The American Ninja series was five films, three of which starred Michael Dudikoff, which saw the title character White Ninja (aka Pvt. Joe T. Armstrong) raised up by a ninja clan, then somehow join the U.S. Army, then run into all sorts of situations requiring him to ninja the shit out of people. Every ninja
trope ever invented is played out multiple times.
The titles were:
- American Ninja
- American Ninja 2: The Confrontation
- American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt
- American Ninja 4: The Annihilation
- American Ninja V
Funny story, the last one (featuring Pat Morita) was not even going to be an "American Ninja" movie, but the producers decided to slap the title on it post production, even though it had one of the American Ninja series actors playing an entirely different character.
Tropes found in these films:
- American Title: Obviously.
- Arrow Catch: Michael Dudikoff's character does this in the second film.
- Badass Preacher: Dudikoff's character in the fourth film.
- Clone Army: Of cloned ninjas, in the third film.
- Defeat Means Friendship: In the first film, Sergeant Curtis Jackson and Joe become friends after Joe defeated him in a small fight, surrounded by their army colleagues.
- Evil Brit: The Bad Guy of the fourth film.
- Flashback — specifically the mid-battle kind. Dudikoff just loves to flash back to his training practicing slicing up watermelons before executing those moves on his human opponents.
- French Jerk: The villain of the first movie.
- Good Colors, Evil Colors: Ninja Joe is decked out in a black ninja outfit for the final battle. The enemy ninja army are also decked out in exactly the same black ninja outfit. The only way to identify Joe is by his red belt, which from many angles can't even be seen. It may just be a cunning plan on Joe's part.
- Highly-Visible Ninja: At least some of the ninjas have brains enough to use some degree of stealth, but the majority are less stealthy than the bikers the Big Bad hires as extra mooks!
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Obviously.
- Military Salute: In one scene, Joe Armstrong gets a butt-chewing from his boss, an Army colonel. After being dismissed, he salutes in a limp-wristed way, with his hand curved instead of straight, almost dismissively. Any officer worth his salt would send him to the brig for disrespecting an officer.
- Never Trust a Trailer: In the first film's trailer, the film was called "American Warrior" but the title was changed to "American Ninja" by the time the film was released.
- Whip It Good: Happens in the fourth film.