Beverly Hills Ninja Blu-ray Review: Chris Farley Movie Still Delivers Laughs

Beverly Hills Ninja Blu-ray Review: Chris Farley Movie Still Delivers Laughs

(Photo Credit: Sony)

It’s not just cops that wind up getting into some comedic action in Beverly Hills. While not quite on the level of Tommy Boy or Black Sheep, Chris Farley delivers plenty of laughs in the newly released Beverly Hills Ninja Blu-ray. The Dennis Dugan-directed movie, which co-stars Nicollette Sheridan, Robin Shou, and Chris Rock, came out in 1997 and was Farley’s last starring role to be released prior to his untimely death.

“Chris Farley stars as an orphan who was raised from infancy by the head of a ninja institute. Farley grows into an overweight young klutz who manages to become a ninja, albeit an inept one. His first assignment is not to screw up a murder investigation in Beverly Hills,” says the official description.

There’s no disguising Beverly Hills Ninja as high art. It’s certainly juvenile and relies on physical humor. Thankfully, there’s no better physical comedian than Farley, who raises the material and makes what would likely be a disastrous film with anyone else into a fondly remembered one (fun fact: Christian Bale names it as his favorite movie). Farley does a great job playing a ninja named Haru, who, instead of being the prophesized Great White Ninja, is a buffoon with the best of intentions. The actor actually had to undergo martial arts training to be able to show some degree of skill while also messing up every technique in the funniest way possible.

While Farley dancing and falling his way to laughs is the highlight, he also works well with the rest of the cast. He has a dopey connection with his Nicollete Sheridan, who plays his “dove,” an incredible back-and-forth chemistry with a young Chris Rock, and a pure brotherly connection with Robin Shou’s Gobei. Shou’s character is great as he winds up doing a lot of actual badass ninja in the background to keep Haru on track unknowingly, so you do get to see some competent ninja action.

The Beverly Hills Ninja Blu-ray features a new commentary track by director Dennis Dugan. While Dugan can be hit or miss as a filmmaker (he made my favorite Adam Sandler comedy in Happy Gilmore, while also my least favorite in Jack & Jill), he seems like an incredibly nice guy and has a lot of insight to share. Recorded just before the new year, Dugan reminisces about the film and tells some fantastic stories about Farley and the production.

One of the most interesting moments is that during filming, Dugan offhandedly mentioned the three questions of acting (Who am I? What just happened? What do I want?) to Farley, who had no clue about them. It turns out that in all of his prior performances, Farley was just going off his intuition. Subsequently, Farley started applying the questions to his performance in the rest of the film. Dugan was really impressed with the actor and believes Farley could’ve done some great dramatic roles (similar to Sandler) if he hadn’t passed away so tragically young.

Other highlights of the commentary include stories about Farley and Rock improvising together and how Rock blew up in popularity right before the film came out, which vindicated Dugan as he advocated for the young actor getting the role. Dugan also reveals how Jackie Chan influenced the film’s fight sequences and how this film helped him in directing You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.

Beverly Hills Ninja Blu-ray Review: Final verdict

Listen, Beverly Hills Ninja isn’t a five-star comedy classic, but it always delivers laughs and puts a smile on my face each time I watch it. Sometimes that is just as valuable as a witty script. Despite some shortcomings, it’s a charming comedy that shows just how hilarious Farley was. The Beverly Hills Ninja Blu-ray is an easy recommendation for anyone looking to revisit the classic, and the new commentary track is well worth checking out.

Disclosure: ComingSoon received product from publisher for our Beverly Hills Ninja Blu-ray review.

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