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RUNNING TIME: 950 Minutes
- 3 discs that include 10 Ninja movies of enormous disdain!
A collection of 10 movies designed to illustrate the ancient history of the Ninja, as well as how awful the movies about them really were.
There are 10 MOVIES, a million people in them, with Yuen Biao and Richard Harrison arguably being the best known. The Nutshell There was a time when Ninjas were the coolest things around. Every kid I knew wanted to be one, or at the very least dress like one. Who didn’t want to walk around the place, sword in hand dispensing justice from behind a hooded visage? They were mysterious, deadly and often times evil – which to a kid of 6 or 7 was awesome! When we would watch these movies we thought they were the greatest things in town, with fabulous stories and rockin’ effects.
This image completely hates you.
We were wrong. Either that or we were stupid, which in any case amounts to the same thing. In hindsight not one of those Ninja movies we loved were any good, and in case you had forgotten just how bad some of them could be, VIDEOASIA is happy to remind you with this tremendously hideous array of some of the worst things you’re ever likely to see.
There was a time when Ninjas were the coolest things around. Every kid I knew wanted to be one, or at the very least dress like one. Who didn’t want to walk around the place, sword in hand dispensing justice from behind a hooded visage? They were mysterious, deadly and often times evil – which to a kid of 6 or 7 was awesome! When we would watch these movies we thought they were the greatest things in town, with fabulous stories and rockin’ effects.
The Hong Kong remake of Se7en.
Here’s what I’m going to do: because I had to sit through these wretched things I’m going to do a quick rundown of these Ninja flicks because I don’t want to use up precious internet space that could be better used on a Ron Ely fansite.
1. NINJITSU (NINJUTSU GOZEN-JIAI) – 1957: The first thing that stands out in the #1 entry in the so-called “ninja history” collection, is that these aren’t really the ninjas we grew up with. Some of them use magical powers, like telekinesis and disappearing abilities (although this would become a staple in ninja movies decades later, it would usually be accompanied with a puff of smoke – here there’s nothing), but the look is the same. In fact this is a very well shot movie, the black & white picture really looks sharp, but the story involving some goofy kid is rather boring. Overall not a bad first movie in the set.
Best Viewed: With the sound of doves fluttering behind you.
2: NINJA HUNT (NINJA GARI) - 1964: Four wandering ronin’s team up to stop some evil Ninjas from keeping the rightful heir to the throne from his crown. Now this is a blast of a movie, again presented in black & white. It’s a fairly violent movie for the time, with people getting slashed all over and whatnot. Played completely straight it is probably the darkest entry among these movies, and arguably the best – although that could be debated.
Best Viewed: Completely alert and without Royal Dano bothering you.
3: PURPLE HOOD NINJA (MURASAKI ZUKIN) - 1958: Get this: the real title of this film is The Purple Hooded Man, but for marketing reason the distributors decided to rename it Purple Hood Ninja, even though the character in question is really a samurai! Hilarious. But no matter what name it goes by this is another decent entry in the collection (a streak that is to end shortly). Here a fellow in a purple hood is a rogue protector who punishes nobles for treating their subjects in a cruel manner. The picture quality, while colorized, looks horrible in a fuzzy TV-broadcast sort of way.
Best Viewed: Wearing a pair of Foster Grants while reciting the Prayer of the Ancients.
The rain-soaked duel had to be cut short when it was revealed that Herman had a case
of serious Alien head.
4: PURPLE HOOD NINJA 2 (MURASAKI ZUKIN OGON NO HIMITSU) - 1982:
It’s amazing that this thing was shot in ’82, because it looks more
like ’72. This time another creature in a purple hood goes about
investigating corrupt politicians who are issuing bad gold coins. Crap
story, bad fighting, don’t waste your valuable time like I did.
Best Viewed: While punching yourself backwards.
5: 17 NINJAS (JUSHICHININ NO NINJA) - 1963:
Set in the 1600’s, the story revolves around a group of Ninjas charged
with the guarding of an ammunition depot from a band of Iga spies bent
on destroying the stockpile. The black and white image looks great but
is rather slow, although the choreography isn’t too terrible. And I didn’t bother to count to make sure there really were 17 Ninjas in this thing, but I would NEVER doubt a title.
Best Viewed: In a raunchy wind tunnel.
6: HERO OF SWALLOW - 1996:
Yuen Biao is a Robin Hood-like character who is searching for his
missing girlfriend by flying all over the Japanese sky and climbing
walls without touching them (like Crouching Tiger).
Were this made in the ’70’s it would be considered an all-time
classic, but the fact that it was in the late ’90’s hinders the
opinion. Picture quality is crap considering when it was made, but
other than that it’s a pretty good movie and definitely one of the best
in this collection, even though it steals from several other movies of
Best Viewed: Standing behind Peter North.
I did not expect to see Brendan Gleeson show up.
10: CYBER NINJA – 1988:
7: NINJA POWER FORCE - 1988:
Richard Harrison wears a heinous Hawaiian shirt (as if there are any
other kind), and does battle with another movie. He is in this for
maybe 7 minutes total, while another gangster film is edited into his
footage, but no one cared to make sure the two stories would match to
form a coherent storyline. Newsflash: they don’t.
Best Viewed: With Richard Harrison sitting next to you explaining why he turned down A Fistful of Dollars. It wouldn’t be a bad idea if you were to smack him in the face for this movie while you had the chance.
8: NINJA KIDS PHANTOM FORCE – 1987: Something went very wrong with the title of this movie. On the DVD case, as well as the menu screen itself, it is known as Ninja Kids Phantom Force. However the actual credits refer to it as Ninja Phantom Heroes,
which makes far more sense since there are no kids in the movie
whatsoever. No matter which title is really right it doesn’t change
the fact that this is a truly abominable offering, even by shitty Ninja
movie standards. I hate everything about this movie.
Best Viewed: Projected on the left arm of Klaus Kinski.
9: GOLDEN NINJA INVASION – 1987:
You should be ashamed of yourself for even reading this part, but now
that you are I hope you find night terrors in your backyard. This movie (a
term loosely used) is another example of two rotten movies being pieced
together to form one giant beast of evilness. Here we have the infamous
anorexic ninja, an Asian guy with a sawed off arm and the score from A Nightmare on Elm Street
running in the background. Unbelievable. What I think happened is the
movie makers wanted an original score to better convey their work, so
they stole the music from one of the most successful horror movies of
the time, hoping no one would notice. Actually, the music works better
with multi-colored ninjas slapping each other than with Freddy running
everywhere annoying people, so maybe they had the right idea!
Best Viewed: Having Forest Whitaker stare at you with his good eye.
This film stars a Stick Figure eating breakfast in the bottom right-hand corner, The
Letter Z Sitting Atop A W over on the left, and the Greatest American Hero emblem
in the middle-right.
My absolute favorite of the bunch, but not because it’s good. In fact
it is laughably the worst of the bunch, because they seemed to
have a fraction of an actual budget to work with and they managed to
churn something like THIS out! The “story” goes a man has his soul
stolen and placed in a castle, while his body is transformed into the
masked Cyber Ninja (the cover art of this collection is this fool).
There are ninja students wearing headsets that glow, swords that shoot
laser bullets, a robotic army and flying machine-like castles! This film makes
buying this set worth everything, because your friends will all come
over and see that you have this movie in your collection and
immediately realize just how awesome you are. Your girl will leave you,
however, but it’s worth the trade-off to be able to proudly proclaim from atop a mountain “I
own Cyber Ninja“!
Best Viewed: With a band of midgets punching you in the face with a copy of Ghoulies on VHS.
10: CYBER NINJA – 1988:
“One more Paul Stanley solo album and my headband can leave me in peace.”
Allow me this bit of advice: this pile of movies are not worth the effort it takes to get up and flip the disc every two movies, especially when you have things like Golden Ninja Invasion and Ninja Power Force waiting for you inside. If you absolutely have to spend $20 just send it to me and I’ll make sure it’s spent in a responsible manner (nah, I’ll probably just use it to complete my Jonathan Frakes poster collection), otherwise steer waaay clear of this set.
Except for Cyber Ninja. You should probably find a way to steal just this movie, but leave the rest behind.
The PackageThe infidels over at VIDEOASIA must have known that the best way to sell 10 evil Ninja movies to the unwitting Western populace was to put the soulless Cyber Ninja on the front cover. Admittedly it wasn’t a bad idea, because what screams “amazing collection of most excellent Ninja movies” more than the much vaunted Cyber Ninja? Well, once you have managed to make your way through the throngs of Ninja buyers and are able to make it safely home with your precious cargo, you will find three discs enclosed therein. The secret to the mystery of this Ninja Collection is you have to flip two of the discs in order to get your nonsensical martial arts fix, so enjoy doing that.
3.0 out of 10
3.0 out of 10