To move along with “Kung Fu Gunk Fu”, I have decided to aim my ninja focus on another Godfrey Ho project (this time not under the guise of his alias Bruce Lambert) called Ninja the Protector, from 1986. Its alternate title according to IMDb is Project Ninja Daredevils, but I don’t recall seeing any real daredevil ninjas, just really cool ninjas who fight other ninjas, mainly in public parks, logically.
The plot of this film involves ninjas, obviously, and some are good, some are bad. One is a cop, and all the others are part of an evil ninja forgery gang of sorts. It’s quite original, and extremely well-done.
Let me introduce the cast, of course:
We have Richard Harrison as Ninja Master Gordon Anderson,
Andy Chworowsky as Andy the cop, who doesn’t know what a ninja is,
David Bowles as Bruce, the evil red ninja dude and phone-glued baddie (you’ll see),
along with Warren Chan, Morna Lee, Clifford Allen, Vera Chang, Mike Tien, Joyce Chow, Yvette Chang (lots of Chings and Chans), a bunch of other Chinese actors whose roles I can’t pinpoint, and of course,
[no screenshot available]
It supposedly is the real Jackie Chan that we know and love, based on what I’ve read. However, he isn’t seen in this film for anything longer than an instant (however long that is), and I believe he’s in a costume, so it’s like an impossible game of “Where’s Waldo?” that I’ll never win. Oh well.
Anyway, this movie wastes no time in getting the viewer’s heart to race, with an awesome ’80s action theme and opening credits that establish this film’s unique setting, the only place where ninjas make sense, Hong Kong.
After seeing some shots of downtown and planes flying, with hardly visible credits telling us all who’s involved, we come here:
Inside, ominous music plays as a lone ninja in black walks down a dark hall,
stands still for a nice identification picture, apparently,
and kneels in the middle of a group of ninjas to throw this Ninja brand bag down.
Then we see a female ninja walk down the hall,
and I get a sense of déjà vu as she poses for an identification photo, too.
She also drops her exclusive Ninja bag and has a seat with the other ninjas.
How many times are we going to see this, you ask? Unfortunately, not enough, as the last one comes in.
Once they’re all gathered, they kneel beside each of their cute little stacks of cash laid out before them, bowing to a red-hooded man they call “Master.”
This mysterious man congratulates them on a job well done, for having killed a traitor in the group. Master is handed the traitor’s sword, utters, “Traitors must die” to confirm the punishment if it wasn’t already clear, and throws his uniform in the air, slicing it with the sword as it falls. Seems a bit excessive, but who am I to judge?
He also snaps the sword like a total badass, indicating these swords are made of something like breadsticks.
“To live the life of a ninja, is a sacred life to live,” he further states to his ninja followers.
“Born a ninja, die a ninja,” the congregation chants. Looks like there’s no changing their minds.
Cut to this place with the long name,
wherein police officers instead of ninjas gather around to discuss an international forgery case.
The not-quite-Timothy-Dalton-slash-Burt-Reynolds one at the head of the table is police chief Gordon Anderson, while big-boned Jeff Daniels is Andy,
and across from Andy sits nerdy Freddie Mercury, John.
You’ll want to remember these guys, because they wind up playing a semi-important role later. Forget about the rest of the Asians at the table, though. They’re pretty much just background.
Anyway, they all talk about the leads they’ve come across, sharing pics of the same guys we saw in the ninja headquarters earlier, plus a few others: Bruce, the leader and a white guy (and the evil red ninja during his off hours), Four Eyes (aka Albert) the broker, Susan the organizer, and Warren, who’s undercover for interpol. We get to watch each and every person in that room examine each and every picture and pass it on to the next person, with suspenseful music playing the entire time. In any other movie this would feel like a complete waste of film and a useless filler, but here it feels realistic, as each officer has to commit the pictures to their photographic memory.
One of the Asian guys introduces his own pictures of Four Eyes’s girlfriend, Lily,
and Warren’s brother David, who’s described as “a playboy and a troublemaker.” Ladies, if this pic of him doesn’t make your panties wet and loose, I think you might be defective.
The movie decides to focus on David next, in the blue shirt here, as he confronts some bikers about “borrowing” one of their bikes.
The guy of course asks, “Why didn’t you ask?”
“Well, you weren’t around,” David replies.
“Bullshit!” the biker snaps. “That bike’s like my girl. Nobody can touch it.” Not even you? Man, that must get frustrating for you, then.
In an incredibly robust cockney English accent, one of the other bikers shoves David and asks, “David, why don’t you buy your own bike?”
Because maybe he… can’t?
They crack jokes about how David’s poor, giggling, which gets David to snap. He fights pretty well for a minute,
but winds up deciding that being a pussy is better (much like certain ninjas in my Ninja Death review), and runs away, as a random woman stands somewhere nearby, helping by hiding behind a tree.
David gets to the top of a hill,
and starts rolling down as the gang behind throws rocks at him. The girl from the tree decides to help more by shouting off-screen, “Hey!”
What was her purpose in that scene? Oh, sorry, no time for that, apparently. Downtown Hong Kong is more important.
Presumably inside of that very building, a white woman named Linda calls forger Susan and tells her, “I’ve got the stuff. The quality is quite good this time.” Stuff? What stuff? She’s only looking at a single $100 bill.
Oh, right, a forgery business, not drug dealing. But would it still make sense to call the money “stuff”? It’s not like that’s any less suspicious to wiretapping law enforcement. You could simply say “I got the money” and tell her it’s good quality, pretty sure they can’t bust you for simply complimenting a pristine dollar bill you received. At the same time, I suppose the filmmakers could only get a hold of one $100, which is probably a tenth of this film’s budget.
Linda nonchalantly requests a hundred thousand more just like it. If only it were that easy to request money from people, like my parents. “Thanks for this nice $50 bill, real nice quality. If I could get fifty thousand more of these, that’d be great.”
“Goodbye, same deal next time,” Linda closes, as our undercover man Warren walks into another room where another woman hangs up at the same time. I’m assuming this one is Susan.
Susan and Warren have a chat about hiring him, with the starting salary being $3,000 a month, with extra for “each assignment”. Nice.
This place is the modeling school that Four Eyes runs, and Susan here is willing to “train” Warren, as she puts it, considering he has no experience modeling.
“I’ll try my best,” Warren assures her, like it’s so hard to look good. “But above board, no casting couch.” Above board? This innuendo is above my head, but Susan has herself a flirtatious giggle.
But we’ve got to catch up with the police work, so in walk Andy and John to speak with Gordon.
Gordon informs them that Warren has infiltrated the gang, but he’s having personal problems with his girlfriend and brother. Andy and John, being the apparent social workers they are, offer to help with them. Gordon says they can’t. Too bad. He does order them to run a check on David and the girl, though.
I just have to take a moment to appreciate the little PSA poster in the background here, as the three cops have magically changed positions around the table. It’s great.
Elsewhere, we catch up with Warren again as he walks down a fashion runway in a suit, trying real hard to look as stoically dashing as ever.
Susan ogles nearby.
Enough of that, though. Back to the forgery business.
Looks like one of the forgery gang’s cronies is trying to make a deal, but Gordon is on the case, following him. In a nearby park, he of course puts on his camo ninja outfit. Godfrey Ho really likes the GI Joe ninja aesthetic, doesn’t he? We didn’t get enough of that in Ninja Phantom Heroes.
In response, the other guy drops his bag of money, does a backflip and makes a deceptive peace sign.
Of course I don’t think it’s actually a peace symbol, as he eccentrically twirls his hand a couple times and winds up joining the costume party.
Their swords appear out of nowhere for a gripping fight.
Those mystical ninja powers show up, too, as the black ninja shoots some flame from his hand.
But Gordon’s got a star!
Sorry, blackie, but you’re fucked.
Gordon is highly satisfied as he pulls out handcuffs. At the same time, a brief cue from the main theme of Taxi Driver is heard. Is an original score too fancy for this flick?
The ninja doesn’t die, but is handcuffed to a bench… and just left there. Well okay, then.
Actually, Gordon makes an anonymous call to Andy and tells him to go to that park. Smart work, Gordy.
So, Andy and John go to the park, skeptical of what they’ll find based on the tip, and eventually locate the tragic ninja.
Unmasked, he’s recognized as one of Bruce’s men. They’re puzzled by his black pajamas. The man just tells them, “Only a ninja can defeat a ninja.”
I guess ninjas aren’t a concept in any kind of media in Godfrey Ho’s world, as Andy actually turns to John and asks, “What’s a ninja?”
“I’ll tell ya later,” John says.
Back at the station once the ninja’s arrested, Andy and John question Gordon about ninjas. Andy lies and says the guy put up a fight. Then he asks, once again, “What’s a ninja?”
Gordon laughs it off. “Just a fairytale. They don’t exist.” You sly bastard, you.
We then get a strange closeup zoom-in on John as he quickly says, “Now, ya see? I told ya they didn’t exist.” What? No, he didn’t! He said he’d tell him later. Well, in any case, I’ve never seen a man take so much pride in denying that something exists.
Meanwhile, we find that Warren’s hard work at wearing clothes while stone-faced has paid off, as he has many modeling offers. Good work, Warren!
Susan asks him out, so the two go on a date to a beach, where they just run,
and start rolling together as they suck each other’s lips off.
Warren gets a little grab-assy, too.
So, yeah, the two wind up fucking, probably regretting that decision as they dig the sand out of their assholes later. But it’s pretty damn romantic in the meantime.
We skip any post-coital discomfort, though, as Susan shows Warren her house.
“Do you like it?” she asks once they step inside.
“Who, me?” is Warren’s interesting response.
Actually, it happens to be his house that she’s giving to him. She expects him to eventually make enough money as a model to pay the mortgage. Looks like you’ve got more runway suits to wear, pretty boy.
Speaking of “pretty boy”, where’s that “playboy and troublemaker” David, Warren’s brother? All we saw him do was make trouble and run away from it. Oh, wait. Turns out Susan even bought him a motorbike, and in the next scene we see David practice his suave seductive touch on it.
David asks how Warren could pay for a new house and bike, and Warren just tells him he won the lottery, which pisses little miss four-eyes off.
This is Warren’s actual girlfriend, of course, and she suspects he’s into some illegal activities.
But now, it’s time to meet the big baddie himself, Bruce.
This is of course the red ninja we saw at the beginning of the film, playing his business man charade. He tells Susan over the phone that Tiger was killed. Who the fuck is Tiger? Surely not our beloved protagonist from Ninja Death.
We don’t ever learn of the identity or plot relevance of this Tiger (it can’t be the ninjas who were arrested), but you will be missed, whoever you are.
Regardless, Bruce tells her that he’ll find out who killed this mystery man, and tells Susan to be careful. Then she hangs up with… joy?
Thanks for that moment of pointlessness, Bruce.
We get to see Warren effortlessly allure women again, as he grooms himself for another modeling gig.
This older chick asks him out on a date (goddammit, Warren, you enviable prick), but Susan interrupts, and as Warren walks away she strikes a little forgery deal with the woman.
Four Eyes has a brief chat with Susan about business, during which she brings up the promising Warren, who might be able to help. It’s an interesting scene, mainly because Susan doesn’t even look in the general direction of Four Eyes as they talk, and a woman behind her appears to be attracted to me through the fourth wall. Shit, I’m blushing.
Bruce is back on the phone again. I get the feeling this is the only place we’ll see him apart from when he’s being his true ninja self.
He’s on the phone with a guy named Badger. I never knew so many people in the forgery business used animal names. Then again, I know nothing about the forgery business, so that could be legit.
Badger holds a box of cash in his lap in the back of a car and tells him, “The quality’s good this time.” This movie does love repetition.
“Okay, just pay mine back,” Bruce demands.
“It’s a deal.”
“Have a good time here.”
“Thanks. Hope to see you again.”
“Well, goodbye.” Bruce hangs up.
I wish I could write dialogue with such finesse.
Looks like Badger won’t get away this time, though, as Gordon traps his cab with his car.
Gordon and his partner then trap him in person, until Gordon decides to go after the cab driver, who’s making a run for it.
I wonder why Gordon always dresses in tennis clothes when going after people. Maybe he’s always on his way to a game when these damn ninjas interfere with their forgery.
Eventually they make it to yet another park, magically appear in their ninja outfits, and start fighting.
Half the time they just enjoy doing some parallel cartwheeling.
Eventually, though, this blackie gets handcuffed like his predecessor and seems to be in an instant state of looping psychosis as he almost robotically pulls on the cuffs.
Back at the police station, Andy tells Gordon, “I arrested another fairytale yesterday.”
John says, “I’d like to meet a real ninja one day.”
Gordon reassures them both that ninjas don’t exist. I bet this kind of conversation happens all the time in interpol cases.
Gordon then asserts that more evidence needs to be gathered against ‘ol Four Eyes here.
You know what, hold up. That guy looks almost exactly like Mr. Chan from Ninja Phantom Heroes. Could this be a Godfrey Ho regular?
Unfortunately, I think this will be a mystery forever as I’m not about to admit that all chubby, balding, thick-framed-glass-wearing, mustached Asian guys in Godfrey Ho movies look alike.
Getting on with this story, however, we follow the ever-stoic Warren to a little nightclub with the cheesiest ’80s slow pop music you’ve ever heard.
He’s not alone for long, as a woman approaches instantly. He shoves her off and drinks, until he spots this little number.
She starts walking over to him, too, until she’s stopped by two drunk guys who want to get her on their level. Needless to say, it doesn’t go over well and Warren decides to be a man, which means getting into a fight with literally every man in the place.
It doesn’t end well for him, though as he gets hit by a guy with… something in his hand, and we cut to his wound being dressed in bed by that mystery woman.
She gets a little handsy,
and of course they wind up naked and slamming genitals. It’s a little hard to tell what’s going on, given the lighting, but you do get rewarded with the vague shape of boobs in a few shots.
Oh no! It looks like this other woman is desperate for… something. Can anybody translate this lipstick?
Never mind. An echoey voice says, “I hate you.” I presume that’s what that says, too. I think this is Warren’s girlfriend sans glasses, who’s privy to his cheating ways somehow. She hates him so much that she reaches for her… key-shaped box cutter? Why you would have that in the first place, I don’t know.
She slits her wrist, and blood literally spurts in one large splat against the mirror, which probably won’t help get her lipstick message out.
The scene is so tense, though, that I’m shaking as I type this. I somehow care so much for the welfare of this woman who’s only had 2 half-scenes and about four lines of dialogue.
She winds up in the hospital, where David is there to comfort her. I smell a steamy affair in this playboy/troublemaker’s future!
He fails to get her to talk, though.
But clearly this isn’t that important, because we’ve got a random muscle man with blue bricks to focus on!
He really likes to stack them.
He also enjoys picking them up, switching them around, and putting them back down, sideways this time.
He also splits them. Whoa!
He definitely has to celebrate this achievement with a handstand.
He also stacks them while maintaining the handstand. Overachiever!
Maybe this is what Dr. Steele meant in my R.O.T.O.R. review by saying, “When I stack ’em, they stay stacked.” It all makes sense now.
The man gets disturbed by a phone call while doing this exercise and has to reach for his phone, which rests on a stool beside a picture of Gordon. Turns out it’s Bruce on the phone (where else would he be?), and he asks this guy to target Gordon, who Bruce refers to as “Jason Hart.” Um… what? The IMDb page clearly credits Richard Harrison as “Ninja Master Gordon Anderson”. Is Jason Hart his cop alias? Thanks for being so vague about this, Godfrey. Really making me work my brain.
Of course we then get a symbolic ripping of Gordon/Jason’s photo.
This ninja waits outside of Gor… Jason’s house in a tree, where he prepares to blow him away with some poisoned blow darts as he gets out of his car.
Jason catches him up there just as he’s about to get hit, though, and blocks a dart with a big white pad he just happens to keep in the front seat of his car, apparently.
In a flash, Jason transforms into camo ninja once again, and the two have a riveting fight with some cool closeup slow-motion shots.
The bad ninja gets his throat slit by Jason in the end, and looks quite defeated.
Way to go, Gord… Jason… Cop Ninja… whoever the fuck!
Meanwhile, David chews Warren out over the neglect for his girlfriend, Judy.
David wonders why he wasn’t there for Judy, but we know Warren was doing what he always does, of course: banging everybody but Judy.
He goes into her room to talk to her, asking for forgiveness. It’s got me tearing up.
“I was terribly busy,” is Warren’s half-assed excuse. “The time just went.”
He reasons he can stop modeling so they can be together. He tells her he wants to be with her, but we know that’s bullshit. She goes with him anyway. I do kind of want to believe that suave smile.
In other relationship news, we find Four Eyes trying to hit a woman (Susan?) and chase her around a room.
He says he won’t forgive her as he strips her clothes off on the bed. Not sure what’s so hard to forgive, I didn’t even know Susan (or whoever) was with this guy. Before we can get a clear picture of who it is, we cut back to that glorious poster in the police office, which seems symbolic at this point.
In come Andy and John to speak with Jason again, and Andy quips, “Hey, we found another one of those guys you said don’t exist. What were they called? Ninjas?”
John quips further, “Maybe they were on their way to a costume party.”
It’s good to know Godfrey Ho finds the concept of the ninja both entirely serious and mockable simultaneously.
Jason informs them that Four Eyes and Susan are getting close to catchable, and then immediately tells them to leave. Was it really necessary to come to the station for that?
Oh well. Time to see what this random white dude and Asian dude are up to in the woods.
Of course, the white guy is buying some of that fake money with real money. But Jason is there once more to put a swift end to the mischief.
He points a… little crossbow at them and shouts, “You’re under arrest!”
He shoots, but the white guy blocks it with the suitcase. That’s useless, however, as he just winds up handcuffed like the rest of the losers, yanking at it uselessly.
The other guy is Asian, though, so he’s automatically a ninja. The two do a lot of cartwheeling and flipping around aimlessly, like they’re supposed to move faster that way, but they both exert teleportation abilities, so frankly moving around at all is useless.
They of course start sword fighting, with much clishy-clashy. But then the baddie gets cut across the stomach, and has a moment to catatonically contemplate his final mistake before falling over.
Once again, our hero looks satisfied.
At Four Eyes’s house somewhere downtown, Four Eyes has a chat with Warren to try and get him into the business of trading money for money.
Warren backs out, likely wanting to stay with Judy, but Four Eyes walks him out and says he’ll be giving him a surprise gift. Could it be sex? Warren seems to like that, maybe not from Four Eyes, though. Could it be… murder? What’s up your sleeve, you glassed rapist buffoon?
He hands a photo of this “gift” to the nameless woman in the room (I think it’s Lily, now that I think of it) once Warren leaves, but we don’t see it. He just walks away laughing evilly.
The gift is not sex, nor is it murder, but instead it’s pictures of sex with… one of those women he banged, and Judy tears them up at Warren’s house in front of him and David, storming out the door after the confetti toss. Looks like you’re shit out of luck now, Warren.
Jason calls to comfort him, though, and says, “I understand your feelings,” with that poster in back perfectly representing those feelings of torment.
“Tell your brother not to fool around,” Jason orders. “Otherwise our mission will fail.” Has David fooled around with anything but that motorbike he got?
Speaking of which, David takes that motorbike out for a drive in some open space.
The film decides to cut back and forth between his face and Judy’s, hinting at an emotion tether of some kind between them, I suppose.
He doesn’t get to enjoy the ride for long before a group of guys, probably those bikers from the beginning of the movie, trip David with a rope.
The group grabs him, binds him and drags him somewhere with the rope. What, do they want to kill him?
He then livens up and gets into a fight that somehow feels like déjà vu, much like most of this movie by this point.
David stomps on one of the guys’ back at some point, which kills him instantly, of course.
This prompts the other three to run away.
Then David’s buddies come out of fucking nowhere to stumble upon the scene and comfort him.
The girl in the group asks like an oblivious moron, “Why’ve you been fighting?”
Seriously, where the hell did these people come from?
Maybe they’re hallucinations; maybe David’s imagining all of this, and is really just a bored, lonely kid playing pretend like all those ninjas. I think I’m beginning to see some more blurred lines between reality and dreams. I’m onto you, Godfrey!
One of the other guys tells David that the other three thugs will tell the police on him, and they all smartly decide to leave upon making that conclusion.
Who better to go to for help with the police? Four Eyes, obviously.
Four Eyes gives David a little money, and one of David’s friends says, “Mr. Albert can… settle anything. Remember to repay him when you can. You owe your life to him.”
Who the hell are these people again? I think Godfrey chose to leave a scene out that explains them; gotta make us fill in the gaps mentally, don’t you?
Four Eyes (Mr. Albert at this point, I guess) asks who David is.
“David Lee,” David exclaims with gusto.
Mr. Albert makes the connection.
“David… Do you know Warren Lee?”
“He’s my brother.”
Cue stingy musical cue!
Mr. Albert has David sit down, telling him his brother’s in danger. He basically says that Warren’s a slut and that his girlfriend Lily is planning to kill him. Wait, Judy or Lily? And she’s going to kill him? Oh, man.
Mr. Albert says that David can save his brother’s life before it’s too late… to save his life, and once he leaves we know this isn’t the case, based on Albert’s laughter.
As a matter of fact, the other three “friends” of David’s that popped out of nowhere, are not actually friends of his at all. The girl of the group even tells Mr. Albert that she hopes David dies because “he was with hands pony right at the wrong moment.” Not sure I got that, but the others laugh like evil bastards.
Jason prepares for a night battle with his trusty telescoping sai sword, and heads out into the dark to make some badass poses with a totally different sword.
Back at the hotel where Lily’s staying, David wastes no time in finding her room and smacking her around a bit.
He opens a couple closets for no reason and then warns her to stay away from Warren. Then he leaves, but an intruder, who’s apparently been hiding for a while in there, sneaks in with some plans of his own.
Poor Lily, or Judy, or whoever the hell you are in relation to Warren now. You will be missed.
After the killing, this intruder makes a call to Albert and informs him in an amazing deep cockney English accent, “I’ve dunnit, boss. It’s all ovah. Lily’s been killed.”
Warren finds Lily dead in her room, of course, but we don’t get to see much of an emotional reaction before Bruce pops in as the phone villain again.
He calls Susan and tells her he’s got an “important mission” for her. With just under 13 minutes left in the movie? I’d like to see how this turns out.
Susan appears in the familiar black hallway.
Gotta show that identification process again, don’t we?
For showoffy purposes, she flips in front of Ninja Bruce and lands in front of him, sitting down.
“This is a blunt mission,” he says. It better be, with such tight time constraints.
He tosses the pic in front of her.
“To live the life of a ninja is a sacred way to live. This I know,” Susan recites.
“You are a good ninja,” Bruce emotionlessly compliments. “Remember: the Ninja Empire shall be supreme, and righteous.” So let me get this straight, Godfrey. You actually have a Ninja Empire in this film, but you call this one Ninja the Protector, while 1987’s Ninja Empire has no ninja empire, and only a couple of ninjas? I love your sense of irony.
As Susan sneaks into Jason’s house, flipping about (because that clearly makes less noise than crouching), not simply a small piece of, but a huge chunk of Pink Floyd’s “One of These Days” plays. Fuck copyright.
Sensing something wrong, Jason awakes and sits up in bed, and magically appears in his camo pajamas with a massive crossbow.
He shoots Susan, but instead of a really dramatic death, she just squints,
and falls into a shadow so we can’t see shit. Good ninja, huh, Bruce?
While that mission failed rather quickly, we have to have an update on David’s plot point.
Back at his or Judy’s or whatever place, Judy tells David about how Warren’s been accused of murdering, in her words, “that creature Lily.”
David snaps. “He’s what!?”
Judy further explains there’s a ton of evidence stacked against Warren, and David determines that Albert has tricked him. He decides to take some action and leaves.
Back at Albert’s place, Albert celebrates Warren’s framing with his group of goons.
That Chinese guy with the English accent says, “Boss, we’d never let you down. You know us better than that!” He also says, “See ya later, big brother,” as he runs off with the goons to spend the money they earned.
Big brother? Why does he have English dubbing while Albert has American, then? Probably adoption.
Anyway, as they leave, David busts in and starts kicking their asses.
But pretty soon that’s reversed.
He does get free to fight some more, but Albert tries to shoot him. David gets close and knocks the gun away, but then Albert knocks David out and toward the gun.
What does Albert do? Well, I thought he might be quick to grab the gun before David can come to and grab it for himself, but Albert decides that being menacing is better and just walks slowly toward him while emitting that trademarked laugh.
Just as Albert is about to pick up the gun, a foot appears from behind the window. It’s Warren! And he’s amazing at tossing a gun to his hand with his foot, as well.
Albert seems to give up and cower by his fireplace as Warren points the gun, but then he spots a knife on the other side of the room. Bringing a knife to a gunfight is a bad idea, but grabbing a knife at a gunfight, on the other hand, is brilliant.
Anyway, he tries to grab it quickly, but fails and gets into a fistfight. It magically works in Albert’s favor, however, as he manages to somehow bring Warren to where the knife is, so he can wind up in this unbelievable position.
Of course, David manages to snatch the gun upon regaining consciousness, which results in a glorious slow-mo kill.
In spite of backing up to die, he winds up instantly dead face down over the coffee table, as Warren appears even further beneath it, as if the coffee table has its own gravitational pull.
I might be overthinking this, though.
Warren gets up and attempts to revive David, who’s passed out again.
But enough of that drama, we’ve gotta wrap things up with Jason and the two ninja deniers.
That red mound is apparently an anonymous gift for Jason.
This is what lies beneath:
Jason explains that when a long sword is set above a shorter one with a red cloth over both, it’s a challenge.
“No one can turn down the challenge,” he solemnly states.
Rather than be amazed and confused by his boss basically revealing he’s a ninja, Andy calmly asks, “Are you gonna accept the challenge?” He just said no one can turn it down, so clearly he must.
John, on the other hand, bobs his head up and down twice and asks, “You are a ninja, aren’t you?”
Jason looks closely at the sword and unsheathes it, before slamming it back in as the film cuts to his totally badass display of ninja prowess.
He tosses a few, um, smoke balls? One red, one blue, and one yellow,
which obviously signifies the significance of the three primary colors.
Actually, now that I think more about it, this is probably supposed to be some kind of symbol that indicates the challenge is on, as Bruce in his red getup just happens to be on his way, riding a motorbike.
Oh, wait, Jason appears on a bike, too.
Pink Floyd’s “One of These Days” starts playing again. It really works because this movie is as excellent and badass as that song.
They pass each other, turn around, and pass each other a few times before stopping and facing each other. It appears to be a ninja tradition.
They do the ninja equivalent of jousting, which involves driving back away, pulling out nunchuck-axes and crossing them together in the air when they meet.
After these pointlessly fall down on the asphalt, they turn around and do the same thing with swords.
Then they stop in front of each other and do the same with throwing stars.
Just as this starts to feel like a counterproductive time-wasting exercise, Bruce seems to come to the same conclusion and teleports away in a cloud of smoke.
With 2 minutes left in the film, does Jason just say “fuck it” at this point and go grab a beer? Nope. He instead runs to a gazebo to keep a lookout.
But Bruce is actually hiding there, waiting for his little opportunity.
He tosses the ninja star, but Jason just deflects it with his sword. They do a few flips over each other for no reason, and decide that turning their backs to each other and standing still is more effective.
They then slowly unsheathe their swords, and then turn around to meet more metal.
In no way is this repetitive or anticlimactic so far.
They do some more slishing and slashing, of course, taking turns hitting each other’s metal in various positions to pass that final minute,
among other things.
However, as Bruce flips away from the smoke, he gets hit with a ninja star.
He looks fairly unhappy about this.
Jason declares, “I am the champion of the ninjas!” Come on, finish him, Jason! Put an end to the Ninja Empire! Get rid of this scum who gives ninjas a bad name, making calls from his desk to inquire about the quality of fake money!
Oh, I guess you’re just going to walk off past him, and leave him to kneel and ruminate over his nonfatal defeat. Well, okay then. I guess you are the better man.
We hear the movie’s riveting theme play again as he walks away, and the movie lets us know it’s done.
Like the badass it is, this movie, like all other Godfrey Ho films, says “fuck credits” and leaves us with a couple seconds of blackness before it abruptly ends entirely.
Now, I thought Ninja Empire might Godfrey Ho’s masterpiece, but I actually think this is. You had characters who were skeptical of ninjas, shaking things up a little, a brilliant forgery plot that was so exciting it had me not on the edge of my seat, but sitting off of it entirely, and some amazing acting on the part of everybody involved.
I just have to give this 5 out of 5 horribly amazing stars. What an underrated gem this was to behold. Along with the other kung fu films I’ve reviewed, you can get this film in the Kung Fu 20 Movie Pack at Amazon for an insulting $7. Of course, you can also buy Ninja the Protector here on its own.