# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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Ninja, The Battalion (1990) Directed by: Victor Sears

Tomas Tang's Filmark's presentation comes with so many hilariously made up credits that you can't even read half of them during the explosive opening. Some concern and surprises resides in his production though as we're not sure initially if Alexander Lo's scenes are old or Tang's newly shot stuff. They're certainly almost above and beyond any of their own shot stuff on a technical level (still not good) prior or since and even features some fluid choreography. But our questions are answered as quality of film stock changes and attempts to match eras fail as a Phillip Ko Fei populated 1940s actioner takes center stage. Filmark constructs a plot featuring an insane amount of gangs and covert, extraordinarily complex hand signals (who knows what their main purpose was in the original...) while Lo and gwailo partner do their damndest to interact with the other flick. The combo is as always fun and a wee bit fascinating, especially so since Tang and company even go to the lengths of shooting doubles from the back that are supposed to be characters in our original flick. A little ninja here, a little technique there plus a host of Westerners dubbed in the most ill fitting of ways, Ninja, The Battalion will find a very small home with the Z-grade cinema fans. It will probably be most fondly remembered for a totally unwarranted Ninja suicide towards the end that is capped with the line: "Glorious Ninja death!".

Ninja The Violent Sorcerer (1986) Directed by: Bruce Lambert

TROY'S REVIEW: Wow! Here's a story line you won't find every day and that's for sure! We have a completely insane tale featuring hopping former gambling addicted vampires, vengeance-seeking ghosts, bizarre esoteric incantations, a study of the negative psychological and physiological effects of alcohol addiction, the despair of suicide, spectacular displays of 'dice-fu' and finally, ninjas! Ok, I know what you're thinking... How can such a wacky set of ingredients produce a cohesive plot? Well, the answer of course is that it doesn't, but who the hell cares! Needless to say, it will subsequently, likely come as very little surprise to find the name Tomas Tang attached to this completely demented effort.

Ninja Vs Ninja (1987) Directed by: Cheung Nick

Distributed by but also presented by Ocean Shores, Ninja Vs Ninja might be a rare foray into the cut & paste techniques as "perfected" by IFD and Filmark by someone other than them! Or Ocean Shores simple ejected Filmark's (no ninja headbands here so IFD is excluded and I'm going with the Filmark assumption) own credit sequence and replaced it with their own (that acts as a highlight reel of what's to come). Regardless, mixing footage with Westerners (among others Louis Roth in a very brief appearance) and Western ninjas, they've inserted the above into the 1981 thriller The Bomb-Shell (also distributed on video by Ocean Shores), starring Norman Tsui and Wilson Tong. Keeping the plot of undercover cops being killed off that eventually leads into the mad, mad, mad, mad bomber-story taking center stage, just a tiny sprinkle of ninjas having to do with all this is added and it's essentially why Ninja Vs Ninja doesn't make enough noise. The film is still The Bomb-Shell and aside from always wonderful ninja techniques like traveling underground and multiplying yourself, we're merely left to again appreciate the gritty, violent nature of the original.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com

Ninja Vs Bruce Lee (1982, Joseph Kong)

Also known as Concorde Of Bruce, it's Joseph Kong and co-conspirators trying to squeeze more out of Brucesploitation (copying the traits and content of Bruce Lee's movies was more of a 70s thing) by exploiting themselves. What that means is that Ninja Vs. Bruce Lee is a cut and paste job, made up of footage from My Name Called Bruce, Return Of Bruce and even Enter The Game Of Death (the one out of the bunch not directed by Kong). All aboard the incoherency-train. The new plot, sans any ninjas (unless you count the hooded figures in the My Name Called Bruce-footage) is muddled yet basic enough in order to act as a springboard for the large volume of fight footage taken from multiple productions. Therefore we get our star Le sporting various looks, echoing character design of Bruce Lee from The Way Of The Dragon, Game Of Death etc but there's really only one enjoyable factor here. Because the fight choreography may be plentiful but rarely stands out. But it's the idea in itself, that this movie would even be conjured up that us fans of shameless exploitation enjoy. It might not be level-headed but it certainly passes the time and the true variety of fighters versus Le is at least notable in this version. Even if they are nowhere near able to copy the sound action traits during Bruce Lee's shortened career.

Ninja Warriors (1985) Directed by: John Lloyd

A further deep dive into the career of Romano Kristoff in the Philippines, this time he's thankfully relegated to supporting villain and kept off the directing chair, hence Ninja Warriors compared to Ninja's Force is nowhere near as much of a sleeping pill but instead piles on a good amount of B-movie ninja energy and imagery. The usual nonsense of a secret formula and the American cops employing Steve the ninja (Ron Marchini) to help catch them doesn't mean the finest pace but John Lloyd does well highlighting what an 80s VHS crowd would want out of a ninja movie. Initially it's gas masks ninjas who are painfully slow diggers but nonetheless, we're in for not evenly paced shenanigans that STILL shows the Hong Kong flavour was absolutely needed for the bad ninja fare. Hail IFD and Filmark.

The Nobles (1989) Directed by: Norman Chan

A renovator (Jacky Cheung) and interior designer (Carol Cheng) hate each other initially and are on the same project together but when these two of different status and wealth have a proper sitdown, they bond...

The simple setup for something formulaic and expected for sure but director Norman Chan have some tricks up his sleeves, most of which has to do with the easy going chemistry of Jacky Cheung and Carol Cheng. It's simply very pleasant watching those characters interact, both coming with emotional baggage having to do with abandonment. There's genuine heartbreak evident in both and The Nobles thrives quite a bit with it's breezy, commercial and human tone. Heck, even the resolution is a lot more grown up than what's expected out of a rom/com with stars! Also with Michael Wong and Bill Tung.

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Nobody's Hero (1989) Directed by: Kuk Kok-Leung

KENNETH'S REVIEW: Story of the underdog that rises like a phoenix out of the ashes only to subsequently not go on a winning path. In Kuk Kok-Leung's effective Nobody's Hero, nobody WINS!. In one of his very best performances, Liu Wai-Hung is Leung Gun, a taxi driver with a desire to do something about the lack of order in the society around him. Being colour blind prevents him from being accepted as a police but anyone can be a security guard. Pride and confident but being deemed ugly by everyone and being abandoned in a cruel way by MOST around him, his meeting with blind Jane (Kathy Chow) sets him on his path. Oh it's all very cheery and sweet but since she is watched over by her triad uncle that uses her to smuggle drugs, Leung Gun draws closer to finding his bravery but a bloody fate as well...

One of the very few Hong Kong flicks that can argue its mood-switches are plausible for the story. With our lead, the consequences of his bravery triggers some of the very best in terms of Hong Kong cinema grit and gore. It's a piece with fine pace, momentum and despite being rough around the edges (the Leung/Jane story isn't THAT engaging), Nobody's Hero possesses balls, teeth and power to deem it an underrated sleeper. Written by Tsang Kan-Cheung (director of Intruder) and co-starring Sunny Fang who is blessed with a typically demented, evil character. And the flick thanks him for it.

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