Enter the Ninja (1981) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • After just completing his training at a ninja school, an army vet travels to the Phillippines and finds himself battling a land grabber who wants his war-buddy's property. He must also fight his rival.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Through the forested mountains of Japan, a ninja dressed in white runs from a group of maroon-clad ninjas and a ninja in black. The white ninja stabs his pursuers and enters a compound, where he beheads the sensei, Master Komori, and kneels in front of a podium. He removes his mask, revealing that he is Caucasian, as the maroon and black-clad warriors re-enter the room, uninjured. Master Komori, carrying a clay model of his own head, sits before them and instructs Cole (Franco Nero), the ninja in white, to recite the nine levels of power. The master informs him that he has passed his tests and presents him with a scroll containing a list of all the ninjutsu fighters who came before him. However, the ninja in black, Hasegawa, refuses to accept the legitimacy of Cole's new title.

    The next day, Cole thanks Master Komori and leaves for Manila, Philippines. He arrives at a large estate, where an Englishwoman (Susan George) points a rifle at him. Cole throws her to the ground as the woman's husband, Cole's war veteran friend, Frank Landers (Alex Courtney), greets him. Over dinner, Cole apologizes to Frank's wife, Mary Ann, for hurting her. Frank explains to Cole that he is being pressured to sell his land, but he and Mary Ann do not wish to leave.

    The next morning, Cole accompanies Mary Ann into town, and watches with a local vendor named "Dollars" as a hook-handed German called "the Hook" (Zachi Noy) threatens a shop owner for making a late payment. On the way back to the house, Mary Ann sees a group of men attacking her plantation workers; Cole uses his fighting skills to scare the invaders away, but the workers choose to resign from their jobs to avoid further danger. Mary Ann explains that Frank has become an alcoholic since the plantation became susceptible to criminals, but Mary Ann refuses to leave.

    The next morning, Frank and Cole find Mary Ann in the town bar, interviewing new potential workers. However, the Hook enters and starts a fight with Cole. After Cole beats the Hook's henchmen, he stabs the man's metal limb into the wall and leaves. Later, the Hook meets with Charles Venarius (Christopher George), an American oil tycoon who wishes to buy the Landers' property. Venarius selects ten tough Manila dockworkers to accompany the Hook and keep Cole from interfering with Venarius' plans. The tycoon then instructs his bodyguard, Mr. Parker, to gather information about Cole.

    While attending a polo match, Cole remembers his time as a soldier in Africa, when Frank saved him from a barrage of gunfire. Back on the Landers' plantation, Frank hosts a cockfight for his former workers, but the Hook arrives, ties one of the workers to the back of his truck, and drags him in circles around the yard. Cole stops the truck and pulls off the Hook's artificial limb. Venarius fires the Hook and orders Mr. Parker to obtain the Landers' property. Frank receives an unsigned note from a messenger, instructing him to attend a meeting at an undisclosed location. Cole learns the location by choking the driver, knocks him unconscious, and drives Frank to Fort Santiago. When they arrive, Cole attacks the guards while Frank meets with Mr. Parker, who offers him a seven-figure sum in exchange for his land. When Frank refuses, Cole fights the henchmen, and he and Frank leave the fort.

    That night, Mary Ann and Cole make love for the first time. The next day, Mr. Parker reports to Venarius that Cole is a ninja and cannot be defeated without the help of a similarly-skilled fighter. Venarius sends Mr. Parker to Japan, where he meets with a talent agent to help him find a ninja. He visits Master Komori's compound and hires Hasegawa.

    Meanwhile, in Manila, Cole learns that Venarius is having him followed, and attacks his pursuer. Mr. Parker brings Hasegawa to Manila to meet with Venarius. As Dollars distracts the building guards, Cole knocks them unconscious and dresses in their uniforms. Cole discovers paperwork detailing the oil value of the Landers' land, while Dollars finds a projector displaying footage of Hasegawa fighting. While Mary Ann and Frank eat dinner in their home, a bullet shatters a lantern on the table. Mary Ann grabs her rifle, but Hasegawa ties her to a tree and slits Frank's throat. The ninja then burns the workers' quarters.

    When Cole returns to the Landers' house, he finds Frank's bloody body and reflects on his wartime memories. He dresses in his white ninja outfit and sneaks into Venarius' building, where he is captured by Mr. Parker and taken to an indoor arena to meet Venarius. Mr. Parker tells Venarius that Cole has threatened to kill him unless he agrees to release Mary Ann. When Mr. Parker returns to retrieve Cole, however, he finds that the ninja has escaped. Cole murders a number of Venarius' guards, but Mr. Parker points a gun at Mary Ann. Cole shoots him in the arm with an arrow and holds a knife to his throat.

    As Mary Ann runs outside, Hasegawa grabs her. Venarius shoots Mr. Parker, and Cole kills Venarius by embedding a throwing star into his chest. Hasegawa releases Mary Ann, and the two ninjas fight. Cole impales Hasegawa with a spear, and the dying warrior concedes that Cole won the battle. When Hasegawa asks to die with honor, Cole bows and cuts off his head. Cole leaves Mary Ann, who has decided to stay in Manila to honor Frank, but the ninja promises to return.

    At the airport, Dollars and Cole encounter the Hook, now working as a porter. Cole explains to Dollars that ninjas only kill for defensive purposes, and bids his friend goodbye.

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