During the '90s, director Neal Israel's Surf Ninjas achieved an unlikely distinction that set it apart from the rest of the martial arts comedies of the decade. Believe it or not, this is the first film that had a video game adaptation that actually came out before the movie! That's a rarity, but there is a reason why it happened: apparently, Sega partially financed the film, and consequently, a Sega Game Gear plays a prominent role in Surf Ninja's plot.
As for the Surf Ninjas themselves, they are Johnny (Ernie Reyes Jr.) and Adam (Nicolas Cowan), two teens who are secretly the heirs to the throne of Patusan, a fake Asian country created over 100 years ago by Joseph Conrad. When ninja assassins come to take out the two brothers, Johnny and Adam discover their latent fighting abilities and take the fight back to their homeland.
Adam's Game Gear also had an odd supernatural power. By playing a game, Adam could essentially predict the future and partially control the way events played out. There's definitely a touch of sci-fi/fantasy in there, but it's no less unbelievable than a 30-year old Rob Schneider playing a teenager named Iggy. Schneider plays a fairly large supporting role in the film, and he even made it onto the Surf Ninjas poster!
Leslie Nielsen, the star of spoof comedies Airplane! and The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, had a rare villainous turn in Surf Ninjas as Colonel Chi. Several years before the movie, Chi overthrew Johnny and Adam's father and seized Patusan for himself. However, Chi was so hilariously inept it's miraculous that he could do anything at all. He's no M. Bison!
For more Surf Ninjas trivia, check out the latest episode of SYFY WIRE's Everything You Didn't Know!