Ok, one more, and yes, this is a brand new review, we’re just “going backwards” in the non-existent Ninja Operation series, as we previously talked about Godfather The Master, a ninja flick that was released as “Ninja Operation 5: Godfather The Master”, and now we tackle “part 4”, aka another Ho ninja potpourri that was originally titled Ninja Power Force (or Powerforce, whatever floats your boat), and eventually got the alternate title of “Thunderbolt Angels”.
Despite not featuring any of those, as we all could guess by now, pretty easy to do.
One thing that i did not fully expect it’s the absolute scarcity of informations on what film had Ho “hijacked” for his ninjas means this time, IMDB has no info on the matter, thankfully the Hong Kong Movie Database came to the rescue and i was able to determine it’s a 1986 taiwanese action drama called “The Return/Return Home”, not to be confused with another taiwanese movie from 2016, also called “The Return”.
Don’t say you never learn anything from these reviews.
Not much to go on (since not even the HKMB’s page had any synopsis), but at least we can already discern that it’s about a family and most likely two brothers divived by criminal affairs and fate and similar criminal drama stuff to spark tragedy n shit. Or something along those lines.
For what concerns the “Ho-ificated” version and the new footage, Ninja Power Force it’s about two childhood friends caught on opposites sites of a brutal gang war, that get capture and then released by the police, reigniting the hostilities between the Red Ninjas and The Golden Ninja Empire.
Not the same Ninja Empire after the Golden Ninja Warrior statue because continuity it’s a chimera in the cut n paste ninja universe of scripts most likely penned in matters of hours. So if you want to add your own plot and pretend it’s the same evil group of robed ninja, you can, and trying to re-edit the ninja footage to create a proper ninja movie would be an interesting experiment-exercise.
It’s more interesting than me pretty much having to say the same shit over and over again… because i can really say so many times that the forgotten asian movie used as base it’s honestly quite boring, kinda shoddily made and so it’s no wonder that movie itself was forgotten to begin with.
And that Richard Harrison plays Master Ninja Gordon, working undercover, looking at photos of actors from “Film A”, hearing and giving exposition to attempt link the story footage together, even rocking that ugly ass Hawaiian shirt here as well, when he’s not in his ninja robe. AGAIN.
These movies are the definition of formulaic, so it’s kinda pointless to try and critique the plot/s, even without going into details, because it’s the execution, the specific blend of incompetence, ineptitude and no budget production values that result in a fun or a boring “cut n paste” ninja flick.
That’s how these movies feel to watch after a while, like a game of russian roulette, but at least you remain clinically alive at the end and often there are some funny or weird ass highlights to tell.
With Thunderbolt Angels we “casted the die” and rolled… 10 minutes of very average ninjaxploitation with Richard Harrison, tied to a passable Taiwanese gangster drama that’s honestly a lot more competently made than some of the other crap Ho gets to splice his ninjas into.
Mind you, “Film A” it’s still not good, but it has some dignity to it, even if it’s just a very stock gangster drama, with the criminal honor code thing and so on, mediocre, but there’s some effort in it, instead of the ramshackled shit where they just had guys shooting at each other, rape random women or fight each other with what i would qualify as “partial arts” in a barely followable mess.
It’s still not good, and of course any potential to get invested in that plot is sabotaged by the editing made in order to fit the ninja footage, as you can clearly tell you’re missing some big important chunks of story. So it’s hard to care in the end, but it’s more than i bargained for to care even slightly how the undoctored original film of a Godfrey Ho (or Joseph Lai, since he’s directing this one) would have been without the ninja shit and the usual contrived rewrite & redub.
Even more since this time the dubjob isn’t that bad, way better than usual for Ho and Lai’s company and the usual “standards” of the time in terms of dubbing asian films in english, surprisingly so.
Quite ironic then that “Film A” is slightly better than usual, but it’s malinchonic tone with some mild levity ABSOLUTELY doesn’t fit with the ninja bungum, even more than usual the new footage is just shoved in there, and here the “ninja insertion” completely destroys any flow the plot of “Film A” could have, so you just can’t follow what exactly is going in it anymore.
The final ninja battle as usual it’s short, and there is nothing we haven’t seen in other Ho and Lai flicks, but at least we get an evil ninja boss (this time dressed in red and called “Campbell”) played NOT by a pasty white guy (one of the caucasian actors does sport an impressive bycicle mustache, though), but a bald black guy, i think George Ajex since it’s immediatly credited in the movie alongside Richard Harrison, and this is the only movie he was in, according to IMDB, which has no photo of him.
So i might be wrong, but i simply have to guess and deduce.
Oh,there’s also the galore of lifted music used in absolutely inappropriated moments, and Harrison sporting a delicious gold satin ninja suit, i so want that.
Overall, Ninja Power Force it’s a pretty run-of-the-mill affair from the house of Lai and Ho, i wouldn’t recommend skipping it all together for the fervent students in the way of “ninja cut n splice”, as it’s pretty indicative of the others, often “better” so bad its good ninja flicks made of cheapness and stock footage from anything.