Ninja Champion (1986) [REVIEW] | Grindhouse Ninjas

As we already saw with previous reviews of Godfrey Ho ninja flicks, anything goes with ninjas, he could splice them and stitch them to any kind of foreign, unfinished and often obscure asian movie he could get his hands on.

Even so, it still comes as a surprise that he would also splice his brand of multicolored, bandana wearing, self-adverting ninja in a rape revenge movie. WHY?

I love how the italian dvd release has a sword with diamons on the cover, it’s extra hilarious considering how it implies that diamonds are important to the plot…. they fuckin aren’t, the sword is way, WAY more relevant.

It’s just that the rapists happen to be diamond smugglers, it doesn’t really matter what they smuggle, AT ALL, they could sell bootleg boglins and nothing would really change, and even the movie barely remembers at the last minute that yes, this should somehow tie together the new storyline and “ninja footage” with the existing footage, this time taken from the 1985 corean rape-revenge movie known as “Poisonous Rose Stripping the Night”, directed by Kim Si-hyun.

It makes more sense than the ninjas being somehow involved, as they just decide to “watch the girl and the others from afar” (not that the editing could do much for the usual reasons) and only later intervene… kinda, the evil red ninja boss decides to stay and watch his goons (that really didn’t factor into the main plot (or were guilty of anything besides being ninjas) getting killed by the good ninja master, before revealing to him at the end that he quite conveniently happened to be behind everything.

This is one of the worst offenders as far as tieing the ninja shit into the plot of the main movie, it’s almost unbelievable how they don’t even attempt at making the ninjas matter at all for the main plot, about a woman out to exact bloody revenge on her three rapists, helped by her former lover, dubbed “George” in the script, who also happens to be an Interpol agent with a license to kill. Obviously.

And you just know its a really crappy “cut and paste” piece of ninjaxploitation when the new footage with the jumpsuit ninja is far better than “movie A”. Yes, the ninja bouts are brief and ridiculous as well, but are far more entertaining than the also laughable fights, complete with very crappy sound effects that make the enemy lackies to be made of some kind of plastic, due to the odd “bish” impact sound effect heard when they get hit.

To say nothing of the absurd “rib cage magical compressor move” one of the goons try to pull on one of the good guys, George being able to pull off ninja-style teleporting via editing despite not being a ninja in the end (it sounds like the setup to reveal that… it isn’t), the recycled footage of Richard Harrison talking to someone via the fan favourite Garfield phone, actually the same footage shot for Ninja Terminator, making this one of the many times Ho used Harrison’s footage for more times than agreed upon, as the actor is not credited. But we have the other recurring Ho actors that are NOT Pierre Kirby, so Bruce Baron plays the interpol agent dude called “Donald” (makes sense as a corean thug called “Walter”), and Pierre Tremblay acts as Master Ninja… Maurice.

Also worth nothing is the lifted music being more daunting than ever, as they use The Robots for a scene on a bridge, and it goes on and on, sure, just cut out the vocal parts, no one will notice. Just magical and so very much “Ho”.

This one it’s so bad it’s just bad, the hodgepodge of elements doesn’t come off as fun or entertaining thanks to the stupidity of it, it’s just frustrating, cheap, boring, in very bad taste, and somewhat – and somehow – kinda tame (see the diamond reveal at the beginning, with Rose in disguise hiding the diamonds in her tits, so when she diplays them to the crime boss the camera lens gets an odd “diamond reflection gleam censor” effect) and gutless for an exploitation heavy movie that start with a rape, the exposition is absolutely crowbarred into the narrative with the grace of a drunken rhino, and the story is total crap, resorting to the woman seeking revenge being killed and having a twin sister (that comes out of nowhere) continue to hunt the rapists in her stead.

Even the woman seeking righteous revenge comes off as kind of dumb in some istances, her former lover comes off as well meaning but not that much smarter or likeable either, and don’t expect the villains to be kinda charming or smart either. Quite cruel but not that smart, and it’s quite telling of how bland these characters are when the most stand-out among them is the autistic big bad guy that helps Rose in the final act.

They call him a “retard” and the actor is tasked to just make grunts and noises, but still, he can use a gun and aim decently, so not that “retarded”.

Yeah, this isn’t a case of ninjas put inside plots that shouldn’t have them, the main movie it’s not very good at all either, either way you slice it quite crap, very generic anyway, and here the plot it’s kinda hard to follow due to onslaught of exposition and names they throw at the viewer, not because it’s complicated, but due to the fact you will stop caring very soon about what the hell is going on, who the hell is who, not helped by characters often being named but not introduced to the narrative until way later, if they even matter for the overall plot to begin with.

Ninja Champion provides some incredibly odd scenes, some untentionally funny ones and plenty of “Ho-isms” to talk about, but it’s just that, it’s definitely way more fun to discuss than actually watch, even for seasoned ninja garbage scuba divers. It’s not the worst one, i feel, but let’s be honest, this is quite the dud, even for a Godfrey Ho ninja film and the low expectations that come with it.

Of course, these Ho-Joseph Lai produced ninja flicks always end up abruptly with the conclusion of the “ninja side” of the story, the usual fight between the head good ninja and the evil ninja that was behind it all for lack of budget and time, after the plot of “movie A” reaches its finale, this time being kind of a bummer, as the revenge is complete, but George’s final words “strongly imply” he will commit suicide to be with her forever, as he promised her before in the movie.

So it’s quite jarring to see that followed by magical ninja edit-teleporting tricks, wicker shields, and the good ninja boss stabbing the evil ninja master in a playground area, and walking away, because fuck cleaning the body out, let the kids next morning see it, he’s a Ninja Champion. I guess.

Not that the title makes any sense anyway, as there is no tournament or trial of sorts.



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