Ninja operation: Knight And Warrior (1987)

Directed by: Godfrey Ho
Written by: Stephen Soul
Producers: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan
Starring: Richard Harrison, Alphonse Beni, Grant Temple, Stuart Smith, Ma Sha, Yau Ying-Hung & John Cheung

Also known as Ninja: Silent Assassin and Black Ninja, in Ninja Operation: Knight And Warrior (triggering a series of unconnected movies/slash re-titles to make a total of 7 unconnected movies at IFD) Joseph Lai and Godfrey Ho play with the cut and paste structure for a fair bit in this one. Featuring close to half of the footage by themselves and the rest devoted to the sourced Taiwanese actioner A Girl Rouge (a blog post and credits to the individuals who confirmed the identification of the movie available here) starring Ma Sha, it's all as shaky and inept as you can imageine when the IFD players are allowed to stay this much in the frame. But the busy, yet inpentrable time here makes for crucial viewing for at least seasoned IFD veterans.

After igniting the movie with an abstract demo sequence set to the theme of Miami Vice, Richard Harrison gets a rest for half a movie and it's Alvin's (Alphonse Beni) drama (that at one point rips off Dirty Harry in the most obvious way possible) as a Paris based cop/ninja failing to protect a witness and his wife. Murdered after the order of ninja and heroin kingpin Rudolph (Yes...Rudolph, played energitacally by Stuart Smith), our black ninja re-locates to Hong Kong. As does Rudolph to find new shipping routes for his heroin. Enter renegade cop Gordon (Harrison) and the original Taiwanese movie where Edmund wants revenge after his father dies. His target: union leader played by Ma Sha...

An awful lot of threads by the half way point means it's a moving yet abstract mess of action, awkward acting and your basic editing to connect the movies into the illussion of one. But the difference in cut and paste structure, the script calling for a global feel and decent punch to the ninja action scenes (performed by the able Hong Kong stuntmen) still means the telltale signs for IFD fans are still there to be treasured. More highly and deeply than usual.

With Stuart Smith acting up a storm and clearly enjoying himself and even Richard Harrison showing life as cop on the edge, A Girl Rouge fares less well initially as the apparent story about union workers doesn't seem like something exciting (or sellable) for IFD to glue together with their own. But when Edmund breaks out into a revenge spree, a very rapid design shift happens as it starts appearing very outrageously 80s wardrobe-wise after a grounded look initially. Some decent fights and acrobatic action by the original crew also highlights this footage.

Ultimately IFD's own contributions are the highlight here as they put two leading men vs Stuart Smith and Grant Temple's ninjas by the end. Ninja Operation: Knight And Warrior seems more ambitious therefore and honestly, it doesn't really score more than sporadically but scoring at all is a major win within something carrying the IFD logo. Watch their actual filmmaking qualities for extended periods of time and if you approve, you know you're in for life.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson