1978, Pelifilm/Koinonia Films

Jay Wertz
Leo Fong
Frank E. Johnson
Kim Ramos
Galen Thompson
Frank E. Johnson

Leo Fong (Kimon Matsuda)
Cameron Mitchell (Sam Hacker)
Hal Bokar (Steadman)
Philip Baker Hall (Mike Sills)
Stack Pierce (Frank Washington)
Vic Silayan (Raoul Amante)
Larry Silayan (Lt. Amante)
Joe Mari Avellana (Liang)
Laird Stuart (Young Steadman)
Butz Aquino (General Matsuda)
Roma Roces (Mieko Matsuda)
Ruben Tizon Jr. (Young Kimon)

This American-Filipino martial arts film may bring a sense of cheese value, but it is “so bad it’s good” thanks to martial artist and filmmaker Leo Fong.

Near the end of World War II, a band of American soldiers in the Philippines raid the home of Japanese general Matsuda. They not only proceed to kill the general, but some of the soldiers rape Matsuda’s wife and then, leader of the pack Steadman shoots her in cold blood. The only survivor is young son Kimon, whom is let go because one of the soldiers, Sam Hacker, feels remorseful of what his fellow soldiers had done.

Flash forward to the present day. The soldiers decide to go back to reunite and reminisce about old times, especially their last victory. Upon arriving, the now older Sam still feels some of the guilt that haunts him. As for Steadman, he has become a drunken old man who still thrives on the glory of the past. As some of the others have mixed feelings towards their previous victory, that becomes the least of their problems.

Kimon Matsuda is alive as well and has learned of the reunion. He decides this is the perfect opportunity to get his revenge. Armed with martial arts skills and his father’s old samurai sword, which he paid for at an antique shop, Kimon is ready to seek his revenge. Disguised as a ninja, he begins to confront and pick off the soldiers one by one. Can Matsuda be stopped or will the ghosts from the past seal the deal for the soldiers?

Leo Fong is quite the martial arts filmmaker. While he has done all B-movie films, those films can be described as “so bad it’s good”, because it’s great seeing him on the screens. He is definitely a cult figure in the world of martial arts films and this film is no exception. The only issue of the film is that it drags for a good portion before we see any decent action going on.

The first ten minutes revolve around the catalytic event that triggers Kimon Matsuda’s thirst for revenge: the brutal murder of his father and then the rape/murder of his mother.  After that, the next thirty minutes revolves around the elder soldiers, some of whom still feel the guilt for what had happened while some are still thriving on it. It is apparent that the leader of the bunch, Steadman, is exactly who one will want offed as soon as possible because he constantly gets himself and his fellow soldiers into constant trouble. He thinks he can get what he wants just because of his past glory. This even leads into dissention within his own ranks at times.

When the action does finally pick up, with the exception of one scene, it is less than exciting as Matsuda talks before using his sword and one-hits the soldiers. The one exception comes in a fight scene where Matsuda, disguised as a stuntman on a film crew, takes on one of the soldiers who has become an action film star. They fight for a good few minutes before Matsuda breaks his neck and then proceeds to take on any film crew member who stands in his way. This is the highlight of the film in terms of action, while the rest is all mishmash. Even those expecting a climactic fight scene will be disappointed as there isn’t any.

Revenge of the Bushido Blade was also released as Ninja Nightmare and its original title, The Last Reunion. Under any title, with the exception of the movie set fight scene, it isn’t exactly a great film. Yet, it’s one that can be a timewaster with the guys on a Saturday night.