Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ninja Dragon

The Action Mutant…
wonders if there’s a “Gestapo Dragon”?

Ninja Dragon

review by Joe Burrows

My evening log of Tuesday, March 4, 2008:

8:15 p.m. – I have a ½ gallon of whiskey sours I swiped from a recent party and I plan to work my way through it.

8:27 p.m. – Start watching Ninja Dragon on the movie site The description below describes its badness so I seem to have found the right method to review it.

8:32 p.m. – I exclaim “What the fuck is going on here?” in reference to the movie. This would not be the last time I say said phrase.

8:57 p.m. – Two friends on this cam site I frequent (names and site withheld) come online. One is a thin brunette with starry eyes and a cute, slight overbite & lips you want to suck the gloss off of. Her friend is a blonde with a slightly fuller figure and Playboy PJs that say “I’m sleeping over…for the weekend!”

9:01 p.m. – The girls break into the drinks. I’ve stopped paying attention to the movie.

9:14 p.m. – For the second time, I ask myself of the movie, “What the fuck is going on here?” The hot, drunk girls have NOTHING to do with that.

9:19 p.m. – The blond girl takes her shorts off and reveals cute panties, with a multicolored, checkered pattern. The brunette takes her sweatpants off and reveals boyshorts with a camo print motif. The brunette wins. I have my second drink (not a shot, mind you…a full tipped glass). I have officially checked out from the movie.

9:31 p.m. – After seeing the girls dance and tease to several contemporary dance hits, I go back to watching the movie. I, again, exclaim “What the fuck is going on here?” (Note: This isn’t merely the drinks and the hot women talking…watch the movie and you’ll see).

9:36 p.m. – The main star of Ninja Dragon, Richard Harrison, looks familiar to me. I check his IMDB page and he’s been in about 768 “ninja” films. And he hates his involvement in them. And he wears his eyeliner like Klaus Kinski in Crawlspace. The influence of Robert Smith will live on forever! Speaking of influence…

9:59 p.m. – I get my third drink. I exclaim my favorite phrase for what seems like the seventeenth time by now.

10: 22 p.m. – The movie ends. It sucks but it’s a fun kind of suck. Read on.

The Plot, as it was:
Harrison plays Gordon, a rich guy that’s so rich he wins business acquisitions through high stakes poker games! One of his associates is killed by some gangsters and it sets off a chain reaction/gangland war among the neighboring sects. Meanwhile, Gordon takes out his enemies with his…ninja skills, which includes donning a ninja suit in a puff of smoke and using all sorts of darts and knives. The only way of doing things…is the ninja way!

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
I expected all kinds of suck from Ninja Dragon and wasn’t disappointed for the most part. Nothing in the film resembles anything that would be made with some sort of skill, from the writing to acting to direction to…just keep going. There are absolute howlers, such as English being badly dubbed over…English and the music score being pumped in way too loud for its own good. If that’s not enough to get you going, the exploitation in the film isn’t just concurrent with the story. Harrison, a world known B movie star from the 50s to the 90s, filmed several random ninja fight scenes that he supposedly thought were to be included into one film. However, director Godfrey Ho stretched Harrison’s name for as much as he could by inserting the fight scenes randomly into different films and putting Harrison’s name prominently on the cover art. Basically, the viewer sees Harrison show up unexpectedly, fight a ninja (that is always in a red ninja jumpsuit and dons it with a puff of smoke, also), defeat him and disappear for another 20 minutes. So, if it feels like a somewhat different film when Harrison comes on screen, chances are it is literally that way. All in all, Harrison is on screen for about 15 minutes, yet is dubbed as the star (clever that Ho is, eh?). Yet, Ninja Dragon is 87 minutes of all camp, laughable to cheap action, horrid dialogue (love all of the “poker” references), gratuitous sleaze and…well, it’s the perfect film to watch drunk. Toast Richard Harrison and toast this insane excuse of celluloid!

Body Count/Violence: 57. Keeping with the standards of the decade, Ninja Dragon is full of dead bodies and mindless carnage. Plenty of bloody shooting comes about, which results in one of the film’s funnier gaffes (a gangster cocks his gun, pulls the trigger, THEN stuffs the gun in his victim’s mouth, which is followed by the shot and blood loss. It’s a magic gun, bitches!). Aside from gunshots to the chest, leg, kidneys and crotch (classic!), there are also sword slashes, knives and darts at play, drowning, throat slashing, head bashing, etc.

Sexuality/Nudity: Three scenes, three gratuitous tit shots! And they looked to be staged with the same randomness that Harrison’s ninja scenes were inserted in.

Language/Dialogue: Some mild language, with most of it being a favorite seven letter noun that’s popular with the martial arts genre.

How bad was it?:
If the review didn’t really tip you off to anything, most called this amongst the most hilariously awful in a genre ripe with examples. I can’t help but to think that there’s actually a worse ninja film out there (and it probably involves Richard Harrison).

Did it make the studio’s day?:
No box office or budget figures are available from this IFD Films and Arts release. Well, at least they didn’t spend much on new footage.

Film: BOMB/*****
Entertainment value: *****/*****

Copyright 2008 The Action Mutant.

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