because McCallum is actually not a bad actor…. he just took a lousey role for the money.

    Also, where MN is concerned he’s also not bad here (what little he’s in it) he’s just very obviously phoning it in. Not many riffs you can take away from that.

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  40. Alex says:

    I found the first one a bit funnier, but this one is good too. The host segments….. ehh, they’re ok. Not the best, but still pretty decent. Riffing’s good too. Real shame they never did the other Master Ninja’s. :/

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  41. Sampo says:

    Sharktopus: I have never heard the “Frank’s depature” story before somebody mentioned it in the comments for MN1 (maybe you?). I don’t think it was season six. So, no, I don’t think there is truth to that particular rumor, but I could be wrong.

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  42. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Yes, George Lazenby did appear in this rather lousy TV show episode (sorry, “movie”) and his film career didn’t take off. But, he can still look at himself in the mirror and say, “Well, at least I didn’t do ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’.” (All kidding aside, I understand that Lazenby was very successful in business, so he also has that.)

    It’s interesting how the years change your perspective. Had they done this episode now, we probably would’ve had a lot of “NCIS” jokes when David McCallum was onscreen, and somebody would probably have noted Timothy Van Patten’s welcome, and much-acclaimed, switch to a behind-the-camera career.

    As for the “movie” itself, you could pretty much plug the plot into most action/adventure series of that period without much trouble. Made for a fun episode, though.

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  43. TarlCabot says:

    I would KILL to see them do Master Ninja III!

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  44. jjb3k says:

    I wonder who the Simpsons fan was among the Brains. In addition to “MENDOZAAA!” (from the episode “Saturdays of Thunder”), they also started using a couple of other episode-specific quotes around this time. Someone must have loved the episode “Flaming Moe’s” in particular – I’ve heard “It’s like there’s a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited!”, “It’s not without its charm”, and “Yeah, you can use it!” in numerous episodes.

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  45. Spector says:

    Gotta agree with Sampo, not a strong finish by the Brains with this one. They certainly did a better job with Master Ninja 1. Still, considering they picked up the pace substantially in this season, in both body and quality of work, I’m willing to give them a pass, as they were probably running on fumes by this point. Not a great episode, but not too bad either. Three out of five.

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  46. Creeping Terror says:

    I find this ep and “Master Ninja I” to be about equally good. Thoughts:

    -I don’t find Max/Tim Van Patten as hard to understand as the Brains do. Sure, there’s a mumbled line here and there, but not as many as they imply.

    -@21: Where did he get the motorcycle isn’t the question. The question is: why would a person who lives out of his van even bother owning a motorcycle? Why not just use the motorcycle and sell the gas guzzler?

    -The exposition in the union episode is so incredibly telegraphic and pedantic. They take LOTS of time establishing that Lee can slow down his heart and play dead. The writers are practically screaming, “Remember this scene! We’ll use this information later! There will be a test!”

    -The improv sketch reminds me of the few months I worked as a pianist at an improv club when I was in college. After successfully playing a few trial shows, the owner agreed to hire me. I played for two weeks before taking a temporary gig music directing two stage musicals in another state with the promise that I could return to the improv club gig. When I came back, they not only didn’t rehire me, they also didn’t pay me for the shows I had played. It’s true that there’s no business like show business, and that’s a good thing. Anyway, as other MSTies have pointed out, the jargon is dead on.

    -#30 beat me to the explanation of who Foucault was. I read a little bit in my undergraduate and graduate days. He’s a critical theorist who rarely had anything useful or profound to say. Foucault, Derrida, and Said combined had less cultural insight than a single episode of MST3K did.

    -The union episode IS pretty goofy. I never understood why Max cared enough to stick around and help the chick from the motorcycle race. The Brains are right, though, that it feels like a Clifford Odetts play (especially the church scene).

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  47. Warren says:

    This isn’t as good as Master Ninja 1 but it’s still a watchable, solid episode. Having seen (and I own) the movie Patton, I can appreciate Crow as General Van Patten. I think that one male terrorist looks like a young skinny Phil Collins with more hair. Maybe that’s a stretch but that was my immediate impression.
    #6″this isn’t Lee Van Cleef’s only run on MST3k. He was also the subject of “Man is a thinking feeling creature” from “Beginning of the End””
    I think you meant to say It Conquered the World, Van Cleef wasn’t in Beginning of the End (Peter Graves was in both of those, maybe the source of the confusion).

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  48. 24HourWideAwakeNightmare says:

    I see how Mickey Jones always adds “All of it, boy” to his signature. Had no idea that was him. Huh.

    Love these eps. This one added the phrase “Screaming Crotch Rocket” to my vocabulary.

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  49. Dan in WI says:

    Creeping Terror says: (#46)
    November 4, 2011 at 1:43 am
    -@21: Where did he get the motorcycle isn’t the question. The question is: why would a person who lives out of his van even bother owning a motorcycle? Why not just use the motorcycle and sell the gas guzzler?

    Duh. Have you ever tried living out of a motorcycle?

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  50. Matthew Shine says:

    I love this episode just for the improv sketch at the beginning.
    “Ok, we need somewhere for Crow and Tom to be. Do you have any suggestions, Gypsy?”
    “…CREAM OF WHEAT!”
    “All right, now what are they doing at Cream Of Wheat?”
    “…PETER GABRIEL!”
    “Now give us a name of a celebrity that they are going meet.”
    “…ANGER!”
    “Ok, you’re at Cream of Wheat, you’re going to do Peter Gabriel when Anger shows up and…go!”

    Also I loved the second half of the movie better than the first if only for all of the Bond jokes they make. “I used to be Bond, James Bond. Now I’m in movies, BAD MOVIES!”

       3 likes

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