I originally thought this was one of those made-for-TV kids movies; the kind of which used to be shown on BBC1 on Friday afternoons when I was a child. However, it seems I was wrong as its actually the second of four films in the franchise. As the title implies the film centres around three ‘ninja’ kids who follow their grandfather to Japan when they hear that he is in trouble and they use their skills to help defend him from his ancient enemy who want to exact revenge for a past incident where the grandfather possesses a dagger from a championship game which they feel is rightfully theirs or something like that.
Quite rare for an international production that it wasn’t filmed in Tokyo (or Osaka) although it did try to make out it was at the start of the Japan journey but in reality Nagoya filled in for the capital. Kanazawa, Koga and Hikone were other Japanese locations with the latter providing the most beautiful and spectacular backdrop for some of the films scenes.
One of the ninja kids is defeated by someone wearing a white robe who is revealed to be a girl called Miyo. This token girl appears to speak almost perfect English but in true stereotypical fashion she has trouble pronouncing certain words (“swing my bat/butt”) all in the name of cheap humour. She also provides some kick-ass love interest which is just what a film geared towards children needs!
Before all that the three ninja’s make quite an entrance at the airport as they catch a robber Crocodile Dundee style albeit with a baseball rather than a tin-can or boomerang. Inevitably there are other hilarious (?) gags involving trousers being pulled down, bowing and headbutting each other, fighting with chopsticks (whilst wearing yukata of course), baseball catch practice with eggs, bags being mixed up in true film fashion and the paper thin walls being broken.
The movie is of course aimed at children and it does a good job where thats concerned. I’m two decades older than the target audience and I still enjoyed most of the film which engages in childish slapstick humour and fart jokes (which is of course all beneath my humour level!) played out with some Home Alone-style villains.