The Thundering Ninja (1987)

Directed by: Joseph Kong
Written by: John Barnes
Producer: Tomas Tang
Starring: Stuart Smith, Pedro Hughes, Bernard Geurts, Joe Redner, Klaus Mutter, Leung Fei & Jimmy Wang Yu

After a documents transaction doesn't mean the evil ninja gang gets their hands on the files of the K16 Ballistic Missile System, they send in David (Jimmy Wang Yu) to help aid this goal over time. Having severed ties with his family that's suffered greatly at the hands of the ninjas, the gang begins questioning David's loyalty over time. Investigating all this is a ninja agent played by Stuart Smith (Stuart Steen here)...

Filmark aren't re-inventing the cut and paste formula with The Thundering Ninja because business is often fast business so squeezing what they could've out of the ninja trend was the name of the game. Sourcing the 1977 Taiwanese gangster actioner The Criminal to insert Smith and ninjas into, starring Jimmy Wang Yu, Tomas Tang opens with a ninja appearing in a puff of smoke and for the movie it means fair energy divided between the new and old shoots merged as one here.

Stock formula plot, minor interaction with the old Taiwanese footage (Stuart Smith and various ninjas mostly watch the other movie from afar), since this is also a Wang Yu movie The Criminal does offer up a handful of gritty, hard hitting action scenes. Suited better to Wang Yu's lack of skills at martial arts and more to his brawling, power is quite acceptable for the few skirmishes that do occur. As a family drama, it's nothing out of the ordinary and at least in terms of how Filmark structures it, there's no surprises either in terms of twist but the original cast and crew seems to mean what they're doing at least.

For any cut and paste venture be it from Filmark or IFD, the questions are about how well or not so well they will merge their own footage with the old, how much hokey, inept, fun energy they will be able to inject and for The Thundering Ninja, it delights quite a bit via its fairly extensive footage. Ranging from Stuart Smith's opening outdoor run carrying light weights to ninjas running around urban Hong Kong in broad daylight, the action is always very fluid and complex for the short bursts they do occur. Obviously performed by the Chinese stuntmen, Smith is still a bit of a delight with his always energetic demeanor (sadly not dubbed by himself though) and while Filmark were a lot more fun as a company when smashing together genres of sci-fi, horror AND ninjas, The Thundering Ninja entertains for the product of business that it ultimately is.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson