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The term Ninja will usually illicit a couple of different kinds of responses. Scholars of Japanese history, or those who study the Martial Arts will usually smile knowingly and politely state that there are no such things as Ninjas anymore. Some will tell you that when there were Ninjas in Japan they were nothing more than hired assassins used by the Emperor or The Shogun to kill their enemies in secret. Others more knowledgeable and open-minded will tell of close knit clans of Ninja or Shinobi that lived in secret locations and trained from birth in the secret arts of combat and espionage. Learning skills in open hand combat, edged and missile weapons, stealth and climbing maneuvers, and chemicals and poisons. These clans each had their own forms and confidential ways to use these items and skills. They were used by the nobility for special missions and assassinations, but also warred amongst themselves. They eventually were outlawed, arrested, and killed off by the governing bodies in Japan out of fear mostly. Later their skills were bastardized and combined into a mongrel martial art form known as Ninjutsu or Ninjitsu.

Whether any of this is completely factual or not is irrelevant for our present needs. What is important is that the other group, the martial arts movie fans, when they hear the word Ninja, just think “freakin cool” The following is a list of the coolest of the cool Ninja or Shinobi movies, taken from both American, Japanese, and Hong Kong filmmakers. Check them out.

#6 – The Octagon ( 1980)

Director: Eric Karson
Stars: Chuck Norris, Karen Carlson, Lee Van Cleef

Chuck Norris plays a martial artist who ends up having to stop a plan by a evil master to create an international Ninja training camp for terrorists. This is one of Norris’ post Bruce Lee, but pre-Missing In Action films, along with A Force of One, and Good Guys Wear Black with all the pre-requisite fights and mediocre acting—topped-off with an echoing whisper voice over by Norris. The plot is kind of abstract and tough to get, and the Ninja details are Americanized, but need to be in order to make sense with the story. The fighting, tough is classic Chuck Norris, well executed and graceful.

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