American Ninja was a 1985 action film. It was part of the cheap, quick movies produced by Golan & Globus’ Cannon Films. Like many of these movies, they had a strong sense of what young teenage boys would like to see. American Ninja and its ilk cunningly fit an under-served niche.

Thus, while the movie was very much 1980s home video schlock, it made an impression on many kids. Plus, there wasn’t much to compare it to given the state of video distribution back then.

This profile only covers the first American Ninja movie (yes, it became a series). Oh, there are S P O I L E R S, but… meh.

Corporal Jackson was played by Steve James. One suspects that Mr. James would have been the lead of the movies had he been White, since his martial arts skills, stunt skills, physical fitness and acting ability were more solid than much of the movie.



  • Real Name: Corporal Curtis Jackson.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: U.S. Army.
  • Base Of Operations: Fort Sonora, U.S. Army supply group, Philippines.
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black

Powers and Abilities

Jackson is a tough, competent, professional soldier — as well as a superior martial artist, bodybuilder and firearms specialist.

He seems to have extensive experience with military police work, and to be trained in both karate and boxing.



Corporal Jackson was a well-respected MP in a U.S. Army supply base in the Philippines. One fine day, a certain Private Armstrong was transferred there.

For the rest of the story, such as it is, see our Joe Armstrong entry.

Corporal Jackson (Steve James) and other Army men


Corporal Jackson sports a deep, manly voice and an expressive face.


Jackson is a tough guy, a street type made good by the Army. He’s very loyal toward his men, and enjoys the company of fellow badasses.

Jackson is often looking for some opportunities to make money on the side, such as a martial arts exhibition.


The trailer in gleaming 1080p.


“Have you ever heard about ninjutsu, sir ? The secrets of assassination.”

(While grabbing an opponent by the testes) “How do you like that, little nuts ?”

Corporal Jackson (Steve James) and Joe Armstrong in dress uniform

“Every place you go, there is someone who thinks he’s a badass, right ? Then there are those few who are.”

“ Colonel, may I suggest we got back to the base, round up some men and kick some ass ? Sir ?”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Corporal Jackson

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Soldier
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 016 HP: 035

Charisma (Interrogation): 04, Detective (Clue analysis): 02, Martial artist: 05, Vehicles (Land): 04, Weaponry (Infantry weapons): 05

Familiarity (Martial arts lore, Military police work), Military Rank (Corporal, was later promoted to Sergeant).

This Man’s Army (Low), Pvt. Armstrong (High).

Negative, SIR !


  • Jackson often rides his pride and joy, a red Sports Motorbike [STR 03 BODY 05, Running: 06, R#2 – if using the optional acceleration rules the top speed is 6.3 and the acceleration is 4.95]. This bike was tentatively identified as a Kawasaki GPz750, perhaps in its Turbo version.
  • During the final assault he was riding in an Army Jeep [STR 05 BODY 06, Running: 06, R#2] with two other soldiers with standard stats (one with a M16, and Charlie the driver with Vehicle (Land): 05). Jackson operated a pintle-mounted M60 [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 07, Ammo: 06, R#03, Recommended STR 03 (none when using a bipod and the Bracing Bonus, or the pintle mount), Advantage: Autofire, Drawback: Long Reload, MPR (heavy and cumbersome – cutting movement speed by 1 – unless your STR is 2 APs above the Rec. STR]. The jeep carries multiple ammunition belts for the M60 – for most purposes it gives it unlimited Ammo.
  • M1911A1 Colt .45 handgun [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 07, R#03].
  • K-bar combat knife [BODY 06, EV 03 (05 w/STR, 06 w/Martial artist)].

Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Corporal Jackson — Averaged PL 6.4

02 03 02 02 05 01 01 01

Combat Advantages

Chokehold, Close attack 2, Defensive Roll 2, Improved trip, Ranged attack 2.

Other Advantages

Benefit 1 (Well-regarded MP), Equipment 2.


Athletics 3 (+5), Deception 1 (+2), Expertise (Martial arts lore) 4 (+5), Expertise (Military police) 5 (+6), Insight 3 (+4), Intimidation 2 (+3), Investigation 2 (+3), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 1 (+2), Ranged combat (Infantry weapons) 3 (+7), Vehicles 4 (+6) (Limited 2 to common land vehicles).


Motorcycle. Jackson can also be assigned military equipment as any soldier.


Initiative +2
Unarmed +7, Close, Damage 2
Firearms +7, Ranged, Damage varies by type


Dodge 8 Fortitude 7
Parry 8 Toughness 5/3*
Will 6

* Without Defensive Roll


  • Nah.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack/Effect PL 5, Dodge/Toughness PL 7, Parry/Toughness PL 7, Fort/Will PL 7.
  • Point total 78. Abilities 34, Defences 18, Skills 15, Powers 0, Devices 0, Advantages 11. Equiv. PL 6.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: American Ninja I. Further appearances of this character – played by Steve James – have not been researched at this point.

Helper(s): Dr. Peter Piispanen, Roy Cowan. Tentative motorbike identification from the forum at