9

Royal Warriors (1987)

Directed by: Godfrey Ho
Written by: Stephen Soul
Producer: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan
Starring: Richard Harrison, Mike Abbott, Sorapong Chatree, Yin Su-Li & Sze Ma Lung

One of the last movies Richard Harrison did for IFD. Possibly around this second stint of filming scenes for various action- and ninja movies he found out he was being exploited and put into way more movies than agreed upon with Joseph Lai. A less than energetic performer as that stint came to an end, Mike Abbott on the other hand put in as much energy as he could based on what he's given and the team up between him and Richard resulted in among other movies Royal Warriors (aka Ninja Operation 7: Royal Warriors). IFD sourced a Thai-Korea-Taiwan co-production referred to as (not sure this is an official export title) 'The Great Escape In Jungle' (1985), directed by Kim Jong-Seong and featuring cast such as Thailand's Sorapong Chatree, Sze Ma-Lung and a good pick it was as it brings a co-op energy Thailand for instance would probably have trouble creating on their own.

Essentially a treasure hunt movie, Baron (Mike Abbott) is co-operating with Willie (from the original movie) to find the treasure the Japanese left behind during the Pacific War. Violence ensues between various participants in this quest as Sorapong Chatree's shotgun wielding character teams up with a female Tarzan and running alongside all of this trying to stop Baron is Richard Harrison (and his ninja team)...

Coherency is not the name of the game here and certainly not the first time an IFD product has confused. But one thing is clear, original production brings energy and the intensity of Godfrey Ho's footage is increased as well. For once not as poorly integrated as the original jungle movie means the ninjas are constantly running around in the forest too, the transition between new and old footage is also a bit more seamless (helps the production IFD picked up was not very old at the time either). But make no mistake about it, Abbott and company sporting pink ninja outfits is not equal to manly and hardcore despite the focus on automatic weapons rather than ninjitsu for the majority of the time.

But their own chase scenarios coupled with what seems like a constant stream of fighting and shooting from Kim Jong-Seong in the original movie makes for a rather eye catching, noisy time as the footage is combined. The co-production clearly means the action team assembled bumps the skill in that department and it's a blast seeing the gritty kicking courtesy of our Jane of the jungle, Sze Ma-Lung really bringing it for the extended cave ending and Sorapong Chatree blasting people away. A good acquisition therefore, even Richard Harrison's scenes are varied up a little as he mostly sets booby traps and for 90% of the movie merely sports a ninja headband (there IS a ninja vs ninja finale though). He went out as more of an action hero and looks less embarrassed as he's heading out.

 

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson