Suddendly, another ninja rewrite appears in his colored jumpsuit, because i like the challenge of rewriting these, and it does become harder as these movies over time do indeed start bleeding into each other, even more as there are literal dozens upon dozens of these made by – or at least credited to – Godfrey Ho or Joseph Lai, which were very prolific during the 80s.
But this time it’s gonna be followed by a brand new ninja movie review.
Might even NOT be a Ho ninja-pasted affair.
Speaking of which, Ninja The Protector is indeed a typical, almost a perfect “vertical slice” of a hum-drum cut-n-paste ninja flick Filmark or IFD Films and Arts, not one of the worse but also lacking the insane, laughable elements that make these fun to watch for the Z-grade ninja connosseur, just the expected, like having Richard Harrison as “Ninja Master Gordon” and so on.
Now i usually give you info about what movie were the ninja scenes stitched on to, but i wasn’t able to pinpoint the exact movie, even the Hong Kong Movie Database just refers to it as “taiwanese footage”, with three actors from the stock footage that also each happened to star in many movies before and in 1986, two of them happened to act in a some movies together (some often used as “stock footage” deposits by Ho, like “Thunder Cat Woman”), but honestly i’m more inclined to believe its one of those in the filmography of actor Wa Lun, more due to stock footage having lots of sex scenes and him acting in a lot of kung-fu movies (he was also in the 1976 cult classic The Oily Maniac, btw) and what i suppose are erotic/adult dramas, given some of the titles like “Beautiful Vixen”, “Sex For Sale”, or “Hello Sexy Late Homecomers”.
I’m not digging deeper because he was in a lot of those, and any more in-depth research will likely have me hit a language barrier, as i don’t speak nor can i read mandarin…. and i feel it’s way too much effort for a review of one ninja cut-n-paste movie, there are literal dozens i have yet to talk about, i wasn’t kidding before, Ho and Lai (and their company at large) did pump them out like there was no tomorrow, gotta milk that 80s “ninja trend” hard and fast before interest peters out.
Getting back on track, the plot of the “borrowed” taiwanese movie survived the ninja editing better than one would expect, as i feel it was originally a melodrama about a couple of brothers, with a forger giving the older some success via a model agency operating as a front for money laundering, and then pitting the jealous younger one against him, as to frame the older one for murder.
Yeah sure, in the redubbed dialogue they’re called shit like “Warren” and “David”, but overall you can actually follow the plot of “Movie A” (or whatever you wanna call the repurposed footage that makes most of the runtime in these cut-n-paste affairs), though i almost would have welcomed the usual more choppy editing to cut short some of the very boring scenes preserved in their entirety.
Usually the best bits of these movies are the spliced ninja fights done with colored jumpsuits, that’s no mistery, but as those actually amount to very few minutes of footage, i’d rather sit through a laughable, ridiculous third-grade gangster drama instead of a cheesy romantic melodrama like this, peppered with not that appetizing sex scenes and domestic violence (alongside an implied rape), and not helped by cheesy fight scenes that at least are slightly better coreographed than those in Dolomite.
I was quite ready to get over with the main plot/movie, let’s put it like that.
Obviously ninjas are involved somehow, and it’s pretty typical how they link the two plots, with Richard Harrison playing the role of a police inspector on the tracks of a counterfeit criminal ring, whom happens also to be “Ninja Master Gordon”, and conveniently some of the forgers are also ninjas working under the evil Ninja Master….. Bruce, hell bent on becoming the “supreme ninja”.
I think, since Robert Bowles (here in first role before his theather works and appearing on soaps like East Enders and Coronation Street) as the evil ninja boss just spouts generic hyped villain lines, barking orders from the phone in his red jumpsuit.
Because that’s all he does until the final against between him and Gordon, here still rocking that camo suit, and bringing back some of the trinkets seen before, like “Ninja self-advertising attire collection” or the blowguns already seen in Ninja Dragon. That is, until he finally decides enough is enough, and after scenes of him just handcuff the ninjas so his goofy subordinates can arrest them (hence committing to the pretense of the two plots being linked), he just snipes the evil ninja peons with a big ass crossbow, probably won at a Reinassance festival.
As i said before, while this one lacks some standout insane goofy bullshit, it has some highlights in terms of the ninja footage, mostly the final fight, as it features a brief battle with both ninjas on motorcicles almost jousting with a kugarisama and a bo. It’s not quite Knightriders, it’s only 2 minutes long before they just get off the bikes and continue the fight on foot…. but it’s something.
Most of the final fight it’s the usual ensemble of cheap ninja tricks, including a lot of carthwheels (why bother walking when you can “Symphony Of The Night” your way through space faster?”, and a kinda bullshit ending, as Gordon defeats Bruce, affirms that he is the “supreme ninja”, and then just walks away, doesn’t even bother to finish Bruce off as you would expect, nor Bruce attempting a last surprise attack before being killed by Gordon/Harrison. What?
The dialogues lack the crappy insanity, but we have this exchange that really tells you everything you need to know in terms of the writing:
“What’s a Ninja?” “ Just a fairytale, they don’t exist”Actual quote from movie
For the rest, they’re nothing much new in terms of crap to point out, but it’s still funny to see the caucasian actors sit in what feels like a high school room used for exams or something (which has probably been used many times before in previous Ho ninja flicks, it feels like i’ve seen it before, just a hunch), complete with flags and decoration put there to estabilish the location (in this case being the british flag and a poster of Queen Victoria), discussing about the villains by using photos that were DEFINITELY taken with their permissions, as they just pose for it. XD
And it’s also funny when Harrison – as mentioned before- just shows off all his “Ninja TM” tools like he’s about to turn to the camera and start an infomercial.
The stolen music track this time it’s the theme from John Carpenter’s The Thing, as usual they don’t teach any kind of shame in Godfrey Ho’s ninja school.
Overall, Ninja The Protector it’s a very middle of the road “cut n paste” ninja hodgepotche from Godfrey Ho’s company, which will leave something to be desired even from fans of this brand of ninjaxploitation cinema, as it lacks the memorable absurdities that make these fun to watch.
On one hand, it’s one of their better stitched together “efforts”, but makes one wonder why bother frankensteining pieces of a boring taiwanese criminal-esque melodrama (oddly not completely garbled by the editing) to 5 minutes of average Ho-Lai colorful ninja shenanigans.
This is another one of these that are just for the already invested ninja buffs, others might just want to see a compilation of the ninja fight scenes on Youtube and don’t bother with the entire movie, unless you’re REALLY into third grade taiwanese melodramas about brothers and forgery.