9

The Ultimate Ninja (1987)

Written & directed by: Godfrey Ho
Producers: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan
Starring: Bruce Baron, Stuart Smith, Pedro Ernyes, Sorapong Chatri & Nai Yen Na

Member of the Red Ninja Clan, Charles (Bruce Baron) loses his master at the hands of the Black Ninja Clan (headed by Stuart Smith's Victor) who's after the Golden Ninja Warrior. Paired up with his own Black Ninja Warrior, it will give him supreme ninja power but being injured, he takes refuge in a village run with an iron fist by Roger (cue the source movie). During the take over 20 years ago, Roger killed Ronald which left his family split up and the time has come for them to meet again (cue Sorapong Chatri's role) and exact revenge...

There's no use to tease for 30 minutes what's on the poster as IFD treats The Ultimate Ninja as more of a calculated market product and unleashes their brand of internationally flavoured ninjitsu quickly. Kept afloat by decent energy, preposterous dialogue, dubbing and Stuart Smith who really feels like the ultimate ninja considering he steals the movie.

With a Thai movie running the show for the majority of the running time (I could only count one instance of IFD attempting to be in the other movie through a table conversation between Smith and Roger), it does not look like and is not an action standout amidst the ones IFD and Filmark used as source for their new ninja action movies. Shot in a rural location with little skill to elevate this story of oppression through directorial vision, amusingly enough it does contain many kung-fu genre staples and with it comes some action-grit.

Which is to say that it's not Thai cinema measuring up to Hong Kong (the aim is that however) but it's clear the action team have the heart in the right place. Featuring weapons training sequences, an old master training students (both good and evil since everyone needs money) and fairly accomplished weapons and hand to hand exchanges, the quality varies but is definitely a minor standout in Thai kung-fu action cinema. Some color is added through the appearance of a key, bald player arriving in style in a sleeve-less, pink polo shirt and kicking ass with his, literal hard head and some of the finale action contains quite noticeable weaponry like big axes vs swords.

IFD randomly make their presence felt through several sword demonstration scenes, worship of the respective ninja warriors (the black one looking like a clay figurine has to be seen to be believed) and sneak attacks Bruce Baron spots that leads to 10 second long fights. This borderlines of feeling like been there done that in a negative way for IFD but the fair energy present in the expected coupled with Stuart Smith bringing over the top acting energy like only he can, we can therefore add enjoyment concerning dialogue and a performer whose greatest VISUAL tool was his mouth. A Smith saves the day.

 

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson