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‘3 Ninjas’ (PG)

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
August 12, 1992

Jam together the samurai mysticism of the "Karate Kid" movies, a dollop of "Home Alone"-style impudence, and borrowings from "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," Steven Seagal, "Wayne's World," "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and even "E.T." and what have you got?

One heck of a mess is what.

"3 Ninjas," Touchstone Pictures' latest attempt to fill the idle summer hours of our nation's youth, is a Frankenstein of a movie, an unhappy creature stitched together out of the body parts of other movies. And though it's not a horror film, it is a genuinely scary experience, if only because it actually seems to make time stand dead still.

The film's main characters are three brothers -- "Rocky" (Michael Treanor), "Colt" (Max Elliott Slade) and "Tum Tum" (Chad Power) -- trained in the ninja way of life by their kung fu grandfather and Yoda figure (Victor Wong), who drops little pearls of cosmic wisdom as if he were being paid by the cliche.

Wong, who from some angles looks like an Oriental Edward G. Robinson and from others like a fireplug, is certainly not being paid to do his own acrobatic fighting. One of the movie's only pleasures, in fact, comes from watching director Jon Turteltaub switch back and forth between Wong and his well-padded stunt double. Certainly it beats trying to follow the plot, which involves the boys' FBI father (Alan McRae) and his attempts to bring down an evil, pony-tailed arms trader named Snyder (Rand Kingsley). The movie's high point comes when Kingsley slaps his hands together and with obvious relish says, "God, I love being a bad guy."

It's good to know at least someone is having fun.

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