Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ninja. Code. Heroes. Death. Warrior. Fire. Squad. Pick Three. Instant Movie Title!

Ninja Death Squad  (Filmark International, 1987)

Before the Camera:

Glen Carson (Ninja 8: Warriors of Fire)
Joff Houston (Ninja Phantom Heroes)
John Wilford (Death Code: Ninja)
Jonathan Isgar (Ninja: American Warrior)

Actually, all of the above guys are in all of the above movies. Except that punk Wilford, who broke out on his own with that Death Code: Ninja movie...

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Tommy Cheng (Godfrey Ho)

Produced by Tomas Tang (Godfrey Ho)

Written by   no one would take the blame credit, but I bet it was Godfrey Ho, too tired to come up with another fake name  - you know, something like "Thommy Pong".

    Legends tell of a movie producer who went mad in the 80's and shot about a million feet of film showing nothing but crazy ninja action. Ninjas fighting, ninjas battling, ninjas wrestling, ninjas tussling, ninjas killing, ninjas dying. Then he shot several "plot" sequences using about 6 actors and about 1 plot. He then disappeared into the mythical Editing Room of Mora Tau, and emerged a few months later with more ninja movies than anyone had ever seen, or would ever want to. (Except for me). His name? Godfrey Ho. (Well, of course!)
    This is normally where I'd recount the plot. Except this time there isn't any. There's a couple of guys, and everybody else wants to kill them. Lucky thing they're both ninjas! Cue ninja action for 80 minutes. Roll credits.
    Needless to say, I loved this movie.

Here's a really terrible picture, but two things: it was literally the only photo from this movie available on the entire internet; and it does show the epic ninja umbrella battle!

    This is a very cheap flick, with some of the worst dubbing I've ever seen, rivalling Challenge of the Tiger, but in a different way. In that Bruce Le/Richard Harrison movie, the acting of the dubbing was actually not bad, it was that the words and the lips really never matched, even to the point of entire conversations going on with no one moving their mouths. Here, total opposite: they try really hard to match the amount of dialogue to the amount of lip movement, but it results in short choppy sentences that literally sound like they were made up on the spot, with three or four performers doing all their "best" voices to provide sound for all the speaking roles in the movie. Truly wretched dialogue results, made all the more heavenly when every fourth voice sounds like one of the guys' Arnold Stang impression.
     Sealing the deal for me is that this is ninja action of the "superhuman" variety. (Lesson #1: ninjas who obey the laws of nature and physics are BORING ninjas). You know you're in for a good time when in the first few minutes, the lead throws down a smoke bomb, there's an obvious cut, with a completely different cloud of smoke, and the hero is instantly in his ninja outfit, ready to fight. Later on, they run out of smoke bombs and the jump cut change is done right in front of your eyes, making it even more impressive. (And by more impressive I mean less impressive). These ninjas also can jump a few stories straight up; throw their costume so cloth flies out of their sleeve like a bad Las Vegas stage magician's 'neverending scarves' trick and wrap around a fleeing enemy's neck; make themselves into a see through apparition like Topper, and produce weaponry that must be coming from some mysterious 'ninja pocket dimension' they carry with them, because it would hurt too much to have this stuff hidden in any orifices.
    So in the end, you may have no idea what's going on moment to moment, but in those moments you'll see ninjas doing neat stuff, lots of machine gun fire and explosions, a flamethrower, and at least one woman wandering around in a jungle wearing a micromini skirt. What more could anyone ask?

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At 14:58, after having their clocks cleaned, one of our dubbed bad guy voices flings out The Line to propose taking their timepieces elsewhere.

Eye Candy ?

There are at least two women in this movie, onscreen for at least 47 seconds. I think. Nope, no winners this time.

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Ninja Death Squad is Ho-key fun, by Godfrey!"

 Til next time, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. The official name for the ninja pocket dimension is "hammerspace".

  2. I remember going to see a ninja flick of similar quality. We were in a dinky theater, and I think there were about 10 people in the entire room. It was the kind of film where you rewrite the dialogue as it plays, because you can come up with better lines, and the talking is superfluous anyway.

    Some dude behind us fetched the manager. Complained that he couldn't follow the movie because we were laughing over the dialogue.

    Maybe he picked up the movie tie-in book later.