Movie: Ninja Bachelor Party (1991)
By: Bill Hicks, Kevin Booth, David Johndrow
There’s a lot of treasure to be found on Bill Hicks: The Essential Collection, the newest retrospective of the famed comedian’s career, but my favorite thing is Ninja Bachelor Party, a brilliant mockery of martial arts cinema. In this roughly filmed gem, a dirty white boy (tragically) named Clarence Mumford seeks the ancient wisdom of the martial arts in order to become a man and to stop his girlfriend from sleeping with everyone with a pulse. It should be noted that barely a shred of martial arts ability is present in this film. Not only is the ninjitsu kept to a minimum, there is no bachelor party either. Yet what is essentially a tale of guys filming each other fake-fighting is far more hilarious that the usual videos of dudes fake-fighting.
Our hero begins the tale as a Robitussin-addicted wreck, constantly berated by his parents for being a loser. After witnessing his beloved servicing a roomful of scumbags, Clarence seeks out an even greater scumbag named Dr. Death, M.D. to teach him how to fight. After that doesn’t turn out so well, our boy follows a mystic communication to Korea. Whether it was North or South Korea, no one can say, but the landscape looks disturbingly like American woodlands and a golf course.
There, he studies under the tutelage of a badly bald-capped and eyebrowed Asian ninja master. They train hard to a sweet musical anthem, and they get lit up on magic mushrooms and throw knives at each other. Finally confirmed as a martial arts master, Clarence returns to the States and busts his old master humping his girlfriend. After a brawl spanning the entire city, Clarence takes out Dr. Death using the ancient Chinese art of bicycling.
Both Clarence and the two martial arts masters – both gurus played by Bill Hicks – are wonderfully inept kung-fu fighters, but what sets Ninja Bachelor Party over the edge is the absurd dialogue dubbed into the film. All characters are voiced by the filmmakers, and their stream of consciousness ramblings – especially those of any character voiced by Hicks – soon become the film’s best quality.
Ninja Bachelor Party is low-budget goofball filmmaking at its best. Throughout his career, Bill Hicks didn’t stray far from stand-up, and in fact this is his only appearance in cinema. His choice in film roles was extremely wise.