American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1991)

R | 99 mins | Adventure | 8 March 1991

Director:

Cedric Sundstrom

Writer:

David Geeves

Producer:

Christopher Pearce

Cinematographer:

Joseph Wein

Editor:

Claude Yrtuc

Production Designer:

Ruth Strimling

Production Company:

Northern Film Traders
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HISTORY

The film is the fourth installment in the American Ninja franchise, following American Ninja (1985, see entry), American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987, see entry), and American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (1989, see entry).
       Although the film does not explicitly acknowledge where filming took place, a 23 Feb 1992 article in the NYT states that the picture was shot in the Kingdom of Lesotho, a small country bordered on all sides by South Africa. In the 1980s, many martial arts movies were filmed on location in South Africa. However, American Ninja star Michael Dudikoff, who had worked in South Africa on the franchise sequel, American Ninja 2: The Confrontation, refused to return to the politically conflicted country. The Kingdom of Lesotho thus served as a compromise between the actor and filmmakers.
       On 12 Dec 1989, HR announced that Cannon Pictures Inc. had acquired distribution rights to American Ninja 4, and the film would open in spring 1990. On 16 May 1990, DV reported a “complex deal” involving Pathé Communications Corp., Cannon Pictures, Trihoof Investments B.V., and MGM/UA that would apparently delay the film’s release until the fall. However, the picture received its theatrical release the following year on 8 Mar 1991 and was met with generally negative reviews.
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers would like to thank the following for their kind assistance and cooperation: The Government and the People of the Kingdom of Lesotho; the Royal Lesotho Mounted Police, Traffic Department, Training College; Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; Ministry of Interior, Department ... More Less

The film is the fourth installment in the American Ninja franchise, following American Ninja (1985, see entry), American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987, see entry), and American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (1989, see entry).
       Although the film does not explicitly acknowledge where filming took place, a 23 Feb 1992 article in the NYT states that the picture was shot in the Kingdom of Lesotho, a small country bordered on all sides by South Africa. In the 1980s, many martial arts movies were filmed on location in South Africa. However, American Ninja star Michael Dudikoff, who had worked in South Africa on the franchise sequel, American Ninja 2: The Confrontation, refused to return to the politically conflicted country. The Kingdom of Lesotho thus served as a compromise between the actor and filmmakers.
       On 12 Dec 1989, HR announced that Cannon Pictures Inc. had acquired distribution rights to American Ninja 4, and the film would open in spring 1990. On 16 May 1990, DV reported a “complex deal” involving Pathé Communications Corp., Cannon Pictures, Trihoof Investments B.V., and MGM/UA that would apparently delay the film’s release until the fall. However, the picture received its theatrical release the following year on 8 Mar 1991 and was met with generally negative reviews.
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers would like to thank the following for their kind assistance and cooperation: The Government and the People of the Kingdom of Lesotho; the Royal Lesotho Mounted Police, Traffic Department, Training College; Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; Ministry of Interior, Department of Immigration; Ministry of Transportation and Communication, Department of Civil Aviation; Ministry of Works; Ministry of Education; and Ministry of Water, Energy and Mining; the National Development Corporation; Lesotho Catholic Bishops Conference; Lesotho Electrical Corporation; Royal Lesotho Defense Force/Air Squadron; Morija Village Development Council, I.M.R.C.; National University of Lesotho; Lesotho Telecommunications Corporation; Maseru Golf Club; and Machebeng High School.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 May 1990
p. 1, 12, 19.
Daily Variety
13 Mar 1991
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1989
p. 1, 70.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 1991
p. 9, 48.
New York Times
23 Feb 1992.
---
Variety
25 Mar 1991
p. 90.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Cannon Pictures presents
a Cedric Sundstrom film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Line prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Focus puller
Focus puller
Clapper loader
Clapper loader
Still photog
Chief elec
Best boy elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Armorer
Asst prop
Prop buyer
Const mgr
Const mgr
Key carpenter
Key carpenter
Key carpenter
Key carpenter
COSTUMES
Ward des
Ward mistress
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Asst mus ed
Mus rec & mixed at
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Electronic sd ed by
Electronic sd ed, earwax productions
Electronic sd ed, earwax productions
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Foley ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
1st asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
ADR / Foley mixer
ADR / Foley rec
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Title des
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Chief makeup artist
Makeup asst
Makeup asst
PRODUCTION MISC
Lesotho logistical services
Prod coord
Loc mgr
Asst to Mr. Sundstrom
Prod secy
Prod secy
Extras casting
Chief prod accountant
Prod accountant
Prod accountant
Loc asst
Loc asst
Transportation mgr
Transportation capt
Action vehicle coord
STAND INS
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Martial arts choreog
Stunt coord & aerial unit dir
Aerial stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Avi Kleinberger and Gideon Amir.
SONGS
"Fight Fire With Fire," music by Nicolaas tenBroek, lyrics by Jenny Meltzer, performed by Eddie Ray Wolfe.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
8 March 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 8 March 1991
Copyright Claimant:
MGM-Pathe Communications Company
Copyright Date:
4 March 1991
Copyright Number:
PA507104
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Ultra-Stereo®
Color
Duration(in mins):
99
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31545
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the present-day United States, Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) agent Carl Brackston is about to get married. Before he can say his vows, however, he and his best man, agent Sean Davidson, are called to duty. They report to C.I.A. director Gavin, who informs them about a situation: British criminal Colonel Scarf Mulgrew and Arab Sheik Ali Maksood have formed an alliance to vanquish the United States. The two men possess a militia of trained assassins, as well as a nuclear device that they plan to carry by suitcase into New York City. One week ago, intent upon eradicating the criminals, the United States sent a Delta Force unit to the mountainous area where Mulgrew and Maksood are believed to be. The mission was a failure, with Mulgrew and his men capturing and killing all but four of the American soldiers they now hold for a $50 million ransom. The U.S. government wants Davidson and Brackston to retrieve the nuclear device and free the captives. Davidson is skeptical of Brackston’s tactical skills and requests that Joe Armstrong, an American agent trained in martial arts, join the operation. However, Armstrong has retired to the Peace Corps. The next day, Brackston and Davidson parachute into the region and are greeted by their local contact, Pongo. They journey to a small village, and Davidson demonstrates his physical prowess at the local club, which turns out to be a front for the C.I.A. operation. After proving their loyalty, Davidson and Brackston learn the location of the American hostages and discuss their rescue strategy. Just then, Mulgrew arrives, nearly discovering the agents. Davidson and Brackston escape through the village with the help of ... +


In the present-day United States, Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) agent Carl Brackston is about to get married. Before he can say his vows, however, he and his best man, agent Sean Davidson, are called to duty. They report to C.I.A. director Gavin, who informs them about a situation: British criminal Colonel Scarf Mulgrew and Arab Sheik Ali Maksood have formed an alliance to vanquish the United States. The two men possess a militia of trained assassins, as well as a nuclear device that they plan to carry by suitcase into New York City. One week ago, intent upon eradicating the criminals, the United States sent a Delta Force unit to the mountainous area where Mulgrew and Maksood are believed to be. The mission was a failure, with Mulgrew and his men capturing and killing all but four of the American soldiers they now hold for a $50 million ransom. The U.S. government wants Davidson and Brackston to retrieve the nuclear device and free the captives. Davidson is skeptical of Brackston’s tactical skills and requests that Joe Armstrong, an American agent trained in martial arts, join the operation. However, Armstrong has retired to the Peace Corps. The next day, Brackston and Davidson parachute into the region and are greeted by their local contact, Pongo. They journey to a small village, and Davidson demonstrates his physical prowess at the local club, which turns out to be a front for the C.I.A. operation. After proving their loyalty, Davidson and Brackston learn the location of the American hostages and discuss their rescue strategy. Just then, Mulgrew arrives, nearly discovering the agents. Davidson and Brackston escape through the village with the help of Sarah, a Peace Corps nurse, and hide in a mortuary. Mulgrew’s men leave, but Sarah worries they will later suspect her involvement. Davidson agrees to take her to Sulfur Springs, where their next contact awaits. Some time later, on the outskirts of town, Davidson methodically prepares to battle a gang of ninjas hidden in the trees. Brackston, Sarah, and Pongo watch from the bushes as the American dispatches one assassin after another. However, there are too many ninjas for one man to overcome, and Brackston, Sarah, and Davidson are captured. They are taken to a mountainous plateau, where Mulgrew and Maksood have been watching the various ninja factions perform training exercises. Davidson engages in a martial arts fight against several trainees but collapses in defeat at Mulgrew’s feet. The captives are relocated to the dungeon, where they find the four American soldiers. Mulgrew tortures Brackston and Davidson, seeking information about their mission. However, he stops short of killing them, and leaves the prisoners to await their execution. Meanwhile, in another part of the world, Peace Corps volunteer Joe Armstrong teaches a group of schoolchildren about the environment. His lecture is interrupted by a C.I.A. agent, who asks for Armstrong’s help with the situation in the desert. Armstrong is reluctant to resume his warrior ways, but decides to travel to the region. Pongo meets him at the airport, and they drive to Sulfur Springs. On route, they are ambushed by Mulgrew’s ninjas, whom Armstrong easily defeats. When they arrive in Sulfur Springs, Armstrong encounters a band of renegades organized by a man named Dr. Tamba. Although the renegades are willing to help free the prisoners, Armstrong must first earn their trust by proving his fighting skills. Tamba declares Armstrong victorious and reveals a way to access the fort where the American prisoners are being held. However, they need a map of the underground tunnels before they can proceed. Later, Armstrong sneaks into a party for dignitaries and foreign ambassadors and acquires the plans, narrowly evading Mulgrew and Maksood. Back at Sulfur Springs, Tamba and Armstrong study the map and realize that the only access to the fort is by way of a sheer cliff. The next day, as Mulgrew’s men take the prisoners to be executed, Armstrong scales the cliff and gains access to the tunnel. Meanwhile, Tamba’s renegades march on the main entrance, alerting Mulgrew and Maksood to the attack and causing the conspirators to protect the nuclear device. Armstrong finds the dungeon and spars with a ninja, before discovering the prisoners tied to stakes outside. A fight ensues, and Armstrong frees the hostages, as the renegades, led by Tamba, storm the compound, causing chaos. As the battle rages on, Maksood escapes in a helicopter with the nuclear device. Brackston fires at the helicopter, destroying it in mid-air. Mulgrew, furious at being double-crossed, grabs Sarah and takes her into the fort. Davidson pursues and, after a skirmish with Mulgrew, rescues the appreciative nurse. Meanwhile, Armstrong kills the master ninja and secures the fort for the renegades. After saying goodbye to Davidson, Armstrong turns and walks away through the bodies of fallen ninjas. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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