Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ninja Champion

The Action Mutant…
says Godfrey Ho is a very appropriate name.

Ninja Champion

review by Joe Burrows

It had to happen this way, eh? I take a sabbatical from writing these and when I come back, the first link I click is for a goddamn Godfrey Ho “film”! That’s like the whole thing about being told not to touch the stove when it’s hot. You just know you’re going to get burned but….bloody hell! Free movie sites, ladies and germs….a gift and a curse.

The Plot, as it was:
Nancy Chang plays Rose, a woman that is beaten and raped during a camping trip. She decides to go all Paula Kersey on each of the rapists, infiltrating the diamond syndicate they are apart of. That conflicts with her Interpol agent husband George (Jack Lam), who is going after said syndicate as well. Oh, and there’s also a twin sister, Richard Harrison (Ninja Dragon) talking on a Garfield phone (no shit, really), George in a Lionel Ritchie jacket and a bunch of ninjas. We know this because it says “ninja” on their headbands. The crack rock was really being passed about here, folks!

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
And I thought Ninja Dragon was dumb! Leave it to Godfrey Ho, master of the “recycled ninja” film genre to top the previous film of his I reviewed for sheer idiocy. There’s no plot to speak of; instead, it’s a series of contrivances and ninja battles that are connected together by the loosest of threads. As with Dragon (and about every other work in Ho’s career), this is because Ho pieces together scenes from unfinished products with random ninja duels in an attempt to resemble a coherent film. This practice is about as successful as ESPN being able to not talk about the New York Yankees for more than five minutes. I’m sure the braintrust felt that adding the diamond smuggling subplot would make the flick more epic but it honestly would have been better as a straight revenge pic. How much better it would have been is certainly arguable but I imagine it wouldn’t have been by much. Sadly, the action isn’t real plentiful and even the surefire, campy ninja duels lack that certain campy charm. Along with some grand continuity errors (watch a woman’s top get ripped off, only to see her escape with a different top on…one that I assume she carries in her purse for occasions such as that) and more plot holes to shake a staff at, Ninja Champion is a sometimes unpleasant, sometimes (unintentionally) hilarious and always confounding work of dumbassery. Did I mention Richard Harrison shows up for all of 30 seconds, while talking on a fucking GARFIELD PHONE?!? Oh well, he wasn’t the only one “phoning it in” here. BAH-ZING!

Body Count/Violence: 17. More baddies are beaten up than killed here, which is a bit disheartening. There are the usual kung fu fights as well as some shooting, stabbing, whipping, drowning, choking, severing of hands, etc. The death is more generic this time around, which is not a good thing for a film this bad.

Sexuality/Nudity: There are a few smatterings of gratuitous nudity here, as Chang provides at least one memorable glimpse of her chest (which leads to an equally memorable death). Along with getting her top yanked off (though she’s wearing a bra), there are a few other sexual scenes that imply more than they show. There’s also a brief shot of a guy’s backside during an attempted removing of his manhood (whew!).

Language/Dialogue: Mild but not overly strong.

How bad was it?:
If you have reviewed this film (trust me; leave it to the professionals...or me), you either deem it as “so bad, it’s good” or “this just sucks”. More seem to head toward the latter.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Ninja Champion was released through IFD Films & Arts Ltd. (dig the Asian version of the Columbia Pictures torchbearer!) in Hong Kong sometime in 1985. You can most likely find it (if you’re that gluttonous for punishment) on the Martial Arts Collection 50 movie pack, which includes many other titles I’ve reviewed.

Film: BOMB/*****
Entertainment value: **/*****

Copyright 2008 The Action Mutant.

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