Pray for Death (1985) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
30 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
One of the best 1980s Martial Arts Films
Schlockmeister17 January 2002
It seems easy to forget that in the early days of Home Video, Sho Kosugi was very much a celebrity, making Ninja-themed movies like this. The plot is a revenge story, but the idea of Kosugi as a ninja who has hidden away his identity as such brings the film to a super-hero level as we have this man who is, along with his family harassed here in the Good Old U.S.A. because they bought a shop in an old building where some theives had hidden their loot. The action sequences are fascinating, a few interesting ninja techniques are shown and the fighting is fast and furious. Kosugi does not have the acting range, it seems, to handle heavier dramas, but he is ideally suited to the unique 80s genre of "Ninja Flick". Highly recommended. Not recommended to those fed a steady diet of computer generated "special effects" and cannot remember a time when athletic ability was required to nake a martial arts movie.
10 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Magnificent Ninja Stuff
boris-13 August 2001
I think it´s the best one out there. Horror Veteran Director Hessler and Kusogi team up for a dead-pan serious story of Kusogi, moving from Japan to the US to live the American Dream. Starting small-time with a shop, they are being blackmailed, later his wife is being raped and murdered. The story is tight, the action fast and the filming is very stylish. I would consider it a hidden gem and anyone being able to watch it should do so. Not for the squeamish, though. Lot´s of 80ies violence and some nasty sex. Obviously Hessler is the one man to bring out the best in Kusogi as seen in their other cooperations (Rage of Honor (which is inferior and has a Miami Vice Setting) and Voyage of Honor.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Prayer before dying...
fmarkland327 August 2006
Sho Kosugi stars as closet ninja who becomes Ninja once again when mobsters (Searching for a priceless necklace) kill his wife and try to kill his kids, Kosugi warns the mobsters, tries cooperating and even giving clues to get the mobsters off his back but of course it just never ceases to be and because this is a ninja movie, Kosugi tries to dispatch the mobsters one by one. Pray For Death is of course a ninja movie that was better than average for the genre, reading various comments which vary in opinion, I tend to lean with the crowd who likes the movie since I myself was never bored with the movie. It certainly had a few slow moments and an action sequence which wasn't very impressive at all (Kosugi sneaking in a boat party) but there are some good action sequences (Especially the climax) and the movie moves quick enough to not concern the audience about how unlikely it all is. Still its a ninja movie and rarely do they even approach respectability. Pray For Death at least works as a guilty pleasure.

* *1/2 out of 4-(Pretty good)
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Revenge Film
carey65678 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I first watched this film when i was only 5 years old with my Dad and really enjoyed it. I have just obtained a copy of this film 21 years later and think its great. I would strongly recommend it to any action fan. The main Villain in the film is Actor James Booth playing the tough evil Mafia Enforcer 'Limehouse Willie'. He really plays his Sadistic character with a lot of Conviction. He was just so Ruthless and Cruel and was quite believable as a Mafia Nut that enjoyed inflicting pain and death on other people. Not all of the action scenes are great but there is a few well staged sequences that really are enjoyable to watch, especially the raid on Mr Newman's Mansion and the Saw Mill Confrontation with "Limehouse Willie". The film is dated being made back in 1985 but to me this is no big deal and i try not to have massive expectations with films made 20-40 years ago. Its entertaining enough as a revenge story with all the usual ingredients and a standout performance by James Booth. Its a tough , Violent, serious film that isn't scared of getting its hands dirty and i like these kind of films. The Wife of Sho Kosugi in the film was an OK sexy Asian Babe and this was worth a mention too. I'm all for a DVD Release !
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
the second best outing from Cult Japanese pugilist, Sho Kosugi!
Darkling_Zeist23 January 2014
From the unlikeliest of kung fu scriveners', James Booth, springs forth the second best outing from Cult Japanese pugilist, Sho Kosugi. The Kosugi clan moves to the US in order to construct a shiny, prosperous new life, only to find themselves inadvertently embroiled in nefarious gangster double-dealings; due to some illicit booty that was stashed under the floorboards in their recently purchased business premises. Leaving aside the clearly pedestrian plot, what remains is a mean- spirited, (bruised) balls to the wall revenge actioner; with the impoverished narrative fortified to the point of incredulity by a series of gonzoid Ninjitsu sequences, orchestrated with brutal efficiency by nimble vengeance enthusiast, Kosugi. No doubt there remain some who poo- poo the entertainment value of a mid-eighties, Kosugi opus; but one must never be swayed by the ill-considered protestations of the sober minority. In the halcyon days of Betamax & Video 2000, Sho Kosugi reigned supreme; and it would seem that in this increasingly banal era when any Hollywood popinjay can wear the spurious crown of action hero, one could do a whole lot worse than hunker down, adjust one's beer goggles and marvel at such simple, roughhouse fare; where the fleet- fisted Kosugi makes bloody chow mien out of a legion of bovine, uncoordinated villainy.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Awesome movie for ninja fans.
myers620846 June 2006
The song isn't called back from the shadows it is called back to the shadows and it is sung by Peggy Abernathy. It clearly states that in the credits of the movie if you watch them. I thought the movie was good. Then again I am a ninja fanatic. Anyway has good fight scenes and I thought it had a good summary. I would recommend that if you are a Sho Kosugi fan that you watch this movie. I would also like to see this released on DVD along with enter the ninja and ninja 3. I would like to know where I can find the song back to the shadows. Sho Kosugi is an awesome actor and I can't wait for the new ninja movie Return of the Ninja to come out. Only a ninja can stop ninja.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
You cannot escape your shadows, my son. You will always be a ninja!
lastliberal26 June 2010
A man wants to leave his country behind and start a new life in America.

Unfortunately, he runs into gangsters that thought he stole a necklace from them. His family is in danger, and he reverts to his true calling - a ninja - to get justice.

Shô Kosugi gives us a great martial arts/revenge flick. His acting isn't the greatest, but his fists speak loudly.

He warned them, and now, they will pray for death.

Gangsters, crooked cops, and the most dangerous man in California are no match. Even the kid (Kane Kosugi) is dangerous with nun-chucks and darts.

They had to really stretch credulity at the end as he fought James Booth. He sliced thought a dozen men, but they stretched this battle out.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What a cool outfit!
HaemovoreRex11 July 2006
Sho Kosugi dons particularly cool looking ninja togs in this fair martial arts actioner from 1985.

The plot (of sorts) more or less resembles exactly that of Kosugi's earlier, superior 'Revenge Of The Ninja'.

Similarly (and infuriatingly!!!) just as in the aforementioned film, Sho is yet again incredibly reluctant to get into his full ninja gear and whoop ass even after repeated attempts on his families life by the movies villains.

However, inevitably and true to that staple cliché in these types of films, at least one of his family MUST be killed off thus prompting our hero to swear the obligatory oath of revenge. The bad news is that it takes until well over the hour mark before our man Sho actually gets his full ninja act together to get stuck in proper.

Still, to be fair, the resulting action makes it worth the long wait and the villains invariably buy it in style at Sho's deadly hands and feet.

The climatic battle between Sho's character and the evil (but ridiculously named) Limehouse Willy (played by none other than James Booth!) proves to be surprisingly evenly matched (a chainsaw being ostensibly a weapon that ninja are not specifically trained to defend against) but of course, such a repulsive low down, low life miscreant can only meet a suitably grisly end here and Sho certainly makes sure that he does!

Whilst this isn't my personal favourite of Sho's movies, it's still a fairly enjoyable romp. If you're at all into the 80's ninja film craze then you could do a lot worse than to check this out.

After all, nobody embodies the ninja better on screen than Sho does.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
4th best ninja movie ever
jaws!7 October 1999
this is the 4th best ninja movie of all time. 4th behind >revenge of the ninja,ninja III,and american ninja. there >are some good fighting scenes in pray for death. all in >all not the best ninja movie ever,but the 4th best. i give pray for death **1/2 out of ****
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
For undemanding action fans only
gridoon7 February 2005
Sho Kosugi never made it big like Jackie Chan, and it's easy to see why: he has the same likable screen presence, the same problems with the English language, even the same haircut...but his martial-arts choreography is two or three notches below, two or three clicks slower than, Jackie's standards. To put it simply, the fight scenes in "Pray For Death" are boring (though the climax does incorporate a wide variety of weapons). The story is boring, too - and spiced up with gratuitous sadism (what fun to see bed-ridden women and old men beaten to a bloody pulp and then murdered, eh?). I don't know if there even IS a "best ninja movie of all time", but this one definitely is not it. (*1/2)
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
bronsonskull728 July 2003
Sho Kosugi stars as Akira a closet ninja who goes back to his shadows when a mobster Limehouse(James Boothe) kills Akira's wife and almost kills Akira's son. Pray For Death is a cut above most "Ninja movies" the action is crisp and the movie is fast paced. Pray For Death may make more noise then sense, but for action fans PFD delivers the goods.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Not on par with Kosugi's best
Fluke_Skywalker2 August 2014
Though it has a simple, time-tested plot and a surprisingly effective cast, 'Pray for Death' comes up a bit short in the execution department. The action scenes are effective in that 80s ninja movie style, but they lack the intensity and brutality of Kosugi's 'Revenge of the Ninja'. They and the film also lack the latter's emotional power as well.

The cast is certainly up to the task. Kosugi has an amazing ability to go from friendly, mild-mannered businessman to vengeful human weapon with a snap of the fingers. James Booth (who also wrote the screenplay) is quite good as the sadistic lead henchman Limehouse, and veteran character actors Parley Baer and Norman Burton help round out a cast that's much better than we've come to expect from films of this genre.

With a few tweaks this could've been on the level with Kosugi classics such as 'Revenge of the Ninja' and 'Ninja III: The Domination'. As it is, it's a second rate shrug of a chop-socky revenge flick.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
not one of Shô Kosugi's best movies
disdressed1214 April 2011
this is not one of Shô Kosugi's better's an action drama/revenge takes awhile to get going and once it does,it's fairly slow throughout most of the running time.i wouldn't say ti was boring,but it was close.the fight scenes were OK,but not spectacular.the characters were your typical two dimensional stereotypes for the genre.there's nothing very memorable about the movie.once the end credits rolled,that was it.really stays with you about it.i wouldn't really recommend it unless you're really bored and have nothing else to do.i would recommend Revenge of the Ninja and Enter the Ninja,both superior films starring Shô Kosugi.for me,Pray for Death is a 5/10
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Totally sweet
indyronin21 June 2002
I just watched Pray for Death on Showtime at 2:30 in the morning. This is a totally sweet movie about ninjas, in which Sho Kosugi is this bad ass super ninja who kills a whole bunch of people before moving to America, where he is framed for drug trafficking, and his wife is raped and murdered, and that is the point where he totally flips out and kills dozens and dozens of people. I did find it odd that while his family is from Japan, Sho's wife doesn't look terribly oriental. But otherwise this is a totally sweet eighties action movie with lots of killing and flipping out.
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A cringeworthy addition in the ninja wave of 1980s movies...
paul_haakonsen9 April 2019
Granted that having been a preteen in the 1980s, then the wave of ninja movies was definitely something that I was watching on VHS. And then I decided to watch the 1985 "Pray For Death" in 2019. Somewhat of a mistake. This was better left in the past with the fond memories.

Watching "Pray For Death" today was somewhat of a slap to the face with an ice cold dead fish. The movie was downright ludicrous. The storyline was as simple as it could get; a Japanese family moves to the USA to start a fresh new life, setting up a business in a fairly rundown and bad neighborhood. Yeah, what could or would possibly go wrong there? Then when the father's son is hospitalized and his wife murdered, everything falls apart and he brings out his ancient ninja heritage to wreck vengeance on the perpetrators.

Sure, this was entertaining back in the mid 1980s, but today, no, not so much. The storyline was so stupid that it was almost bordering on being insulting to the intelligence of the audience.

And as for ninja action, well then there wasn't really all that much of it. It was in the beginning and end of the movie, so you could essentially skip the middle part of the movie and still be up to speed with the storyline. And as for the ninja, well Shô Kosugi wearing an abysmal fake metal helmet on his ninja outfit and a nylon sheet covering his mouth was just a bit too tacky - even for a mid 1980s ninja movie.

Sure Shô Kosugi might have been a great martial artist back in the day and won a heap of competitions, but that doesn't really mean that he has talent on the screen. Let's just say that I wasn't particularly impressed with what I saw in "Pray For Death".

Was this an entertaining ninja movie? No, not really. I will actually say that the likes of Michael Dudikoff's "American Ninja" movies were better than this. Is this a movie that I will return to watch again? No, definitely not. Is it worth the time, effort or money? No.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Back to the shadows
GOWBTW1 March 2018
When you're a ninja, you can't escape destiny. When a businessman(Sho Kosugi) from Japan travels to America with his wife and children, he thought that he was go to live the American dream. Unbeknownst to him, the man name Sam Green(Parely Baer) is also unaware that his store is being used as a hideout for a gang and a pair of crooked cops. They deliver a necklace in which the cops would give to someone else. The kind Sam Green helps out the family with a place to stay. It was a shame when the gang took him out and attack the Saitos. Akira Saito(Kosugi) is a skilled ninja who lived with the guilt of killing his brother when he tried to steal from the temple. His father tells him to wipe away the guilt from his mind before it kills him. So when the mob leader kills Akira's wife, he returned to ways of the ninja. His attacks are precise and lethal, and none of the mobsters could stand a chance against him. The fight scenes in the film are awesome. The art of ninjitsu is skill that is beyond compare. The movie title makes a whole lot of sense. It's a very good movie, highly recommended. Sho Kosugi choreograph the moves very well. This is a perfect ninja film. 4 out of 5 stars.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
jellopuke23 October 2017
She Kosugi was awesome, with an intensity and believability that was light years beyond most of his contemporaries. The only problem was he couldn't speak English worth a lick. As long as he's kicking butt, he's great, but the second he opens his mouth, he sounds like a stereotype. But who cares when the action is so great. Here he wears a Shredder style helmet and takes out mobsters with ninja skills. Don't let the awful acting of his kids or the odd overdubbing of noises during the fight scenes distract you, this is top notch ninja schlock!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Gordon Hessler Presents a 1980s Ninja Special
gavin694210 February 2016
After a peace loving Japanese immigrant (Sho Kosugi) and his family become victims of a crime syndicate, a master ninja emerges.

Director Gordon Hessler had a great run going into the 1970s, working with Vincent Price, AIP and all those talented folks. Look at this three film run: "The Oblong Box" (1969), "Scream and Scream Again" (1970) and "Cry of the Banshee" (1970). Unfortunately, it seems to have been downhill after that, or at the very least, he was behind films that did not quite get the attention of these three.

Then comes 1985, where we have this unusual gem. A Japanese ninja film, set in America and directed by a Brit. It is quite an unusual blend, something you might expect from Cannon. Or perhaps Transworld, which would be correct.

This sort of over-the-top movie is despised by most critics (with good reason), but embraced by those in the horror and cult community. Joe Bob Briggs praised star Sho Kosugi as "the best kung fu man since Bruce Lee" and ranked the film high on his 10-best list for 1986. Briggs is my kind of reviewer, who knows good cheese when he smells it. Kosugi really was the defining ninja of the 1980s (with all due respect to a certain group of turtles).

Arrow Films has released the film on blu-ray, and have done a very fine job of it. We have a 1080p presentation from a transfer of original elements by MGM of the unrated version. yes, the unrated version, which means more of that wonderful scene with the burning elderly man! We have a brand new interview with Sho Kosugi, as well as an archive interview and Ninjitsu demonstration with Kosugi from the film's New York premiere.

I would love to have seen a an audio commentary from Kosugi, or perhaps something from Hessler, but he likely passed before Arrow got the rights. All in all, this is a great release and anyone who loves the days of renting action films based on their cover is going to appreciate what this gem has to offer.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Quintessential Eighties Ninja Movie
SpotMonkee25 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Ridiculous fight scenes? Check. Katanas? Check. Shuriken? Check. Cheesy Pop Ballad? Check. A fundamental misunderstanding of what a ninja actually is? Check. And of course, Sho Kosugi? Check. Ladies and gentlemen, we have the ultimate eighties ninja movie. Made while the ninja craze was coming to a close, Pray for Death is arguably one of, if not the best entry in actor Sho Kosugi's long and illustrious filmography, one that contains, you guessed it, a lot of ninjas. When mild-mannered Yokohama salaryman Akira Saito (Kosugi) moves to Houston with his wife (The lovely Donna Kei Benz) and sons (Lead Kosugi's real-life sons Kane and Shane) in order to run a restaurant, he ends up in a one-man war against an army of ruthless mobsters searching for a priceless necklace. The sheer ridiculousness of the plot should tell you all you need to know about this movie. Veteran director Gordon Hessler shoots the elaborate and brutal fight scenes with style, and Kosugi's martial arts skills are on full display. The acting is pretty hit or miss, but James Boothe, also the writer, is decently menacing as the mob boss Willie. The recent Blu-Ray release restores the movie to its original length, making the action all the more visceral and exciting. Viewers expecting to find a fun, over-the-top, and undeniably eighties martial arts film need look no further.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Take a trip "back to the shadows"!
sunnyside190515 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler Alert! To me, Akira Saito (Sho Kosugi) made one of the best speeches in the history of martial arts movies, to wit: "Whoever destroyed your dreams, and our family, I will make them pay for it, I swear it. Yes, I swear it as a ninja. My body, my spirit, my soul will return to my shadows, to the shadows of the ninja." Short summary: a Japanese food technician leaves his corporate job in Yokohama to open a restaurant in Houston. He buys a closed restaurant and house from a man named Sam Green. Unknown to Saito, some hoods had been using a locked room in Green's place as a hiding spot for a valuable stolen necklace. After Saito and his son are kidnapped and threatened by a goon named Limehouse, the restaurateur reverts to his ninja ways and deals some medieval Japanese justice to the bad guys. The final fight between Saito and Limehouse is reminiscent of the climatic battle between Bruce Lee and Master Han in ENTER THE DRAGON.

"Gangland style killings save us a lot of police work."
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
awesome if you can see it in it's entirely
Allen7027 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
At the insistence of his American-born wife, Aiko (Donna Benz), Akira Saito (Sho Kosugi) decides to immigrate from Japan to the country of her birth to raise their two sons Takeshi (Kane Kosugi) and Tomoya (Shane Kosugi) and start their own business. Unbeknownst to his family, Akira is in fact a highly skilled ninja, who had faithfully protected the secrets of the temple minded by his adoptive father and sensei, Kaga. Years before, Akira's brother, Shoji - also raised and trained by Kaga - sought to steal from the temple in disguise, forcing Akira to engage him in battle and kill him. Akira's meditation on this matter is disrupted by an attack from Kaga to encourage him to wipe the guilt from his mind before it kills him. Akira announces his intentions to move to America to start a new life, and to put the shadows of the ninja behind him. Kaga makes him swear never to reveal the secrets of their sect, and gives him a ninja helmet as a parting gift, but reminds him he can never leave his shadows behind.

The Saitos land in Los Angeles and meet with Sam Green, the widowed owner of a closed restaurant and apartment that Akira and Aiko planned to buy. After the sale is completed and the family visits the local mall, the cigar store area of the building is broken into by police Sgt. Trumble (Charles Greuber), a corrupt cop along with his partner Sgt. Joe Daly (Matthew Faison) working for local mobster Mr. Newman (Michael Constantine). Daly removes loose floor boards and puts a large white box underneath, containing the Van Adda necklace. However, he reconsiders and double-crosses the mob by taking tne necklace for himself. The next day Newman's enforcer, Limehouse Willie (James Booth), waits until the building is again deserted before entering himself only to discover the necklace is missing. Seeing Sam Green's packed luggage in his car, Willie incorrectly dedeuces that he's skipping town with the jewels and kills him even though he doesn't find them. Suspicion now fails on the Saitos.

The next day, as Akira and Aiko enjoy the first day of business - "Aiko's Japanese Restaurant" - Tomoya and Takeshi go out to the local store and are confronted by local bullies eyeing Takeshi's bike. Tomoya - who has a red belt in karate - defends his younger brother and bests the bullies. But during the fight, Willie abducts Tomoya and leaves Takeshi with a broken nose when he tries to stop him. awesome if you can see it in it's entirely but unless you have it on a old Australian VHS tape forget about it i first saw this at a drive in just before I turned 18 and I loved it that real evil bastard really gets his ass handed to him in the end but I think Sho Kosugi was actually hurt in at least one seen a seen that gets edited in so called DVD releases be warned I still love it hay! its not Science fiction and it's no ET but what It has is intensity it shows if a person gets pushed enough that person can and will push back this is not a girls flick at all
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I will put my shadows behind me....
FlashCallahan3 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Akira lives in Tokyo with his wife, Aiko and children. When the family has a chance to move to the United States so that Aiko can teach the children about their American heritage, they pack up and run a restaurant.

A band of crooked cops store stolen goods in the back room of the restaurant and unknown to them, a priceless necklace is wanted by a local syndicate.

When one of the cops decides to take the necklace for himself, the syndicate goes after the previous owner of the restaurant, then after the Akiras family.

When one of the boys is kidnapped, Akira quietly rescues him.

But when Aiko is killed, Akira finally decides to unleash his dark side....

If you've seen Revenge of the Ninja, then you've seen this, it's basically the same movie, but with a more sadistic villain, and not very good fight scenes.

Kosugi looks the part, all metal and eyeliner, but compared to other martial arts film from the eighties (especially from Cannon), it's pretty non eventful.

The villain is hilarious though, spouting off threats,setting fire to old men, and holding his own to a ninja for a decent ten minutes.

There are a few good scenes, but it's almost a carbon copy of Kosugis better movie.

But it has a wonderful theme tune.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Go Sho go
PeterMitchell-506-56436413 November 2012
I must admit it, I'm a sucker for the ninja films. They're bloody entertaining as well as unintentionally funny. This one is the top of the pics. A very well made flick, featuring Sho Kosugi and his real life sons, who even as an adult, I don't think you'd want to get into a fight with. At the nagging request of his beautiful wife, Sho and his sons move to America and set up shop. Kosugi too, is still on a guilt trip, when involved in a sword fight with a mate, a good guy who went bad, so America should do him good. Right? Wrong. They should of stayed where they were. They become caught in the middle of feud between some crooked cops, and some really other bad guys, one in particular, merciless in his methods. These two crooked cops steal this necklace worth millions from the bad guys, planning to keep it for themselves. They stash it in this shop that so happens to be the new business, run by Sho and his wife. The old owner who's sold it to him, is mistaken for the thief, an obvious culprit in the sense of his departure. The crooked cops can't get to it, as a new lock has been replaced. The bad guys kill the owner, as what can he tell him. And that leaves Sho and his family as the suspects, so you know what's to ensue. The action keeps coming at you in this movie, my favorite pick out out of the so called four. There is some disturbing violence, some of it sexual. The title is fantastic. So is Booth as the bad guy. Another of my 1986 favorites, this flick only ran a week. Apart from Booth, and only a couple of others, Pray For Death doesn't have the greatest acting in the world, but when you've go explosive action like this, acting takes a back seat.

and his family
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Death Wish Ninja Style
Michael_Elliott28 September 2012
Pray for Death (1985)

** (out of 4)

A Japanese man (Shô Kosugi) moves his wife and two sons to America to start a new life but it's soon turned into chaos when a gangster starts terrorizing them believing that they have a priceless jewel. What we've got here is basically a DEATH WISH movie but instead of Charles Bronson we're given a ninja. This here certainly doesn't come close to the same level as one of the DEATH WISH films and I'd say it's no where near the level of REVENGE OF THE NINJA but fans of the genre will probably still have a good time with it. I think the biggest problem working against the film is that we've simply seen this type of story way too many times and outside the ninja stuff, there's really nothing new done with it here. We basically have a good-hearted man coming to America do to everything right but then he runs up against a ruthless gangster who just wants to kill and torture. It's pretty strange to see how much of the violence is towards the two young kids and when you see this you know you're watching something from the 1980s. The film certainly picks up some steam as it moves along and reaches the revenge aspect. The finale has Kosugi putting on the ninja suit, grabbing his sword and stars and going out for revenge. These scenes have a certain campy feel to them but there's no question that they're good enough to please fans of the genre. Kosugi certainly doesn't fit the profile of a "great actor" but I do think he did well enough for the part and there's no question that you're able to connect with him and feel for his situation. The rest of the performances are rather forgettable but they're good enough for this type of film. The violence in the film is all rather tame, although there's an uncut version out there that features a little bit more. Still, PRAY FOR DEATH is far from what one would consider a good movie but it has its own charm that makes it viewable entertainment.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Yeah, right
madwand-210 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Why is it so hard for a ninja to take on one white guy after wiping out an entire guard detail? I know this happens in all action movies, but this guy's supposed to be a ninja. Gimme a break.

Also, when does having your half-American Japanese wife killed in the U.S. give you and your kids the right to reside there permanently? None of them are citizens.

The old geezer ninja dude's makeup looked like it was applied by a 10 year old.

Besides that, it's a really crappy movie too. That's why I just saw it on for free...
3 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed