A dopey martial arts student from Tonga is sent to New Zealand to protect a Chinese restaurant in “Tongan Ninja,” a juvenile slice of kung-phooey that aims to be a Down Under parody of Bruce Lee’s 1972 “The Way of the Dragon.” Amateur-night humor and inept acting make this a long haul after the joke wears off in the first few minutes, though the pic could have a small cult career offshore revoiced in local languages by well-known names.
After studying martial arts on a Pacific island under a Japanese master, Sione (Sam Manu) is dispatched to Wellington, where the eatery-owning uncle of Miss Lee (Linda Tseng) is being harassed by moneylenders. Between facing off against computer-game characters like Knife Man and Gun Man, Sione also has an old boyhood enemy, Marvin (co-scripter Jemaine Clement), to deal with. Production values are bottom-end, direction by first-timer Jason Stutter uninspired, and Manu’s goofy perf laborious. Fight scenes are (perhaps deliberately) clunky.