Ninja Champion (1986)

Written & directed by: Godfrey Ho
Producers: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan
Starring: Bruce Baron, Pierre Tremblay, Phillip Ching, Jack Lam, Nancy Chan, Dragon Lee & Richard Harrison

Rosie is raped by three masked men, has an abortion, disconnects from her husband George (Jack Lam) and goes on a revenge spree. Posing as a diamond smuggler and getting inside the organization of Robert's, an Interpol agent (Bruce Baron) meanwhile hunts down the ninja (Pierre Tremblay) pulling the strings within all this...

Not in any way THE standout of IFD's ninja era, Ninja Champion is a product of its time, a product of the production line of cut and paste ninja action BUT one of the more well paced and oddball ones when it comes to Godfrey Ho's footage. Sourcing out of South Korea Kim Si-Hyun's (Secret Ninja Roaring Tiger) 1985 rape revenge actioner referred to as 'Poisonous Rose Stripping The Night' with familiar faces Dragon Lee and Jack Lam (Lam Chi-Foo), it takes up the majority of Ninja Champion naturally but Ho starts out on its blood drive rather than ninjas in an unusual move.

Effective in bursts, Kim Si-Hyun seems reluctant to push hard in the genre he's placed the story in. Not everyone need to be I Spit On Your Grave but Poisonous Rose seem a bit timid but on the plusside, at least as edited by IFD, we're thrown right into proceedings. Not even 5 minutes in and Rosie has infiltrated the criminal organization, taken out her first victim and some colors appear here in terms of violence and torture employed by Rosie. The movie has a little bit of a welcome brutal and cynical aura as Rosie has disowned her husband, men and probably life and on paper, the reveal why her and George drifted apart has some emotional effect. Getting better as it goes along, some Jack Lam headed martial arts is welcome and some of the latter revenge scenarios are fun as they feature poisoned nipples, hands bloodily squashed by car doors and impressive headshots but to call it anything but mostly a timid, occasionally aggressive time would be lying.

Godfrey Ho's ninja footage, including recycled Garfield phone footage with Richard Harrison in his one and only scene, is of the standard kind but unusually silly and more fun because of it. As Bruce Baron eliminates his targets in short fight scenes, each of them demonstrates something prior. Whether weapons skills or plate spinning skills which represents a ludicrous, drug fueled moment that thankfully was shot and preserved. It makes Ninja Champion quotable. Quite a few IFD movies are not.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson