This Godfrey Ho/Joseph Lai production has the distinction of having some of the ridiculous at times in the form of some of the newer ninja scenes mixed in with an exciting Korean action film starring the legendary superkicker Hwang Jung-Lee.
The Ninja Empire is a clan celebrating their 20th anniversary by combining the three pieces of the Golden Ninja Warrior, a statue that makes its possessor invincible. The Supreme Ninja shows his skills towards his protégés Harry and Towne. When they learn their leader has been corrupted, Harry and Towne, along with Japanese-born Tomashi, steal the pieces of the statue and fend off their former boss and his men. This prompts the Supreme Ninja to send his number one man, Yoshida, to find them.
Two years later, in Hong Kong, Tomashi has been viciously murdered and his sister Michiko and his friend Ikaza have possession of the body piece of the Golden Ninja Warrior. The killer is revealed to be Tiger Chan, who has been working for Towne. Towne wants to have the power of the Golden Ninja Warrior for his own merit. Facing constant threats, Harry turns to a friend, an Interpol agent named Jaguar Wong, to stop Tiger and his men. Will Harry be able to continue protecting his piece of the Golden Ninja Warrior, or will he have no choice but to face his former cohorts to keep the honor of his ninja skills alive?
For this 1985 IFD cut-and-paste ninja film, the original footage is taken from the 1984 Korean film The Uninvited Guest of the Star Ferry, a Korean film set in Hong Kong. While one will definitely laugh at Hwang Jung-Lee wearing a ridiculous blonde wig, one can’t help but love seeing him do one thing: show off his kicking skills. However, the surprise of the original film is the lead actor, Lim Ja-Ho, also known as Jack Lam. Lim possesses amazing kicking skills like his counterpart. The variety of multiple kicks he unleashes is quite impressive and drives the film, despite its cut-and-paste method. Of course, the original film really has not much to do with some golden statue and researching the film, it more involves corruption and murder when a Korean immigrant’s store draws the ire of some local natives.
The new ninja footage stars Richard Harrison, whose name became synonymous with this genre, even though he started out in Italian gladiator films and spaghetti westerns. Harrison plays a righteous ninja who learns his former cohort had gone rogue to get the power of the Golden Ninja Warrior all to himself. However, a third party, in the form of Philip Ko, has arrived to also get his hands on the statue for either his boss, played by Chiang Tao, or for himself. What is interesting and a bit absurd in one piece of the new footage involves Harry and his wife, played by Harrison’s real life wife Maria Harrison, getting assaulted by big crabs in their kitchen with Harry using a pen to use as a shuriken to take out the biggest of the crabs. It is ridiculous and in a nod to Ninja III: The Domination (1984), when the ninjas appear, they mysteriously have black eyeliner on as if they are “possessed” by their ninja spirits.
Ninja Terminator is one of the more better cut-and-paste films from Godfrey Ho and Joseph Lai. The meshing for certain scenes work well, while others, not so much. However, it is the action that drives the film, especially that of the original Korean film with Jack Lam and Hwang Jung-Lee showing some nice bootwork and a triple threat of a ninja-filled finale. Fans of this genre will definitely enjoy it.
WFG RATING: B
An IFD Films and Arts Limited production. Director: Godfrey Ho. Producers: Joseph Lai and Betty Chan. Writer: Godfrey Ho. Cinematography: Cheung Hoi. Editing: Vincent Leung.
Cast: Richard Harrison, Jonathan Wattis, Maria Francesca Harrison, Philip Ko, Jack Lam, Hwang Jung-Lee, Chiang Tao, Casanova Wong.