Film #85: THE CHALLENGE aka SWORD OF THE NINJA aka EQUALS
The Challenge aka Sword of the Ninja aka Equals
3 out of 5 stars
Another nostalgic rewatch. John Frankenheimer directs this “stranger in a strange land” film which focuses on an American boxer who is down on his luck and gets used as a pawn between two feuding brothers. The film does a good job delineating the plot and there are several seeds visible which would come to fruition in the director’s later films (RONIN, for example). The problem, if there is one, is that Scott Glenn makes for a goofy hero and some of the fight scenes come off far too staged. That and the film’s run time just seems a bit on the long side given the story which is being told. Minor quibbles, but I think valid ones. In the end, THE CHALLENGE is a solid actioner and one that easily stands alongside such genre classics as BLACK RAIN & Sydney Pollack’s THE YAKUZA. Fun stuff!