From the title you might mistake this for some sort of precursor to Tom Cruise’s Glory-meets-Mr. Baseball epic The Last Samurai (2003). You’d be wrong. It sucks just as much (Oh yeah, I said it!) but this is just another in series Bloodsport-come-latelies that flooded the direct-to-video market in the early 90s.

David Bradley exhibits his range by tossing aside his American Ninja throwing stars and picking up his American Samurai samurai sword. Mark Dacascos unconvincingly assumes the Bolo Yeung role as Kenjiro, Bradley’s hot-headed, Yakuza-tied half-brother. We even have a bearded Ogre buddy in the form of Harrison (Rex Ryon) and if you’ve seen Bloodsport, you know this sap isn’t long for this world. Learn well from his valuable lesson: “Never bring a Bowie knife to sword fight.”

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The much-told tale begins in rural Japan. When young Drew Collins’ (Bradley) plane crash lands into Tatsuya’s (John Fujioka) backyard - the aging samurai master adopts the gaijin, schooling him in the Ancient Way of the Samurai. When Tatsuya bestows upon Drew “the family sword of the Sanga Clan”, Tatsuya’s biological son Kenjiro spirals into a blind rage.

Move locations to Los Angeles. Ace reporter Drew wakes up one balmy night to be assaulted by thugs sent by Kenjiro to retrieve the sacred katana. Now swordless, Drew flies out on assignment to Istanbul to investigate the death of a fellow reporter. Turns out the dude was filleted ... with a sacred katana!

Drew does some more snooping around - with his new sexy photographer friend (Valarie Trapp) - until he’s tasered in a Turkish disco and forced to fight in Live Blade. Its exactly like Kumite, except the brackets are filled with contestants who seem to have ripped through the very fabric of time. Witness a Viking! A Barbarian! Shaka Zulu!

You can pretty much guess how all this ends. Bolo kills Ogre. Frank Dux kills Bolo. FIN.

Responding to the collective yawn of VCR owners everywhere - Bradley slipped back into the role of the American Ninja once more. For his part, Dacascos would make a personal vow: never play a villain again. Leave that to the experts.


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