Cast: Bruce Baron, Pierre Tremblay, Philip Ching
Reading Mike's Dante's
Inferno site recently reminded me that, besides covering Albert
at least once, that B movie web sites should at least once cover one of
those "ninja" movies released in the 80s. No, I don't mean the ones
by Cannon (American Ninja, Enter The Ninja,
etc.) - I mean the ones made in Hong Kong, and released on video by
Word Entertainment or Imperial. Ninja movies from Hong Kong? I know
people will need an explanation, so I'll give one now.
In the mid '80s, the ninja craze was at its highest,
with Cannon Pictures
releasing several Sho Kosugi ninja movies, and the Michael Dudikoff American
Ninja movies. So it was inevitable that other outfits even
and more low-budgeted that Cannon would crank out their own ninja
for a few quick bucks. A lot of these were made overseas, and this is
it gets interesting. Hong Kong movie producer Joseph Lai and director
Ho (a.k.a. Benny Ho, Chung Sing Ho, Charles Lee, and other names) made
the bulk of these ninja movies. Only these movies weren't originally
to be ninja movies! Godfrey Ho has made a career of taking movies that
were never finished for one reason or another, and then shooting
footage to make something that could technically be called a movie, but
is really a mess. My previous experience with Ho is limited; I though
the non-ninja Under Police Protection (a.k.a. Princess
Madam), was passable, but I found out recently that the reason
for its overall competence seems to be that the movie was almost
by others before it was stopped.
With these ninja movies, Godfrey Ho took unfinished
movies that seemed
to cover a number of different genres (the other Godfrey Ho
movie I've seen - I forget the title - seemed to originally been a kind
of a clone of Fatal Attraction!), then hired some
Caucasian actors dressed in multi-colored ninja suits and wearing
that read "Ninja". (Actually, not all of these Caucasian actors
are anonymous - Italian star Richard Harrison is also a regular.
I've read claim he was hired for one Hong Kong movie, but his
was used for dozens of these pseudo-ninja movies!) Then for each
movie, Ho shot several minutes of footage of these Caucasian ninjas
the crap out of each other, then edited them into the movie, using
to attempt to link the old footage to this new footage. The result is,
as you might be thinking, a big mess. Some of these movies are supposed
to be highly entertaining in a so-bad-its-good sense, but the two I've
seen in my lifetime haven't reached that level. But these movies are so
wacko, I have a feeling some people will think higher of the two I've
including Ninja Champion. This is another movie where
best way to review it is to give more or less a description of it -
I'll start doing now.
Ninja Champion was released on video by
Trans World Entertainment,
and like the others they released, each entry of this "Ninja Theater"
hosted by ninja star Sho Kosugi. The very badly videotaped opening
Kosugi bowing before a Buddha statue. He then speaks a few words to us
in slightly slurry English about the weapon he's going to show us for
video - the bo! He waves it around a bit. Then we suddenly change to an
outdoor scene where two ninjas attack a ninja with a bo. (All the
are masked, so you can't tell if Sho is the central ninja.) In about
seconds, the ninja with a bo takes down his opponents, and we suddenly
cut back to Kosugi saying, "Welcome to the Ninja Theater!" Fade out.
this and the beginning of the actual movie, I was thinking that I had
the answer to the question, "What caused Sho Kosugi to disappear from
Ninja Champion then starts, with shots of
Hong Kong from
the water, which seems to be the way a third of Hong Kong movies start.
Suddenly, we are taken to the Hong Kong countryside, where in a
wooded area, we see a tent vibrating, and hear the sounds of voices.
caused by three punks (one wearing clown makeup) tormenting a married
inside. Everyone eventually bursts out and runs around, with the punks
making "Ooga booga! Ooga booga!" noises. The punks tie up the man, and
start to further torment the bikini-clad woman, giving her a BIG punch
in the stomach and then whipping her.
Next, we see the woman lying on an operating table at a
(this is the first of many "apparently"s in the movie) she was raped,
apparently she has some kind of serious injury. The lead surgeon wants
to give her gas, but she refuses - she wants the pain. Huh - why?
I'm just getting started with what the movie fails to explain.
Next, we see this same woman pull up to some office
and go up to this office, where some people looking like gangsters are.
There's some senior guy (unnamed) behind the desk who is apparently
to look at some diamonds or something. The woman starts to pull off her
top, and the camera starts to zoom in. But before things start to get
bottom part of the screen frosts over! Hiss! Boo! What the hell is
up with that censorship? And we don't know if she's actually wearing
diamonds or not, despite her immediately saying next, "This is just a
of the diamonds." Does she actually have diamonds, or is just being
Anyway, she is invited to the senior's party that night, where she
with his brother, an Asian boxing champion. We still don't know
At the same time, elsewhere in Hong Kong (though it's
daylight in this
part of the city), a mustached Caucasian named "Donald" gets a call
"Richard" from Washington, who seems to be some sort of secret agent
Richard starts explaining things to Donald about the situation, though
he's unsuccessful in fully explaining things to the audience. We do
from Richard that the three rapists belong to some sort of diamond
Several second later after hearing this, Donald exclaims, "Wait a
Do you mean there's some connection between the rape and the diamond
the hell???? You moron, he just told you that! Anyway, we also
that the name of the woman is "Rose" and apparently the name of the
guy she was talking to is "Robert". Richard tells Donald to back off
now, for no apparent reason except to allow more showing of the
We then go back to Rose, who is in the Asian boxing
room, and both of them are drinking wine and making out. He soon has
blouse undone, and is applying oral pleasure to her boobies. After a
seconds, he starts to choke and gasp. "There must have been something
the wine!" he gasps. Rose sneers at him and says, "Not the wine - my
you jerk!" As he struggles to stay alive, she gets information about
other rapists from him, at one point taking out a piece of black string
to whip him into submission. Of course, he dies, and we finally find
his name from the obituary on the TV. If you still care, his name was
Where are the ninjas?
We go back to Donald, who is talking to the man we saw
tied up at the
beginning of the movie. We find out his name is "George", and that he
formerly married to Rose. Donald tells George that he wants George to
his former wife - so that together they can wipe out the gang! Donald
to George that since George is an Interpol agent, he has a license to
("You'll have the responsibility for the job," Donald reasons.) George
doesn't know what to make of all of this - maybe he's also puzzled by
fact that in this scene there's not one shot that shows George and
together! Obviously, Ho did some cut-and-paste here. When George
the room, he gets a phone call from Rose.
Apparently, they set a meeting time and place, for the
next scene shows
them meeting in some isolated spot. George seems happy to see Rose, but
Rose doesn't seem happy. She tells George that she plans to kill George
for abandoning her after the rape. "Heh heh...Well, I've changed my
laughs George. We also find out in this scene that George has
And we also find out that the rape just happened two months earlier!!!
Wow, that was one quick divorce, courtship, and remarriage! Rose tells
George, "You can help me if you like, but I'll still kill you." George
is a good sport, and agrees to help neverless.
It's fortunate for Rose that George agreed to help,
because all of a
sudden they are attacked by several people skilled in the martial arts!
Who are these people? Why are they attacking? Never explained. Rose
her top ripped off by one of the attackers, and flees the scene,
George to use his own martial arts skills to beat these people up. As
fights, Rose makes her way to the bottom of a hill where there's a
Not only has her top suddenly returned, it's a different color now!
We suddenly cut to a different scene happening at the
same time. Oh,
here are some ninjas! Three or so ninjas with red outfits are bowing to
a fourth ninja on top of a big rock. This ninja (who's Caucasian)
and makes mention of some secret plans these ninjas have. He then says,
"There's a woman doing the killing for us," - I guess he means Rose -
says that they don't have to act right now. However, they will keep an
eye on Donald...
Wow! Slam-bang ninja action!
Back to the bottom of the hill, Rose is suddenly
arrested by a mysterious
cop, and placed in his car. They drive out to some abandoned warehouse,
where the "cop" reveals that he's actually one of the three rapists!
handcuffed, Rose amazingly makes good work on him by whacking him with
her high heeled shoes in hand, leading him around a merry chase around
the warehouse (where her handcuffs mysteriously disappear), and soon
injures him in a crash in his car. But before Rose can finish him off,
she hears approaching sirens, and runs off.
The rapist is taken to hospital, all bandaged up. Rose
herself as a nurse and enters the hospital. When the guard outside the
rapist's room sees this nice nurse enter the room, he gets up for no
reason and leaves the area. Alone with the rapist, Rose tortures him
information about the third rapist, jabbing a hypodermic needle in his
groin when he's initially reluctant to talk. When she gets the
she needs, she pulls out a gun and shoots him twice in the head. I
know about you, but if there was a shooting in a hospital, I think it
bring immediate attention to the area. Not in this hospital - Rose gets
Meanwhile, in some wooded area, a guy practices using a
staff with some
sort of blade on it. A white ninja (who I think is Donald - his face is
hooded) enters the area, and starts to get in a fight with this guy for
no apparent reason. I think Ho figured out during this fight that
were expecting ninja vs. ninja fights, because at one point, the white
ninja is suddenly fighting a red ninja! Where did the guy with the
go - did he turn into that red ninja? Anyway, after a few seconds more,
the white ninja bloodlessly kills the red ninja. The scene ends.
Rose and George meets again. He wants to start their
but Rose isn't that enthusiastic. She goes after the third rapist.
she is planning the way to kill the third rapist, George takes a walk
the countryside, where he is suddenly attacked by more anonymous
martial arts attackers. George kicks the crap out of these guys like
but with a little twist. At one point, he jumps into the air and disappears!
That's one martial arts move I never heard of before.
Rose's plans for getting the third rapist fails - the
bad guys have
finally caught on, and they capture her, and seal her in some kind of
The white ninja then pops up again at another isolated place, where he
sees a red ninja with some sickles, and is spinning a plate on one of
The two clash swords for several seconds and the red ninja is
killed. Then someone who looks just like Rose, named "Cherry" pops up
captures one of the bad guys, before the diamond trade is to begin.
Well, I have more notes, but I have a feeling that it's
to type anymore. Ninja Champion is simply one of the
insane so-called "movies" that I've ever seen. From rereading my
I know it sounds funny and pretty zippy in its pace. Actually, though,
the movie is a little slow and clunky, and it's not quite as amusing as
it sounds. It's so messed up, that I got a little headache after a
Still, it has quite a few hilarious moments, and it's so screwed up
in a way it must be seen. So I'm giving it a luke warm review - because
I know from experience there have been a lot worse Hong Kong cheapie
made. On the other hand, there have been a lot better Hong Kong
I have a feeling that of these dozens of "ninja" movies, there must be
at least a few that are so-bad-they're-good. Since there are so many
there still in video stores, there must be people out there who have
the others, and have found the few gems. If you are one of them, let me
for availability on Amazon (DVD)
See also: Ninja: Silent
Assassin, Fantasy Mission Force, Robotrix