REVIEW: Ninja Champion (1986)

ninjachampion

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This “cut-and-paste” film from the gang at IFD take footage with the late Bruce Baron and combines it with a Korean revenge film.

In Taipei, a mysterious woman named Cherry has arrived to broker a deal with Robert involving diamonds. Interpol has gotten wind of the possible deal. Donald has photos of three members of the gang along with a French man named Morris, who is believed to be the leader of the smuggling ring.

Meanwhile, William Wong, the current Asian boxing champion, meets a mysterious young woman during his celebration party. When he attempts to seduce her, the champion finds himself poisoned. The girl turns out to be Rose, a woman who was raped by William and two other men months ago. The rapists are also involved with the diamond smugglers. Rose runs into old boyfriend George, an Interpol agent who when she was raped, abandoned her and married Jenny, the daughter of boss Larry. As Donald dispatches the members of the gang in the photos he received, Rose sets out to exact her revenge and uncover the entire conspiracy with the help of George, whose feelings for Rose have re-emerged.

One can only wonder why Godfrey Ho and Joseph Lai decided to make a Ninja film out of an interesting Korean revenge film and cash in with using footage with Bruce Baron as a white-clad Ninja secret agent. The original film, The Poisonous Rose Stripping the Night, is actually good as its own film. The film stars actress Choe Eun-Hye as a woman who goes after her attackers after she is raped. Ninja Terminator star Jack Lam plays the man who abandoned her only to fall for her and offers to help her get revenge as well. For those who will see the name Dragon Lee in the credits, it is THAT Dragon Lee. Only he appears in the tail end of the film as a police officer after the smugglers.

In the brand new footage, Bruce Baron has an opening scene with Richard Harrison as his superior. It should be mentioned that the footage of Harrison comes from the aforementioned Ninja Terminator. Pierre Tremblay, who plays Red Ninja leader and “diamond smuggler boss” Morris doesn’t appear until halfway through the film. A scene that does take advantage of the cut-and-paste method well is the conversation between Donald and George as it looks edited quite well. However, for the most part, Baron’s short fight scenes against the three Red Ninja henchmen are just thrown in at random times to some very funkadelic music.

Philip Ko is credited as the action director, but this only pertains to the new scenes involving Bruce Baron and his ninja skills. There are some fight scenes in the original film that sees Lam using taekwondo kicks and crisp handwork against the likes of Baek Hwang-Ki and others and ends in a heroic bloodshed style shootout that goes a little extreme at times. Meanwhile, the ninja scenes are a little too short with the finale between Baron and Tremblay being the longest and not too bad for this spliced footage.

Ninja Champion is a film that didn’t necessarily need to be a “ninja” film. The original Korean film, The Poisonous Rose Stripping the Night, looks like it could have been done well as its own. The ninja fight scenes seem a little too short and they don’t really make an impact over its Korean revenge flick. If you can get your copy on the original film, you’re better off going that route.

WFG RATING: C-

An IFD Films and Arts presentation. Directors: Godfrey Ho and Kim Si-Hyun. Producers: Joseph Lai and Choe Chun-Ji. Writers: Godfrey Ho and Jang Cheon-Ho. Cinematography: Cheung Hoi and Shim Myung-Yue. Editing: Vincent Leung.

Cast: Bruce Baron, Pierre Tremblay, Richard Harrison, Choe Eun-Hye, Jack Lam, Yoon Yang-Ha, Baek Hwang-Ki, Dragon Lee, Im Bong-Gi.

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