So, for my third to last chapter in “Kung Fu Gunk Fu”, I planned on reviewing Godfrey Ho’s Hands of Death (aka Ninja Operation 7: Royal Warriors, even though it’s not actually a sequel to anything, and there are no warriors or anything “royal”), but then I discovered to my absolute horror that this was not the Hands of Death in my 20 Kung Fu Movie Pack DVD set when sitting down to watch it. Instead, that film turned out to be a different 1974 Hands of Death, aka The Tongfather, starring and directed by Peng (or Roc) Tien.
For this next edition of “Kung Fu Gunk Fu,” I want to ask: Have you ever wanted to see a glacially paced movie wherein a multiracial band of martial arts assassins with no personalities do the bidding of an evil woman, and only a double-digit-IQ police lieutenant and a bland hero with no real ambitions or hope in life can stop them mostly through laziness? If so, Paul Kyriazi’s 1976 classic Death Machines is the film for you.
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.
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.
This next film in my “Kung Fu Gunk Fu” lineup is something I found to be absolutely unjustifiably brilliant. It is without a doubt one of the best ninja movies I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Ninja Assassin, a movie that had an assassinating ninja! I’ve also come to the conclusion that ninja movies can only be good or great, and this one is definitely the latter. It had me so involved and so intrigued, not to mention there are some amazingly erotic scenes that managed to get my mini ninja to stealthily pop up.
This movie I’m touting as one of my new faves is Ninja Death I by director Joseph Kuo, from 1987, the same year as the last film I reviewed, Ninja Phantom Heroes (also called Ninja Empire). It’s the first movie in a three-part series that has a story which rivals the original Star Wars trilogy, but I’ll only review the first in order to pay attention to other bonafide classics in this genre.
To kick off what I’ve just now entitled “Kung Fu Gunk Fu”, here’s a movie that somehow managed to slip deep into the cracks of obscurity without so much as a whimper, and that’s because behind its fragile shell lies a tough suit of armor just waiting to unleash itself like a stealthy ninja. This movie I speak of is one solid diamond in the rough called Ninja Empire, directed by Bruce Lambert (a pseudonym of the almighty Godfrey Ho) in 1990. In actuality, this film is a 1987 flick called Ninja Phantom Heroes, as another film named Ninja Empire directed by Ho is the one that appears on IMDb with that title, about ninjas investigating murdered prostitutes. It’s all a bit confusing, really, and the reviewers on there seem confused as well.
As a little update, I’ll let my relatively small (but growing) number of readers know that I was planning on reviewing a movie suggested to me a few months ago, a little indie film called Republic of Pete, but I just didn’t think it was big enough to warrant a lengthy examination quite yet. If that film reaches audiences to the point where it’s generally regarded as horribly amazing (I will make this an original catch-phrase, dammit!), then I might review it in the future. You can view the entire qualified masterpiece on YouTube, and it has a mediocre 5.9/10 rating on IMDb that can’t possibly be due to nepotistic rating.
In the meantime, I’ve decided to review a bunch of low-budget Kung Fu movies on my Kung Fu 20 Movie Pack, available on Amazon. This is the absolutely testosterone-rush-inducing cover for the pack:
I’ve cherished these films for years and want to spread the amazingness to the rest of the filmgoers out there. Even though I remember getting this collection at 14 years old thinking the great Bruce Lee would be in there only to mistake the amazing “Bruce Li” for him, I’ve come to adore every single movie in this. My first review will be for the 1990 Godfrey Ho classic Ninja Empire, which should be up by the end of the night tomorrow (between 12-1am CST, because I’m sure you’ll be sitting by your screens for hours, rocking back and forth while sucking your thumbs in anticipation).
As a matter of fact, I’ll compile a full list right now of the films I’ll cover from my collection, some of the absolute best of the bunch (most have either “Ninja” or “Death” in the title, interestingly):
1. Ninja Empire – 1990
2. Ninja Death I – 1987 (don’t know why the sequel isn’t on here)
3. Ninja The Protector – 1986
4. Ninja Champion – 1985
5. Death Machines – 1976
6. Hands of Death – 1987
7. The Weapons of Death – 1982
8. Four Robbers – 1987
While most guys will be busy going out with friends and family or making love to their girlfriends, I’ll be busy guzzling gallons of booze while watching and writing about these award-worthy films for the next couple of months. I promise that all those others will envy my experience. Oh yes, they will.