Ninja Killer (1985/86)

Directed by: Lawrence Chan
Written by: Zackey Chan & William C.F. Lo
Producer: ?
Starring: Lau Kar-Wing, Cuneyt Arkin, Charlie Chan, Carter Wong, Bolo Yeung & Kong Do

Turkish policeman Charles (Cuneyt Arkin) gets partnered up with Hong Kong cop Liu Yung (Lau Kar-Wing) to deal with the case of an international smuggling organisation led by Lu Kun (Charlie Chan), who has fled to Turkey. All while Carter Wong's officer co-ordinated from a desk in Hong Kong and goes after Lu Kun's partner in crime (Kong Do)...

Just as or just before Filmark started up their own brand of ninja cut and paste actioners tailored after Joseph Lai's IFD comes Ninja Killer... sans ninjas (unless you count a couple of guys in balaclavas). Casting locally in the form of Carter Wong instead of putting a Western face front and center, this 1985 or 1986 production (thank you to Jesus Perez Molina for the information of approximate production year) is paired up with footage from the 1974 Turkey-Hong Kong co-production 'Kung Fu On The Bosporus'. Starring and choreographed by Lau Kar-Wing, Turkey provides their own action star too and it's none other than the lead out of the subsequent 'The Man Who Saves The World' (aka 'Turkish Star Wars'): Cuneyt Arkin. The result is a modern day kung-fu movie feeling just like any other out of the mold but that manages to stick out just a little bit via its sellable element of action. Thank the co-production aspect for that.

While the Carter Wong footage is merely inserted sporadically, it matches fairly well in look with 1974 believe it or not but despite being newer, it fails to match action intensity present in Lau Kar-Wing's (and possibly the Turkish stunt crew) work from over 10 years earlier. Reason being that one production took the time, one didn't and in the 1985/86 stretch, the exchanges may look solid but rather stiff too.

Greater interests lies in the 'Kung Fu On The Bosporus'-footage, even if the feel is mild and there's quite a lot of transparent filler. Credited director Lawrence Chan (in other places a Victor Lamp is and reportedly this was headed by a Turkish director) fills the running time with walks and drives where the characters take in the Turkish scenario and nightlife. Obviously done for immersion but it's flat and therefore becomes the other f-word too: Filler. Bad filler. But a martial arts demonstration signals quite pronounced power from the local actors and as it turns out, Lau Kar Wing and crew is putting his karate trained lead to good use. Coming with size and power to the screen, Arkin has the look of a brawler and that direction is the wise way to go. Some terible undercranking for the rooftop finale spoils matters a bit but it seems like too great of a concept for the movie that they had to solve through these technical means.

It may look and feel like every mild to bad 70s kung-fu flick you've seen but power, some dark edge in terms of violence makes it take on a tone and a little bit of commercial vision is present. And the original qualities are therefore allowed to breathe in Filmark's ninja-free, new vision for the 80s. It's funny how you forget Filmark is even there at one point.

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson