Speaking, if in passing, of Burt Reynolds and "Smokey and the Bandit," it turns out that the actor will, in fact, make an appearance in "Smokey Is The Bandit," part three in the series and the film in which Jackie Gleason will dress up as Reynolds. Burt, though, will simply have a cameo role, perhaps not even appearing until the final credits . . . if a proposed movie has to sit on the shelf for long in these inflationary times, it figures that the budget had better be increased when the project is finally dusted off. But that's not what has happened to "The Ninja," the Zanuck-Brown production that Twentieth Century-Fox has just reactivated. The studio has signed director John Carpenter to film the movie that Irvin Kershner had been slated to direct before he left for Europe to shoot "Never Say Never Again," Sean Connery's return as James Bond. When "The Ninja" was announced in 1981, its budget was $15 million; now, a year later, Fox has cut the budget to $12 million. Certainly, Fox figures to cut down on travel expenses; while the production was originally slated to shoot in Japan for six weeks, its new schedule calls for just a single week.