Plot: What’s it about?
As always, Rocky (Michael Treanor), Colt (Max Elliot Slade), and Tum Tum (Chad Power) are involved in an adventure, but this could be their toughest challenge to date. The ninjas are friends with a young Native American girl named Jo (Crystle Lightning), who informs them of all sorts of problems her people face, due to an industrial plant. It seems that Harding Waste has plants in that area, plants that dump all manner of pollutants into Jo’s town’s resources. Of course, the ninjas want to help Jo and the others in her town, but the owner of the town is a powerful man, so powerful that he can even control the local police and officials. The people need proof of the illegal actions taken by Harding Waste, but that won’t be an easy task. Using their skills as ninjas, the trio decide to give it all they have and not only get the evidence needed, but also help Jo track down her father. The three ninjas might have faced harsh odds before, but they will need all their power to win this time, perhaps even some new tricks will be needed.
Another installment in the 3 Ninjas series, 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up offers more of the same, but I doubt it will new fans to the series. This movie was made just after the original and features the original trio of ninjas, but for some reason, 3 Ninjas Kick Back was released first and this one was shelved for about three years. I’d say this is about as good as Kick Back and that means it has some bright spots, but it won’t be for everyone. Victor Wong (Tremors, Mystery Date) is back as Grandpa and provides a strong central role, while the trio of ninjas are as energetic as ever, which is good news. I was also pleased to see Donal Logue (Blade, The Tao of Steve) here, even if a small, unmemorable part. This is pretty much the same movie has the others in this series, with a brisk pace, lots of action, and tons of cornball humor. This means you either like it or hate, without too much room in between. I recommend this release to fans of the series, but since Columbia/Tristar issued a very basic disc, I think a rental will be enough for most folks.
Video: How does it look?
3 Ninjas Knuckle Up is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition included on the disc’s flip side. This is a clean, sharp looking presentation and while some flaws do emerge, I don’t think anyone will be let down. The colors seem vivid and never bleed or smear, while flesh tones are normal, no problems there either. I saw no evidence of murkiness with the contrast, which means detail is high and black levels dead on. I did see more print defects than expected, but this is still a terrific looking visual treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
A basic, but effective 2.0 surround option is present, which seems to cover all the bases and then some. You won’t be blown away by the mix here, but it offers some nice depth and more than does the material justice. The surrounds are used for the music and a few action driven scenes, but most of the audio resides in the front channels, as intended. I heard no problems with this track though, as dialogue is excellent and no real issues arise. This disc also includes language options in Spanish, French, and Portuguese, as well as subtitles in English, Thai, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Chinese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains some bonus trailers, but no extras for this film have been included.