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Film / Beverly Hills Ninja

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"I have come many miles and now have traveled, disguised as a pimp to help you!"
"Twenty five years ago, an ancient legend of this sacred art came alive. It spoke of a foreign child who would come among us and become a Ninja master unlike any other. How he arrived on our shores will forever remain a mystery. We Ninjas thought that this child would be the great white Ninja of the legend. We were wrong. We were very wrong."
The Sensei

Beverly Hills Ninja is a 1997 comedy film starring Chris Farley and Chris Rock. It is a parody of the American Ninja film series and the Beverly Hills Cop franchise.

Haru is a white man raised by a Ninja clan in Japan, after he was found as a baby on a shipwreck. They believed he might be the "White Ninja" prophesied by their legends, a foreigner who would grow up to become their greatest member. However, Haru grows up to become both clumsy and clueless. Although disappointed in him, his clan still loves him like one of their own. In turn Haru idolizes Gobei (Robin Shou), his "older brother" and the best Ninja of the clan.

One night, while the rest of the Clan is away, their Dojo is visited by a beautiful woman named Sally (Nicolette Sheridan) who wants to hire a Ninja to spy on her businessman boyfriend, whom she suspects is involved in shady deals. Haru, taken in by her beauty, tells her he is a full Ninja (he hasn't actually graduated yet) and goes on the mission. It turns out that her lover is indeed a criminal, involved with the Yakuza in an international counterfeiting scheme- and a cold-blooded killer to boot. Obsessed with protecting Sally, he decides to go to Beverly Hills to find her. Unknown to him, Gobei is following him, and keeping him out of danger without his noticing.

In Beverly Hills, Haru meets Joey Washington (Rock) a hotel employee who, realizing that Haru is a ninja, begs him to be trained as one and helps him get around. Eventually Haru meets Sally again and, after several madcap events, finally confronts the criminals. When he finds out Gobei is in danger, he spontaneously develops full Ninja powers and rescues him and defeats the bad guys. In the end, Haru, now declared a full Ninja by his clan, decides to stay in Beverly Hills (with Sally) though he proves to still be an accidental threat to people around him.

This was Farley's last film to be released during his lifetime. His last starring role, Almost Heroes, was released posthumously a year later.

Beverly Hills Ninja contains examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: Haru has achieved at doing acts of competence when he tries to do what he can for mainly saving someone and helping everyone out in some instances (e.g when Sally was locked with a bomb in the room, some of his ideas didn't work out at first. At the very end where he manages to shoot a giant, metallic arrow through the wall and into a window, breaking through the wall Haru was trying to get into when it successfully led the bomb onto the villain's vehicle and manages to save Sally without knowing what would actually happen afterward).
  • Acrofatic: Haru. And probably Chris Farley as well, since the credits label Farley as doing his own stunts.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Haru's ninja clan. The sensei is shocked when he hears reports of a ninja committing a murder. Odd for a group that developed as spies and assassins for hire. Their training techniques, temple layout, orange clothing, and aversion to murder seems to show they were not based off ninja, but instead Shaolin monks.
  • Anything but That!: This is Gobei's response when the sensei tasks him to follow Haru to Beverly Hills to get the job done.
  • Ashes to Crashes: While alone at the dojo, Haru is tasked to look after the place, part of which includes shelves containing jars of cremated remains of past ninjas. He tries to spot it up, but it collapses and plenty of jars that were on there shatter once they hit the floor. Haru is quite remorseful about this.
  • Astral Projection: Apparently a standard Ninja power, though Haru isn't very good at it.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Haru and Gobei during the final fight.
  • Big Bad: Martin Tanley, the mastermind of a scheme to produce counterfeit money.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Well repaid by Haru, especially in the final battle. This quote sums it up best:
    "I may not be the best ninja, I may not be one with the universe, but I will tell you this: NO ONE MESSES WITH MY BROTHER!"
  • Big "NO!":
    • Whenever Haru enters and exits the Plane of Enlightenment.
    • Whenever someone thinks Haru killed a person Tanley killed.
  • Blindfolded Trip: Parodied. Haru is blindfolded when he is first taken to the Tanley's warehouse. Later, he blindfolds himself and tries to use his "ninja skills" to remember the route. He is completely clueless, of course. Luckily, Gobei knows the route well and takes the wheel without Haru knowing.
  • Cool Old Guy: Sensei.
  • The Chew Toy: Gobei. He endures so much punishment in this movie, you come to think that the world hates him.
  • The Chosen Zero: Haru was said to be the Great White Ninja. He mostly sucks at being a ninja.
  • Clear My Name: Haru ends up suspected of a murder he didn't commit. Twice.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Haru again. He is viewed as strange to many.
  • Combat Pragmatist: In the final fight, while Nobu and the rest of Tanley's mooks fight Haru and Gobei with martial arts, Tanley himself fights Haru and Gobei using a machine gun.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Haru tells Sensei about Sally Jones, Sensei revealed that there's no one in the hotel she's supposedly staying in by that name. There's an Allison Page who fits "Sally"'s description. Haru suspects "Sally" gave the hotel a false name to hide her identity, while Sensei believes the woman most likely gave Haru a false name. But Haru's 'ninja intuition' tells him she wasn't lying.
    Sensei: You do not even have normal intuition!
  • Counterfeit Cash: The villains' plans revolve around stolen printing plates.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Haru in the climactic fight. It's actually hinted at during the entire movie. During the training montage at the beginning, when Haru gets caught on the flypaper on the floor, notices he had already crossed two before getting stuck. He also shows at least some skill with the whip chain, an incredibly difficult-to-use weapon. His bird hat disguise also seems to genuinely impress his sensei.
  • Damsel in Distress: Sally.
  • Deus ex Machina: Possibly justified if Haru really is the 'White Ninja'. Even he isn't sure afterwards.
  • Disguised in Drag: Gobei at one point disguises himself as a woman to blend in and watch Haru without giving himself away.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Haru. First by Allison/Sally and second by the strippers. Sensei even accuses him of being led around by his "short sword".
  • The Dragon: Nobu is Tanley's right-hand man and enforcer.
  • The Dulcinea Effect
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: You gotta give it Haru, he keeps trying.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Haru tries to use a "truth dust" on a prisoner, who not only gets a hefty dose himself, but sneezes at the critical moment and ends up spraying the rest of the dust into Haru and Allison's faces.
  • Force Feeding: Haru and Allison at one point dump "The Laughing Mushroom" (a concoction of herbs) down an agent's throat to force information out of him. He is merely unconcscious as this is going on with him
  • The Fool: Also Haru, although he is also aware of his ineptitude and delusions of grandeur, he means well and successfully saves the day in doing so.
  • Garbage Hideout: Haru, upon being noticed by Japanese police near a murder, is chased by them only for him to hide in a bunker full of salmon and lose them. This leaves him filthy, and he has to be washed down when he gets back to the dojo.
  • Genius Ditz: For all of Haru's stupidity and ineptitude of a ninja, he can show some quick wit to compensate and can come up with some unique plans aside from his ditziness (e.g Haru tricked the gunner when shooting a white bag thinking it was Haru's belly in order for him to run out of bullets, which was where he Took a Level in Badass).
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Gobei does this with one of the bad goons at the brawl in the restaurant.
  • The Hero: Haru. The movie focuses on his development of becoming a ninja.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Played straight with Haru, who at one point goes so far as to charge into enemy territory wearing black with a sword on his back through the front gate in broad daylight. Averted with Gobei, who's very good at staying hidden or blending in.
  • Hilarity Ensues
  • I'd Tell You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You: Haru tells this to a little boy on the plane when he asks him about his secret mission.
  • It Came from Beverly Hills
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Gobei
  • Jerkass: The desk manager at the Rodeo Plaza Hotel.
  • The Jinx: And again. Gosh Haru, how many of these are you going to collect?
  • The Klutz: Guess who.
  • Karma Houdini: The honored elder at the Little Tokyo Temple. Lampshaded when one of the Kobudosai gang members, after the elder favors Tanley with the plates instead of the Kobudosai, says, "You won't get away with this!" the elder replies, "Yes, I will!" while the elder and Tanley's men point their guns at the Kobudosai.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: NO ONE MESSES WITH MY BROTHER!!!!
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Haru comes across one of these in Beverly Hills who he initially mistakes for Allison, as he is trying to find her. But then he reveals his face, and he apologizes profusely.
  • Master of Disguise: Gobei does this to help Haru (and to an extent, Haru while doing this in a foolish manner).
  • McNinja: Haru is caucasian, and raised in a ninja clan.
  • Mighty Whitey: Parodied. Haru is the most incompetent ninja in the entire movie, although this says less about his race than it does his character.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Almost the entire plot hinges on Haru being consistently mistaken for a badass ninja.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Allison Page/Sally Jones.
  • Mysterious Protector: Gobei is assigned by Sensei to follow Haru to America and protect him in secret, wanting to keep Haru safe while letting him think he's doing all the ninja work himself.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Every scene where Haru is framed. Martin Tanley kills someone, the body lands near Haru, a witness or a cop sees it and thinks Haru did it.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Haru's disguises frequently include fake mustaches.
  • Parrying Bullets: Haru is finally able to demonstrate ninja skills at the end of the movie with this trope, by using a pair of swords to parry submachinegun clip bullets.
  • Pimp Duds: After Haru arrives in America, he goes to a costume shop to swap his ninja attire for something that will blend in better. He walks out wearing a pimp costume.
  • Put on a Prison Bus: It initially seems like Martin Tanley is going to be killed by the time bomb landing in his truck, but he jumps out after the explosion no worse for wear. Martin and his gang are last seen being taken away by the police.
  • Running Gag:
    • Haru keeps leaving his shoes outside the hotel, where the janitor keeps taking them.
    • Haru has a problem with the landing whenever he returns from the Plane of Enlightenment.
  • Sexy Silhouette: Allison does this behind a slide board. Haru does this as well, but this more of Fan Disservice.
  • Shamu Fu: Haru at one point beats up a thug with a pair of giant fish. It actually works pretty well.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: Haru is convinced that Allison is trustworthy. Sensei thinks Haru is just Distracted by the Sexy, and believes Allison is involved in Martin's criminal schemes. However, it turns out that Allison really is a good person, and she's secretly working against Martin.
  • Sidekick: Joey
  • Soft Water: At the end of the movie, Haru accidentally send a wheelchair-ridde Gobei dragged by the bus that he is driving in, and has him launched hundreds of feet in the air only for him to land in water. Yet he emerges looking no worse for wear.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: Haru does this with two swords in the final battle when Taru shoots at him. It works, despite the fact that he is not spinning them quite fast enough.
  • Talk to the Fist: When Haru unintentionally scares a boy on the plane that he is travelling on to Beverly Hills, the boy goes to blab to his father, which causes him to angrily confront him. Haru starts to defend himself by preaching talk of samurai code, but the man just interrupts him by punching him in the face.
  • That Poor Cat: In a failed attempt to sp on Alison and her boss, Haru decides to just ditch the grappling hook he was using by throwing it away out of screen, and a cat yowling is heard.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Occurs in the final battle involving the song Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas.
  • Time Bomb: In the climax, Martin ties Allison to a chair and locks her in a room with a bomb that conveniently has a digital clock displaying the time until detonation.
  • Took a Level in Badass: For most of the film Haru is hopelessly inept at being a ninja. But during the final battle he suddenly becomes a badass, surprising the hell out of Gobei.
  • Tree Buchet: Haru uses this to get into the enemy warehouse. He succeeds. Joey Washington himself tries to replicate this, and it also succeeds, only in this instance he crashes through a window.
  • Troperrific
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Done, of course, with Haru involving a three-section staff during his training at the beginning.
  • You Talkin' to Me?: In a Shout-Out to Taxi Driver: "Are you communicating with me?" Haru proceeds to attack the mirror.