More from house of Ho…. and admittely Joseph Lai as well, who also directed and produced many of these, even if often Godfrey Ho was still involved in some way or co-directed, even if uncredited.
This one happens to be kinda of unknown compared to other flicks of the same “cut and paste” ilk by Ho, his associates and the company, and it doesn’t help i found it on Amazon Prime Video, simply called “Licensed To Terminate”, which made me waste 2 good hours in researching info, since it happens to be the subtitle for another Godfrey Ho ninja movie, Ninja Operation: Licensed To Terminate, better known as Ninja Operation 3: Licensed To Terminate, as evidently they distributed a good chunk of these by creating non-existing series out of similar films, like it happened for the Zombi non-series of italian zombie flicks made to cash into Night Of The Living Dead.
Doesn’t help the version of the movie streaming on Amazon Prime Video cuts out the title screen and all credits, while copy pastying the generic and non-descriptive summary of the other movie, that also just happens to be about ninjas AND “star” both Richard Harrison and Grant Temple, but no, the one we’re talking about it’s a different one, originally just called The Power Of Ninjitsu but better known as Ninja Operation 5: Godfather The Master.
Since we’re already laid out the basic rundown of Godfrey Ho’s style of ninja movie exploitation flicks while discussing Ninja Thunderbolt, we won’t go over it again for each review of these ninja trashfests. Please refer to that review as a “primer”.
Still, still, it’s worth pointing out that these movies end up being quite hilarious and fun… often by pure luck, by accident, which isn’t really surprising, but it’s better to keep this in mind, as for the cult classic bundles of ninja joy like Ninja Terminator, there are at least 5 ninja flicks made the same way that are just boring, tiresome trash. This is cinema by spitballing and seeing what sticks, stuff cobbled together super cheap and superfast to make a very quick buck, and nothing else.
It’s a die throw, and even if you peruse IMDB to learn what the movies are about, you often get very thin, generic synopses that tell you nothing useful, or – like in this case – may cause accidental confusion since the people uploading the movies just copy the synopses and info verbatim, regardless if those are correct to begin with.
So it’s always an experience, as you don’t know exactly what kind of crazy crap you’re gonna get alongside evil ninjas, often you get an action movie or a crime thriller used as the “base movie”, but sometimes you can get extra lucky and have monster movies get operated on by Ho or Lai, like Thunder Of the Gigantic Serpent.
This time we got a decent one, which use a south korean movie from 1986 called “Osaka daebu” (AKA The Gofather Of Osaka), and they didn’t modify the original plot (again, if the synopsis on IMDB is correct) too much, so it’s still about gangs fighting each other and a son avenging his father, a powerful crime boss. In these case we have the leader of Scorpios “Jackson”, being killed by a combined effort of two other rival gangs, the Anders and the Dragons, who seized the opportunity to expand their territory and off “Jackson” before he could hand the criminal business over to his son, “Raymond”.
It also happens that a young ninja criminal, Paulo, was behind it all and plotted to have the clans fight each other so he could expand his territory and hopefully rise in power, taking over his uncle, the actual “ninja boss”, who becomes aware of his scheme and sends Ninja Master Gordon to track him down, killing his guards one by one and finally punish with death his traitor of a nephew.
And of course, all of this is mostly explained AFTER stuff happens, that’s the ninja way, utter confusion, fight scenes that go on with zero context and maybe some explanation way after the facts, actors that are presented via printed photographs, and of course the main attraction, ninja fights and assassinations of people Harrison has just met via either well polished shuriken or bamboo darts. XD
Compared to the previously covered Ninja Thunderbolt, this one has a less interesting “base movie” to work, a fairly ho-hum gangster drama, but that movie main character (renamed “Raymond” here because) acting like a dork and laughing like one through most of the movie helps, as it does the gaggle of absurd shit, from people that jarring shift fighting locations without any continuity or context to it, the ninja fights also having the same magical ability to continue fights in completely different locations, going from rooftop to non-descript public park or garage areas with some trees.
Continuining the comparison, there’s more original footage with Harrison and american cast, and most of it it’s hilarious, especially the absurd way “Gordon” kills most of his unexpecting ninja victims, and even how the final ninja fight between Master Ninja Gordon and Evil Ninja… Paulo is won by Gordon, only to have – completely out of nowhere – undescript hands with guns show up and shoot Harrison/Gordon in the back, and yes, it ends like that, with a freeze frame of him being propelled mid-air by the bullets, then THE END. XD
Ninja Thunderbolt was funnier, but this is decent… at least on the “Godfrey Ho scale” you should judge these movie with. My favourite moment is Harrison talking to an informer called Lisa and hearing Paranomia from The Art Of Noise playing on the stereo in the background, and this to say nothing of the A-Ha tracks no one clearly paid the rights to use. 🙂