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Movie Review No.14: Ninja Terminator


There are no words to describe this film. Just click the link.

For those that have never heard of the film work of Godfrey “GOD” Ho here’s a brief introduction. He is quite often referred to as the Asian Ed Wood. He’s credited with the production of around 80-100 movies and at some point in the early 80s he churned out a series of Ninja Z-Movies starring one formerly mildly popular B-movie actor int he form of Richard Harrison. These films were largely cut and spliced from various over films he had made at the time. Sometimes partially, often entirely. Some of his ninja films have gained quite the cult following. They are, Golden Ninja Warrior, Ninja Squad and the subject of today’s review… Ninja Terminator.

The plot goes something like this. Ninja Master Tiger has acquired the three pieces of the golden ninja warrior statue which will grant him invincibility against any weapons. His three students led by Ninja Master Harry (Harrison) steal a piece of the statue each and flee the Ninja base camp. Now I can’t tell why they all steal a piece of the statue because there’s no indication they’re working together after this first scene and apparently you only need one piece to become invincible but steal them as a team they do. We are then treated to a lot of ninjas running down stairs and cartwheeling down corridors. This is some hardcore ninja action we’ve got here.

So 2 years later women’s wig aficionado Tiger (that’s him in the top image) wants his statue back and is sending his ninjas and any thugs he can get after it. In a story telling dick move these ninjas easily kill the only Asian of the three ninjas and it’s down to Harry and a guy who’s name I’ve forgotten and can’t even find and apparently neither can imdb to keep their statue pieces from these guys. Except they don’t really do much except get attack in their home, have a fight with each other for no reason and receive messages from a toy robot. Also that second ninja kinda looks like a young Ozzy Osbourne when in his black ninja get up.

Now after the Asian ninja is killed by a lone throwing star to the back things get a bit hazy. the ninja that kills him has the statue piece, but his boss seems unaware of it and for some reason thinks that Asian ninjas next of kin might have it. But then the ninja he sent just hands it over to Tiger’s right hand man later. Except the ninja has it again at the end.

TRAITOR! LISTEN! YOU FORGOT ABOUT ME!!!

Oh yeah, the toy robot… god this thing is amazing. As far as I can tell it’s a Japanese partial Takara figure that was later used as Omega Supreme for the Transformers toy lines. It turns up at the 2 American ninjas house from time to time to spray some smoke about and deliver messages, sometimes with a threatening booming voice, sometimes via VHS. Oh and they have top loading VHS players which I have never seen before. These aren’t Beta Max players cos it actually has VHS on top of it. So Ninja Master Harry has one of these show up at his house to inform him that he has three days to hand Tiger the piece of the Golden Ninja Statue he holds. Harry then gets on his Garfield Phone… yeah, that happens, and he receives a phone call from the evil ninja empire. Which begs the question why send a robot to deliver the message when they have his phone number. Also the guy he talks to, pretty sure he never shows up again and may actually be from an entirely different movie.

Luckily harry has a friend to go around slapping bad dudes for him called Jaguar Wong. This guy is the mack daddy of badasses. He literally spends 90% of his screen time kicking the arses of everyone who gets in his way. I’m pretty sure some of them are just innocent bystanders because I have no idea where they came from. His fights are actually pretty awesome, this guys got skills. At one point he kicks open the boot of a car, kicks one of the bad guys into it and stomps it shut. Pure awesome. He is non-stop cool even when tied to a chair with knives at his neck he stays cool and then proceeds to beat the three guys up whilst still strapped to said chair. He is very much from the late 70s Jackie Chan school of butt kicking. He even get’s to fight and defeat Tiger which you think would be Harrys goal.

Throughout the film there is one bizarre and shockingly inept scene after another. Shots are framed terribly, often cutting oprs and characters off at the side of the screen. Two scenes in particular stand out. One where the brother and sister of the Asian Ninja from earlier are discussing what happened to him at his grave stone. the brother talks for a good minute while he is off camera, his sister is just in shot and the camera is focused entirely on the side of the grave and about 40% of the screen is taken up with a mound of dirt and grass. In another scene Tiger acquires a time bomb from some scientist inventor dude. Nearly the whole scene has one of both of these characters out of shot with only their hands or part of their head in camera.

The time bomb is a weird moment in the film worth looking at. It’s an alarm clock in the briefcase, so far so bomb like, except for one issue. It seems to activate itself without anyone knowing. See the bad guys are arranging an exchange of prisoners with Jaguar Wong and they warn him, after a brief body swap betrayal, that they have a remote control which will activate the time bomb and blow the Asian Ninja’s sister (Mizuki I think) sky high. Except they cut to her and the bombs already ticking away and she’s trying to get free. The bad guys threaten to hit the button but Jaguar Wong kicks a small ornamental stone at the remote knocking it out the bad guys hand. I’m guessing he has a bad back because he doesn’t try to pick it up, nor does Jaguar Wong go for it to deactivate the time bomb. Instead he kicks some arse and then drives to where Mizuki is held, not that he knew, and frees her just in time. At this point, as he is approaching the bomb to defuse it… something he could have avoided if he just picked up the remote, the image stutters along every few frames. Now I’ll be honest, I thought this was the dvd screwing up. Except it never happens again and the image stayed stable the whole time. Weirdest attempt at slow mo ever.

Top ninjas use Garfield phones.

So yeah, Mizuki is saved, Tiger is defeated and we approach our finale. The three remaining ninjas pretty much known as Red Ninja, Ozzy Osbourne and the camouflage wearing Harry (oh yeah, he wears a camofluage ninja costume, you know, cos ninjas hide and he’s American) to fight it out for control of the Golden Warrior Statue. They each use the statues powers to make themselves invincible and have a three way fight edited by a palsy victim with a sledgehammer…. where did I steal that line from? Anyway, they fight, the powers wear off, Ozzy is killed and the Red ninja feels so ashamed that he commits hari kiri by blowing himself up while Harry picks up the statue. The last shot of the film is beautiful. Harry is holding up the statue with a look of.. well a look of not being all that bothered while in the background the Red Ninja blows up and Harry just kinda turns to look as though he’s been mildly distracted by something. It’s an hilarious shot.

You've gotta see this for yourself to truly get how hilarious it is when Harry turns around.

This film is a wreck. Everything about it is amateurish and shockingly bad, well except Jaguar Wong, he’s amazing. The sound is mixed by a mad man and I swear half of the music has been pinched from elsewhere, there’s definitely some Star Wars used in the opening production company’s logo. All the voices are dubbed over by the same 2 guys, one of which feels the need to throw in a few random British accents. Shots are framed terribly and edits are haphazard at best. Same shots and scenes are even reused with different dialogue at one point in the film. And yet I can’t hate it. It’s got that certain something films like Troll 2 and Teenagers From Outer Space have where it’s just plain amazing to view. Some films are bad, some films are so bad they’re good, some films are so bad that they’re hilarious and by that latter scale this is the most hilarious film ever. Watch it with friends with the sound turned up and if at all possible with some form of drinking game involved. I suggest taking a shot every time Jaguar Wong is awesome. You’ll be dead in 20 minutes.

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About lvl54spacemonkey

Just a dude who likes movies and games and has delusions of working in one of those industries. Write screenplays and work on short films in my spare time. Most of which never get finished. View all posts by lvl54spacemonkey

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