Young siblings Rocky (Michael Treanor), Colt (Max Elliott Slade) and Tum Tum Douglas (Chad Power) arrive for their summer stay with their Ninjutsu master grandpa (Victor Wong), who has passed down his vast knowledge of martial arts to the boys. But theyre accosted by the criminal Snyder (Rand Kingsley), a rogue ex-student of Grandpas who kidnaps the boys as part of a scheme to get to their FBI agent dad, Sam (Alan McRae). But Snyder doesnt know just how skilled his abductees are.
3 Ninjas is a 1992 American martial arts comedy film directed by Jon Turteltaub, starring Victor Wong, Michael Treanor, Max Elliott Slade, and Chad Power. It was the only 3 Ninjas film released by Touchstone Pictures, while the others were released by TriStar Pictures. The film is about three young brothers who learn martial arts from their Japanese grandfather.
Each year, three brothers Samuel, Jeffrey and Michael Douglas visits their Japanese grandfather, Mori Shintaro whom the boys affectionately refer to as Grandpa, for the summer. Mori is a highly skilled in the fields of Martial arts and Ninjutsu, and for years he has trained the boys in his techniques. After an organized crime ring proves to be too much for the FBI, it's time for the 3 brother NINJAS! To use their martial arts skills, they team up to battle the crime ring and outwit some very persistent kidnappers!
Every year, Samuel, Jeffrey and Michael Douglas visit their Japanese grandfather, Mori Tanaka at his cabin. Mori trains his grandchildren in the art of Ninjitsu of which he is a master. As the summer comes to an end, Mori gives each of them a new "ninja" name based on their personalities: Samuel, the oldest who is solid and cool under pressure is named Rocky. Free spirited and wild, he gives Jeffrey the name Colt based off the animal. The youngest Michael earns the name Tum-Tum due to his energy beginning and ending with his tummy.
Meanwhile; their father Sam Douglas, is an FBI agent who stages a sting operation to entrap Hugo Snyder in the sale of warheads. Snyder escapes the trap with the use of his own ninja henchmen and visits Mori on the second-to-last day of his grandsons visit. Testing Moris fighting skill, the boys ignore his orders to stay in the house and aid by defeating two ninjas on their own. Snyder threatens Moris family if he doesnt get Douglas off his back and Mori chides the boys briefly for interfereing in his personal affairs. When they return home, they find their father with his partner Jerry and he is unenthusiastic to see what they had learned during their visit, and more annoyed at their new names. He leaves in a hurry and their mother comforts them. Emily, a friend of Rockys compliments his new name and agrees to ride with them to school the next day. Snyder develops a plan to kidnap the boys to use them as leverage to get Douglas to back off, as FBI watches them, his assistant Brown contacts his nephew Fester and his buddies Hammer and Marcus, in the midst of a convenience store robbery to kidnap the boys and they agree. But due to Douglas and his FBI crews presence they are unable to capture them.
The next day, Fester and his friends attempt to follow the boys to school, but are side-tracked by a fender bender with a police car. Emily becomes separated from the boys and encounters a group of bullies who steal her bike. Emily becomes upset with Rocky for showing off and walks to school alone. At recess, the boys challenge the bullies to a two-on-two basketball game and they spot the bullies nine out of ten points before effortlessly humiliating and defeating them, winning back Emilys favor. That night, Colt learns that Snyder, who they assumed was a friend of Moris is actually the criminal their father is after and they begin to suspect Mori is involved in crime. They are left with a babysitter when Jessica leaves to pick up Sam and Fester and his friends break into the house, subduing the babysitter. A series of intricate household traps keep the bumbling would-be kidnappers off of them, and they use a device in Rockys bed to call Emily over and use her as a hostage. Due to an earlier trap, Hammer and Marcus runs to the bathrooms sick to their stomach that two have a food poisoning and the boys (and mainly Emily) defeat the alone Fester. After freeing the babysitter though, they are overpowered by Brown and Snyders bodyguard Rushmore, who were prompted to back up Fester and the others. Emily gives Jessica a note from Snyder claiming responsibility. Mori offers to sneak in alone to find the boys as not to raise the alarm to Snyder. The boys escape their captivity and after a series of fights through the ship, they come across Rushmore. Using a lesson they got on their last day and inspired by their grandfather who came to rescue them, they manage to subdue Rushmore and are reunited with Mori.
Snyder confronts Mori and challenges him to a fight for the boys freedom, but due to his youth and speed, Snyder almost proves too much for Mori, until he remembers a handful of Tum-Tums jelly beans when Tum-Tum had given him for luck and uses them to gag Snyder. Mori gains the upperhand and knocks Snyder to the floor, refusing defeat, Snyder grabs a gun from one of his subbordinates, and is suddenly shot and subdued by Douglas who had arrived just in time. Sam later apologizes to Mori for underestimating him and gives him a hug before being advised from a pained Mori that a bow would work just fine. Sam then tells his partner Jerry to complete the paperwork of the nights events on his own as he has a whole family of heroes to take out for pizza which Mori detests, as he hates pizza.
The international cut of the film features a number of small parts of scenes that were cut from the movie for its American release, most likely to ensure a PG rating. Amongst the cut scenes are [not all-inclusive]: Extra footage of Snyders escape in which he confronts two FBI agents who he promptly defeats, A scene in which the robbers fire a gun in the convenience store and tie up the clerk behind the counter, a scene in which the robbers get the Douglas family address from Brown, additional footage of Grandpa trailing Snyder to his ship hideout, numerous small portions of the scene where the robbers invade the Douglas household, including Colt beating the robbers after getting them under a tarp in the room being renovated and a scene of Fester, the leader of the robbers asking his uncle (Brown) if he can be paid, extra sarcastic dialogue while the boys are locked up in Snyders ship, an extended scene in which the boys are reunited with Grandpa, footage of Brown knocking himself unconscious on a pipe and subsequently complaining about his pain when being taken away by the Feds. Additionally, in the international version the boys lose the basketball challenge and their bikes, so a scene ends the international version of the film in which they fight the bullies to get them back.Michael Treanor - Samuel "Rocky" Douglas
Max Elliott Slade - Jeffrey "Colt" Douglas
Chad Power - Michael "Tum Tum" Douglas
Victor Wong - Grandpa Mori Tanaka
Alan McRae - Sam Douglas
Margarita Franco - Jessica Douglas
Rand Kingsley - Hugo Snyder
Joel Swetow - Mr. Brown
Professor Toru Tanaka - Rushmore
Patrick Labyorteaux - Fester
Clifton Powell - FBI Agent Kurl
Baha Jackson - Bully
Kate Sargeant - Emily
The film was received negatively by critics. It currently holds a 29% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 21 reviews. However, it did well at the box-office, received a cult status for its camp factor and spawned three less successful sequels 3 Ninjas Kick Back, 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up, and 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain.
The movie opened at the box office in the #4 position, and by the end of its 6-week run in theaters grossed $29,000,301 USD domestically. Considering that the film was budgeted at $2.5 million, it was a huge financial success, and turned out to be the most profitable film of the year in terms of cost-to-gross ratio.