Ashida Kim Movie Credits

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                 m-angelsdance.jpg       m-armageddon.JPG      m-instinct.gif      m-waterboy.jpg  

                  Angel's Dance           Armageddon                  Instinct               Waterboy

Back in the day when “Hollywood was coming to Florida,” many of Master Kim’s students encouraged him to audition and try out for a variety of positions and roles at the theme parks and various talent agencies that sprang up during the boom.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios proved to be a fun filled six week gig. What better place for a Ninja than sneaking up on people and scaring the life out of them? His costume there was that of the Morph-Head, a large plastic mask with a second head clawing it’s way out of the skull of the primary head, and was augmented by a ragged costume and hunchback. He delighted in acrobatically perching on the stanchions that lined the bricked streets of Amityville or hanging off the lampposts, appearing suddenly out of the fog machine created clouds to startle some cute girl into the protective arms of her boyfriend and vanishing into the crowd just as suddenly.

 

 This led to several opportunities to work as an extra, the “in” that would lead to larger roles. His first excursion into the wee small hours of arriving at the pre-dawn set to be cast by the assistant directors was Armageddon with Bruce Willis. He was dressed as an Air Force general and saluted smartly as the astronauts left the vehicle assembly building and boarded the vans to be taken to the launch pads. “Bruno” (all us Hollywood types call Bruce Willis by his nickname) entertained the crew by deliberately stumbling and taking a roll on the red carpet to the shock and gasps of the masses fearing for his safety. Only to spring up and pretend to be looking for someone to blame for tripping over his space suit. The story at lunch was that he had bet another principal character $100 that he could and would do it, just to relax the crowd and have a laugh. Of course, motion pictures shoot a lot of film to get one shot, and the angle in which Sensei Kim is visible near the back of the van appears for only an instant in a short production film called the Making of Armageddon. Likewise, an entire sequence inside the VAB in which he would have been seen with several other generals watching the Space Shuttle be moved was edited out altogether and in all the other shots, like the big “congratulations on the tarmac scene” at the end, everyone is too small to been recognized. Such is the price of fame, LOL A decent action flick with a good back story, three popcorn kernels out of five.

 

Next, he was cast as a convict extra in Instinct, with Cuba Gooding and Anthony Hopkins. Again, it took weeks to shoot minutes on the screen. Sir Anthony (we all called him Tony) had broken his ankle shooting a previous scene where his character tried to escape at the airport and visited the set in his wheelchair. They had a hard time pushing him through the sand, until someone who had worked at a hospital and had experience with wheelchairs pointed out that the proper method was to pull the chair backward. That way the small front wheels didn’t dig into the sand and dump his lordship on his face. Cuba Gooding Jr. Was a lot of fun on the set, cracking jokes “in the yard” and wishing everyone good luck before the scenes were shot. The only possible instant where Master Kim could be seen in this film is just as Cuba tops the stairs to meet the warden on the rooftop. And, in that shot, the angle is wrong. Ninja invisibility strikes again, LOL A very good film, four stars.

 

Next came Waterboy with Adam Sandler. Sensei Kim is so small in that one, being far up in the crowd and holding a cardboard cutout on either side to make the crowd appear larger for the background shot, that he is “hidden in the leaves,” and completely unrecognizable once again. Ellen Jacoby, the casting director for the first Mortal Kombat TV series was in charge of that one. The security company she hired for the shoot was so lax that several petty thefts were committed on the set, which had never happened anywhere before, and Master Kim’s car was stolen from the parking lot during the fifth week of shooting. Having your car stolen is always a major inconvenience, especially if you have a Titlemax title loan or a Titlemax title pawn loan on your vehicle. Even though it was recovered a few days later, that sort of took the fun out of being in the movies and left a bad taste for the “professionals” from WPB. Henry Winkler was the highlight of that experience, warm and friendly, easy to approach and talk to. He always thanked the extras for coming out and sitting all day in the hot sun and allowing themselves to be herded about like a bunch of cattle. A good, if somewhat stereotypical Northern view of Southerners film. Lots of humor and physical comedy.  Two thumbs up.

 

In 1991 Sensei Kim was breaking away from Paladin Press when they were approached by a film company asking permission to use the cover of Secrets of the Ninja as a prop in a movie called Angel’s Dance. They referred the letter to Sensei, who spoke with a representative of the company about it. Other authors had been highly paid or paid highly for such a product placement, but Sensei merely told them he would be honored to simply contribute to the project. The story was about a young girl so lost and alone she was about to commit suicide when an assassin in training took a shot at her as part of his “test of worthiness,” and missed. Suddenly being forced to fight for her life, Angel goes into hiding and begins to train herself to fight back. One of the books she uses is Secrets of the Ninja. There is a scene, after she pulls a drive-by shooting in retribution against her attackers, where she is lying on the bed, laughing and celebrating her symbolic victory over them; and, if you look closely, laying on the pillow next to her can be seen a copy of the book, easily recognizable by it’s black cover and white highlight title placement. In sharp contrast, one of the books Angel reads has a homemade paper cover with the letters “CIA” crudely scrawled on the front. Apparently the author of that book wanted too big a fee, LOL  This is an excellent, if dark and brooding film, with a lot of symbolism and Jim Belushi as the comic relief, Zen spouting, assassin’s teacher; about self empowerment and finding one’s place in the world. The DOJO Movie Review Board gives it three snaps in a circle, LOL

 

All of which has led master Kim to describe his film career to date in the words of Lee Majors theme song for the Fall Guy TV series, The Unknown Stuntman.

"I’m not the kind to kiss and tell, but I’ve been seen with Farrah.

I’ve never been with anything less than a nine, so fine.

Been on fire with Sally Field, gone fast with a girl named Bo.

But somehow they just don’t end up as mine.

 

It’s a death-defying life I lead, I take my chances,

I die for a living in the movies and TV,

But the hardest thing I ever do is watch my leading lady,

Kiss some other guy, while I’m bandaging my knee.

 

I might fall from a tall building, I might roll a brand new car,

‘Cause I’m the unknown stuntman who made Redford such a star.

 

I’ve never spent much time in school but I’ve taught ladies plenty

It’s true I hire my body out for pay, hey, hey,

Gotten burned over Cheryl Tiegs, blown up for Raquel Welch,

But when I end up in the hay, it’s only hay, hey, hey,

 

I might jump an open drawbridge, or Tarzan from a vine,

‘Cause I’m the unknown stuntman who makes Eastwood look so fine,

 

I might fall from a tall building so Burt Reynolds don’t get hurt,

Leap a mighty canyon, so he can kiss and flirt,

But, while that smooth talker’s kissing my girl, I’m just kissing dirt,

‘Cause I’m the unknown stuntman that made a lover out of Burt..."

 

Thus, Master Kim is a true Ninja movie star. He is there, but is never actually seen. Like the Ninja of the Kabuki theatre, his actions move the plot along, but his hand is invisible. He is essential, yet he takes no credit; this is the true Way, without glory or fame. Remember, there are no small parts, only small actors. And, "all the world’s a stage..."

 

Ashida Kim Instructional Videos and Interviews

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