Ladies and gentlemen, your Wednesday nights just got way hotter!
Welcome to SEMI-OBSCURE ACTION STAR OF THE WEEK, Illogical Contraption's selfless effort to get you over those hump-day blues.
THIS WEEK: MUTHAFUCKIN' NINJA ASSASSIN SHO KOSUGI!
Many martial-arts-expert movie stars have become famous portraying honorable characters who don't need weapons to win a battle. Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li have all walked this path (although the scene in Enter The Dragon where Bruce takes out a gang of dudes with a pair of nunchucks is pretty sweet), cementing the image of the lone, unarmed kung fu master in the collective psyche of the filmgoing public. That shit is weak.
Sho Kosugi, ninjitsu master and star/villain of many ninja movies of the 1980's, showed up at his film sets bearing an ungodly arsenal of shuriken, smoke bombs, katana blades, and all manner of mysterious battle devices. Using this vast array of archaic weaponry, Kosugi would lay all foes to waste, posthaste, and disappear from the scene in a puff of smoke. Sho Kosugi was fucking BRUTAL!
Below: Kosugi vehicle Pray For Death, 1985. An absolute MUST-HAVE for ninja-movie enthusiasts.
Born in 1948, Kosugi silently ambushed the silver screen for the first time in 1981, portraying an evil assassin in the classic Enter The Ninja. A slew of awesome films follwed, including The Master (1984), Ninja III: The Domination (1984), The Nine Deaths of the Ninja (1985), and Rage of Honor (1987). His highest-profile roles came toward the end of the decade, starring opposite Rutger Hauer in Blind Fury in 1989 and Jean-Claude Van Damme in Black Eagle in 1988 (a movie I have yet to see - WTF!?). He took a long hiatus after 1992's Kabuto, dedicating his time to forming a taiko group in California and an acting/martial arts school in Japan, but returned triumphantly to the screen in 2008's The Return of the Ninja.
Below: Another Kosugi classic, 1983's Revenge of the Ninja (a full 7 night rental from Home Video Express! Score!).
Right: Mr. Kosugi throws up some horns, revealing his top-secret Inner Hessian.
Of all his film appearances, some of my favorites were the quick 10-minute spots he did after the end credits of other 80's VHS kung fu movies, which were called "Ninja Training with Sho Kosugi" or something like that. In these seemingly random-placed sequences, Sho would share his ninja secrets with the viewer, from the intricacies of nunchuck warfare to the proper use of a grappling hook. Although the art of the ninja is meant to remain a secret, he was secure enough in his ruling-ness to share his knowledge with worthy students. What a guy!
It's my own personal dream to sit down with the guy someday, over teppanyake and plum wine, to discuss the inner workings of ninjitsu.
Fuck. That would be sweet.
Below: Mr. Kosugi's standard bathroom reading material.
Sweet ninja battle from Revenge of the Ninja, 1983. Sho is the one wearing black:
Opening scene from Pray For Death, 1985:
Next week: CYNTHIA ROTHROCK!
Editor's note: You may have noticed that Mr. Kosugi's face was not shown in the duration of this post. There's a logical reason for this. If Sho Kosugi shows you his face, he has to kill you. It's that simple.