Thursday, May 22, 2008

City Ninja

The Action Mutant…
waits for “Rural Ninja”, starring Gary Busey!

City Ninja

review by Joe Burrows

What does it say about the current state of Action films when I can find far more entertaining results, online and for free? Don’t get me wrong; I may be a cheapskate but I will pay for something when it is quality. Maybe it’s something within our society, where fast food and short attention spans are the order of the day. It carries over into our entertainment as well. As long as it’s fast and easy to digest, who cares if it’s actually good or not (wait a minute…Arby’s isn’t easy to digest)? And yet, I end up defending a film that has two people screwing each other on an exercise apparatus. Strange how things work, huh?

The Plot, as it was:
Chen Wei Man stars as Wang Lee, a newly crowned boxing champion with more popularity and women than he knows what to do with. He’s in high demand from a businessman, who hires Wang for the purpose of retrieving a valuable necklace that has been floating about since WWII. The necklace is in the possession of some guy named Jimmy, who is also pursued by more lowlifes looking for said necklace. The film also manages to fit in exploding & disappearing ninjas, hand-standing pool players, undersexed Asian women, mud wrestling and more drama than a telenovela. And lots of shower masturbation. And no, I’m not kidding.

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
After viewing City Ninja, I swore to myself that I must have been lobotomized shortly before the start of it. I say this because I thought to myself “There’s no way in hell I could enjoy a movie this lame brained!” My only palpable defense is that this was Guilty Pleasure City all the way. It’s just so cheerfully convoluted and over the top in every way possible that it would be a waste of time to bash it for all of its faults (which are many). The acting, dubbing & editing are all atrocious and the plot stops making sense pretty much after 30 seconds of running time, yet everything’s forgiven with a healthy dose of Kung Fu action and wacky sex. It’s nowhere close to high art and yet, that’s where the charm lies. The flick basically scores on the formula mapping of fight scene-->sex scene-->repeat and there’s no try at being any more epic than that. The two heroes are pretty much interchangeable as far as looks are concerned, which leads to much confusion as to whether you’re watching Wang or Jimmy kick some ass. Frankly, it didn’t matter to me because trying to actually follow the movie would be a mistake. Just sit back, watch some ninjas disappear, some baddies get messed up and a boxing ring be used for anything but. It’s a City Ninja world and we’re all just watching it for free!

Body Count/Violence: 26. The fight scenes are pretty fun and everything’s thrown in at a good clip. We get some bloody shooting near the end, plenty of kung fu fighting, strangling, impaling, billiard ball throwing, pipe thrashing, car mayhem, stabbing, sword slashing, neck breaking and ninja combustion. This may also be the only film I’ve seen where a bad guy is force fed a billiard ball. Seriously, how can you hate on shit like this?

Sexuality/Nudity: If there’s any area City Ninja excels at (and trust me, there aren’t many), it’s in this department. There’s an amazing amount of softcore action within the film, with an equally impressive variety. There are no less than FOUR scenes of female masturbation and three of them take place in the shower! Along with some grinding in a locker room shower, female nudity from all vantages, skimpy lingerie and mud wrestling, we get perhaps the most ludicrous love scene to ever be put on celluloid (and that’s not in a porno). In it, Wang and his honey start screwing in the middle of the boxing ring, then fully nude against a corner post and (best of all) on a rowing exercise machine! Though the movie can be seen here for free, you can’t argue that you don’t get your money’s worth in the gratuitous nudity/sex area.

Language/Dialogue: Just some mild stuff here and there.

How bad was it?:
Not much on the critical front but what I read puts this film in camp classic territory. Actually, the rowing machine puts it in camp classic territory…the reviewers just reiterate that fact.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Distributed by First Films and made in Hong Kong, City Ninja was released in HK on 1/18/85. It grossed $2.2 million in its lone week at the HK cinema and can be seen on DVD in the 50 Movie Pack Martial Arts Collection that I have mentioned previously.

Film: *1/2/*****
Entertainment value: ****1/2/*****

Copyright 2008 The Action Mutant.

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