Ninja Champion (1985) Review

Well, it’s time for another contribution to “Kung Fu Gunk Fu”, with yet another Godfrey Ho masterpiece (seriously, has the guy done anything bad?) called Ninja Champion, from 1985. Yep, another one with “ninja” in the title and a plot that has a ton of Asians with caucasian names, and only a few ninjas. But any movie with ninjas has to include them in the title, according to Godfrey Ho, even if this movie is almost entirely about a rape victim who takes revenge on diamond smugglers, and this woman doesn’t even become a ninja, let alone a ninja champion. This is my longest review so far because this movie has so much amazingness packed into 90 minutes, but I’ve split it into several pages to make the whole reading process a bit simpler.

I’ll introduce the only cast members I can accurately identify, starting with Nancy Chang as the brave heroine Rose,

Nancy Chang as Rose in Ninja Champion

Bruce Baron as interpol agent Donald who’s also the white ninja hero (just like Jason from Ninja the Protector),

Pierre Tremblay as Maurice the Ninja Boss,

Jack Lam as Rose’s estranged lover George,

and Richard Harrison’s cameo appearance as, um, some guy named Richard with a Garfield phone.

The rest of the cast, as per Godfrey Ho usual, is a mystery, much like a ninja. IMDb gives them no direct credits, and this film has no end credits to help me out, so we’re just gonna jump into this thing.

Not “much like” but exactly like Ninja the Protector, the opening credits play over amazing shots of Hong Kong.

Joseph Lai credit over Hong Kong

Godfrey Ho credit over Hong Kong

Okay, so we only see a few shots of Hong Kong this time until we cut to a scene in some forest somewhere.

As the credits continue to play, we see a man get pulled out of a tent and tied up and left on the ground, while a woman in her underwear struggles with a couple of assailants who seem to want more from her than material things.

Oh no. It looks like they’re about to rape h—

Wait, what? I guess the film just felt the rape was too graphic to show and cut to the aftermath, where she gets an abortion at a hospital and makes some pained faces as the doctors operate. It’s actually quite difficult to watch.

At least there’s an element of class with this film, not feeling the need to show—

Thanks, Godfrey Ho, for expressing your feminist support by having a woman subjected to the pain of rape, beating and abortion within the first minute of this film.

After whipping her as she’s tied to a tree, we only see the assailant walk up to her before the film cuts to her back at the hospital, at least. She lies on the table, pleading as the doctor requests more morphine, “Please, just do it. Don’t worry about the gas.” Wait. Morphine gas? Regardless of whether this magical morphine gas exists or not, this scene is traumatizing at this point.

“IFD Films is proud to bring you this woman’s senseless torment.”

The doctor tells her it’ll be too painful for her.

The woman responds with the line, “Go on. The more I suffer, the better it ends for me. At least I’ll remember the pain. Oh, the pain that I’ve been through. No gas. Don’t.” I wonder if I could ever get to the point where I’ve been through so much pain that I need the pain and, instead of wanting to erase it, want to remember it forever in order to enjoy everlasting suffering. Godfrey Ho really knows his psychology.

She makes a couple more jerks of pain before we’re shown a Korean Air jet taking off. Who was in this clearly important flight? Apparently a woman who’s arrived… somewhere, and she’s escorted into a car by a couple of men. This is the same woman from before, I presume.

They drive down some very Asian-looking streets that I assume are in Hong Kong, like every other Godfrey Ho film, and we get a closer look at what might be our heroine.

She’s eventually let out at an office building and we follow her inside with the two men, where they meet with the guy who’s the proud owner of the fattest fucking cigarette holder in the world.

This is probably the big bad boss, because every main villain in Godfrey Ho’s films has the same thick frame, same thick glasses, and the same pencil-thin mustache. I think they’re all clones of each other made just to run every aspect of Hong Kong’s criminal underworld.

Anyway, the man’s two goons aim their… knives at the woman? What if she brought a gun? Hope you two are quick enough with those.

Then the woman removes her glasses and does exactly what I thought she would, and disrobes. Of course, the entire half of the screen below her neck goes blurry because her breasts are so blindingly magical.

The big man is pleased with this view, of course, and takes a puff from his Freudian cig holder.

It looks as though this woman was simply brought up there to wow the trio with her tits, as she just stands there and looks at both men beside her for approval. Then we get a close-up of the fuzzy glory, and I feel like I have a cataract.

After a little more staring at this nothing, the men, um, remove her nipples?

“And this is just a sample of the diamonds,” the woman says. Ooooh… Wait, what? She keeps diamonds on her breasts? Was a briefcase or even a backpack too hard to use for smuggling? Diamonds could get past 1980s airport metal detectors, you know. She’s lucky they didn’t pat her down, but I suppose if they did she could’ve just told the staff she had a condition where diamonds grow on her chest. Or she could’ve hidden them up her snatch like every female coke smuggler does these days, which is just as dignified. There are many other ways to do this, but I digress.

“We’ll do it properly next time,” she continues. “So you get your team ready for it.” They’ve got to get ready for it? Sounds like she’s planning on storing them in the bottom half next time. That’ll be a real show. You’ve written a great feminist hero, Godfrey.

Moving on, this woman gets the big boss to sign a form saying he got the goods.

“I heard you were a tough cookie,” the man says, laughing. He then offers her a chance to work for him, and she accepts. “Welcome to the company, then,” the man says. “Good luck!” Yes, because when you hire somebody all you do is wish them luck. The big baddie says they should throw a party to celebrate this new recruitment (okay…) as well as the boss’s brother’s “triumph” (?).

“How about that then?” he asks, his mouth full off co—cigarette holder.

The man then explains his brother’s “triumph.”

“I’ll introduce you to him tonight. He’s a handsome one in the family. He just won the boxing championship of Asier [British pronunciation of ‘Asia,’ as all Chinese presumably say it].” He then breaks out into laughter, because boxing championships are hilarious and I’m too stupid to get the humor, I guess. The woman doesn’t get it either, apparently, so I’m not alone.

Cut to the party, where we see this aforementioned brother holding up his trophy, representing the boxing champion of all Asia here.

“Well then, Asian boxing champion, how about going for a round with me?” our heroine asks the Asian boxing champion, only after we see an ’80s dancer in a bikini and listen to some ’80s pop with a lot of flashing ’80s club lights.

“Well, I’d be honored,” he replies. “It’s not often I get asked by such a beauty.”

“It’s not often that I ask, but it’s to celebrate the fact that we just met.”

Is this a normal thing for her? She didn’t dance with the big boss man, or the two goons from earlier when they just met. Whatever.

The two engage in some slow dancing, and the woman looks quite happy to “celebrate” this new acquaintance.

She compliments him on his ability to hardly dance. Then she says, “You know, when you hold me so close like this, I can really feel your body.”

“Do you like what you feel?” the Asian boxing champion asks.

“Heh heh,” the woman minimally laughs. After she turns for several seconds and we see the couple’s feet, she says, “Oh, yes. I like what I feel. But maybe you’re too big and strong for a girl like me.”

“I won’t hurt you. I can be very gentle just like when I’m dancing.”

Someday I’ll be able to write magnificent dialogue like this. Someday, dammit.

The scene is cut short, though, as we find ourselves overlooking a random spot of Hong Kong as some guy named Richard tells some guy named Donald that he’s leaving for Cairo from Washington in a few days. Donald inquires about some photos he sent to Richard as he thinks they might be the men responsible for the woman’s rape, whose name is finally revealed to be Rose.

Donald looks quite leisurely,

while Richard (played by none other than Godfrey Ho favorite Richard Harrison!) looks quite serious with his Garfield phone.

Richard explains that the suspected rapists are part of a diamond smuggling operation. They’re supposedly trying to “oust” some guy named Maurice. Donald doesn’t like this and says Maurice quit. Now some dude named Robert is controlling the operation, but Donald thinks he’s only a puppet. Donald continues to confuse me in his exposition when he says “they” lost Rose because some guy named George “went and got married,” and Donald doesn’t think George can handle those “three goons.” So, who the fuck is George, and what exactly is Rose’s relation to George or Donald and Richard here? And what is George’s relation to anybody, really? And who exactly are in these pictures? Did I miss something?

Richard explains that Rose is working with Robert to find the rapists, and that she can take revenge. Now that last part I can understand. Richard tells Donald not to do anything.

After they hang up, with Donald signing off with the hilarious vague Egyptian reference joke, “Say hello to Gaddafi for me,” he seems to find something off about the photos of our suspected rapists/diamond smugglers here, though we don’t know what. Maybe it finally struck him how these happy guys are actually horrible people.

Well, regardless, we find ourselves at the hotel where Rose welcomes the Asian boxing champion. Could he also be the titular ninja champion?

He brings her some flowers, and the two walk into the kitchen area. As the man prepares a drink, he mentions that he recognizes Rose from somewhere, but can’t pinpoint it. Considering he’s a rapist and most likely knows this about himself, he might want to think harder when he says shit like that around women.

Wasting no time, immediately after pouring himself a glass of wine, the man only takes one sip and carries Rose into the bedroom. And being the romantic that he is, he just plops her on the bed like a dead fish.

He takes his shirt off and Rose recognizes this pendant on his chest, presumably as something the guy wore as he raped her. He says his mother left it to him. Aw, the rapist is a mama’s boy. She clearly raised him right.

As they make out on the bed, Rose uncaps a spray bottle of some kind,

and manages to spray some on her nipple, which spurns a reaction as the Asian boxing champion begins to suck on it.

Rose throws him off and the man groans in pain, suspecting the wine had something in it.

“Not the wine,” Rose says, her clothes back on. “My nipple, you jerk.” Rapists are jerks, aren’t they? The man explains the rape was a setup by some guy named Ronald. And the rape plot thickens.

When the man won’t reveal who the third rapist was, Rose threatens him with… a string? A shoelace? It’s clearly not a whip as she unravels it in her hands.

She begins to whip him with it, which actually seems to hurt this Asian boxing champion,

and we see flashbacks to when Rose was whipped while being raped as well. It’s quite the poetic justice.

She then brings him into the bathroom, explains further how she wants revenge, denies his request for forgiveness, and then she stuffs a cloth in his mouth and runs what I assume is hot water over his face. Either that or she’s just cleaning him forcefully.

Sweet revenge for our rape victim here, but aren’t there supposed to be ninjas in this thing? That’s to be determined, as Rose later watches the news reports about police finding the body of her first victim, William Wong, and the newscaster even refers to him as the “boxing champion of Asia.” Clearly not a ninja champion, though.

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