For fans of classic genre films there are a great many distributors out there catering directly to us. Shout Factory, Kino, Olive, Synapse, the list goes on and on, it is a great time to be a movie lover. Up until recently, one of the best names in reissues was Arrow Films, was only releasing film in the UK. But now they have brought their unique and stellar releases to North America and we couldn’t be happier. This month they are releasing one of my favorite 80s action movies, Pray for Death starring Shô Kosugi.
Kosugi plays Akira Saito, a Japanese businessman who wants to start a new life in America with his Japanese-American wife and two sons. But when the building they buy for their restaurant is being used as a drop point for a band of crooked cops working for a local crime boss, Saito and his family become targeted by the notorious Limehouse (James Booth) when some stolen merchandise goes missing. When Limehouse decides to attack Akira’s family though, he reluctantly resorts to his ancient skills as a ninja to settle the score once and for all.
Kosugi made a bunch of ninja movies in the 80s that have all become cult classics including his ninja trilogy for Golan/Globus films, but Pray for Death has always stood out as my favorite due to the more adult and vicious nature of the story and the wickedly cool ninja outfit Kosugi dons. The action may seem somewhat tame compared to today’s films but it is still very entertaining and Kosugi has a great on screen presence and some kick ass skills in the fighting department. And Kosugi’s own real life sons’ play his sons in the film, so that is an added bonus as well. Pray for Death ain’t Shakespeare but it is perhaps the best ninja film of the 80s and well worth checking out on Arrow’s new Blu-ray edition, which is also uncut for the first time in a long time and chock full of great special features. Bring on the ninjas!