Saturday, March 15, 2014


NINJA TERMINATOR (1985) (UR) Dir. Godfrey Ho
87 mins.

The Ninja Empire has acquired the Golden Ninja Warrior, a statue in three parts, which, when combined, grant a ninja the Supreme Ninja Art, aka imperviousness to blades. Three students of the Empire, led by Ninja Master Harry, steal the artifact, each absconding with a separate piece. Ninja Master Harry claims that the Empire has become evil, and he wants to reclaim the honor of the Ninja Empire by reforming the cabal with the help of the Supreme Ninja Art. The rest of the movie is just a slew of absurd fight scenes as the Ninja Empire send their forces to retrieve the Golden Ninja Warrior and kill Ninja Master Harry and his two accomplices. And there's a toy robot that delivers ninja threats. And a ninja Garfield phone. Just sayin'.

Ninja Terminator is spliced together using footage from the 1984 South Korean film Uninvited Guest, as well as new footage that Ho shot with three Western actors, including the unintentionally hilarious Richard Harrison as Ninja Master Harry. Ho then wrote a completely new plot and overdubbed the film entirely. I have to say, the music in this movie was quite good, and quite stolen from a great deal many sources, like Star Wars, A Clockwork Orange, Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream. So.. obscure Korean footage, new Westerner footage, overdubs, and stolen music. This is the formula for Ho's infamous era of "ninja" cut and paste films (he has directed many other, more competent projects); quick, cheap, and efficient.

Apparently Ho meant these films to be serious and to have international appeal. Instead they have become cult classics and Ninja Terminator, in particular, is widely considered to be the best of the bunch. Much of the film is like a fever dream, so colorful, so strange, so explicit and yet so hard to completely recall... It's a hodgepodge of awesome fights, incomprehensible storytelling, magic and stinky cheese gently sautéed and served over a bowl of whatthefuckery. This is a must see for fans of the gut-wrenchingly inept. A disasterpiece of the highest order, Ninja Terminator proudly joins the moldy ranks of the great pantheon of distaste. 7/10 

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