Posts Tagged ‘Ninja Movies’

If you’re child of the 80’s like we are you’ll probably remember seemingly endless stream of Ninja movies staring mustachioed white ninja called Gordon on the TV. Later I would find out that those were directed by the notorious Hong Kong director by the name of Godfrey Ho (also known as  Godfrey Hall, Benny Ho, Ho Chi-Mou and Ed Woo) who routinely used cut- and- paste method producing dozens of Ninja movies every year. One of the tricks he used was to buy an unfinished Taiwanese film (or 10) and pepper it with his default Ninja fight scenes to create a unique mutant of the Martial Arts genre (often featuring dual storylines by sheer necessity).

Most of those Joseph Lai produced gems featured Harrison (sometimes even without his knowledge or approval), anything from Ninja Terminator (1985) to Ninja Strike Force (1988). And I can’t forget all the brightly colored uniforms or those headbands with Ninja written on them to this day!

Quite possibly the greatest scene in the history of Martial Arts cinema!

To go back in time even more so Harrison started his career much like Eastwood acting in Italian movies– albeit initially in the sword and sandals genre (The Magnificent Gladiator). He would eventually move up to the more commercial Spaghetti Western films (Gunfight at Red Sands, also first Ennio Morricone scored film ever) before becoming the European answer to 007 aka 077 (no, I’m not making this up). Also you should definitely check out his Italian team- up with  Bruce Le called Challenge of the Tiger. Eurospy meets Bruceploitationyou don’t see that every day!

Beware of that buff Italian guy!

He also famously turned down the opportunity to act in A Fistful of Dollars and recommended Clint Eastwood for the role. He jokingly said he considers that his greatest contribution to the world of cinema.

He first started collaborating with a Hong Kong studio when he played  the title role of Marco Polo in  Shaw Brothers‘s production in 1975 and Commander von Waldersee in The Boxer Rebellion a year later. More than a decent start. But in the 80’s with the fall of both Western and Eurospy movies he ended up signing a multi- picture contract with Joseph Lai’s Imperial Entertainment which lead him to Godfrey Ho and as they say- the rest is history!

We want to thank Guru Khalid Khan for this wonderful interview, It’s really uplifting to see a legend like Harris still alive and kicking  while being charismatic as he ever was.

 

 

 

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You find that ninjas are cool? That’s OK. You find that Chuck Norris is cool? That’s OK too. But what happens when you put those 2 things together? I’ll tell you what… You get complete garbage which sends the studio which made it into bankruptcy! Tho I have no doubts that American Cinema was already hanging by a thin thread.

In this movie Chuck Norris is a ninja sent by ninja to destroy a band of terrorist ninjas. Sounds fun and simple, right? Well there are a couple of things that make watching this monstrosity a good bit harder. First, echo monologues inside Chuck’s head. Every fucking 3 minutes we are getting his echo saying “Ninjas, Ninjas”. You would think that he finally got  insane after couple of those monologues. But no, that’s just the way Chuck thinks…

Second, his Japanese brother Sakura. Yes, you heard well, Japanese!!!  How the hell he’s got a Japanese brother it was never explained. Nor I think it would be possible to explain without questioning the honesty of his mother (and we’re smart enough not to go there). Oh yes, did I mention that his brother is a leader of international band of terrorist ninjas against whom Chuck is  fighting in this movie? I didn’t? Oh well, some families are just weirder than others.

Chuck is also a bit of a ladies man in this movie. The fact that one of the ladies gets brutally killed and he doesn’t really mind, and finds himself a next one ( a raven haired agent chick) in a mater of minutes would be impressive if it wasn’t so damn awkward and nonsensical. But that’s Chuck for you- he can do anything, I mean ANYTHING but act!

  “We can all guess who’s that man, can’t we?”

One more thing… Legendary Lee Van Cleef (of  The Good, the Bad, the Ugly fame) was also in this movie. It remains a mystery to me how he managed to remain a true professional and play it completely seriously until the end of filming of this brain-raper! My hat is off to him.

Verdict: If you have a strange need to see some ninjas throwing it down with the Chuck watch this clip, Norris and Richard Norton (in his first film role) make the final fight entertaining enough to watch. Everything else- AVOID AT ALL COST IF YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR SANITY!

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Around the late 70s Cannon Inc. had hit serious financial difficulties, and naturally previous owners sold Cannon as fast as they could. Cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus bought Canon for whooping price of 500,000 dollars! The two cousins than  forged a “magnificent” business model which consisted of buying bottom-barrel scripts that lingered (seemingly for all times) in development hell and putting them rapidly into  production. Of course they paired an (at best) third rate script with a second rate director, ridiculous budget and a STAR, by that I mean: ( INCREDIBLY old) Charles Bronson/ Chuck Norris and/or Michael Dudikoff.

At certain point (at the time of filming of Masters of the Universe with Dolph Lundgren) they had about 84 movies in development- to put things into perspective the most films any other studio had in production was Warner Brothers and they had 6 movies!!!  They also held the rights for Spiderman movie until the late 80s but the movie was never produced (and we can all agree it was for the best).

 By the beginning of the 90s their “perfect” system FINALLY came crashing down and they called it a day with a Albert Pyun’s Cyborg (staring young Van Damme) made on the sets of failed Masters sequel. MGM of course came to offer an assistance and a merger of studios ensued but MGM couldn’t really help themselves let alone anybody else.

*In late 2011 it was revealed that Australian director Mark Hartley is working on a documentary about Cannon Films called Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films.”

Arrow to the head, Dudikoff style!

After a complete disaster of an American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt, directors have somehow  managed to convince the  franchise veteran Michael Dudikoff to come back for one more sequel. Oh ,how delusional were they. Not only did he fail at raising the quality of the picture but the movie turned out to be even worse than it’s prequel. And how could he have saved this picture anyway? He is not much of an actor (tho in this part he did put the most effort since the beginning of  the franchise). His feeble attempts to play a role of martial arts master had been heavily crippled by the fact that he doesn’t know anything about martial arts, fighting and generally acting overall. The only successful fighting scenes were the ones when he was wearing a mask which made me think that some poor stunt-double  had to work extra hard that day.

The less being said about the other roles the better. Bradley is decent enough of a lead (he is at least a real martial artist for a change) but he gets captured fairly easily in the first quoter of a film ( by a giant net nevertheless) and mostly does nothing but shows off  his pecs while being tied or tortured. Main love interest (?) doesn’t do anything but smile/ or scream, and a default black sidekick doesn’t do even that. Villains are cartoonish as it gets- we have a dictator who enjoys torturing people and can’t decide is he attracted to young boys or older women, his partner, an Islamic fundamentalist (with the Russian accent for some reason) who threatens to punish  “the infidels” and has immortal lines like “Take me to Mekka” while he flees the scene in a helicopter.

                        There’s also this Mexican Wrestler- looking dude in there somewhere, what’s his connection                                         with the Ninjas or the South African background we can only guess.

I am not sure if this was  originally in the script but I could swear that the crew of this movie accidentally crashed into the filming set of “Mad Max” (possibly the Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior ) at one point since a bunch of  savage motorcycle gang members suddenly appeared without any descent explanation.

There are a LOT of things wrong with this picture but I won’t waste any more time- yours or mine- on this garbage! This is a part where I leave you to marvel at the many deaths of many ninjas… a main by-product of this horrible picture.

Ninjas – Now in all colors and sizes