Thursday, June 02, 2016

Ninja the Violent Sorcerer – review

Director: Godfrey Ho (listed as Bruce Lambert)

Release date: 1982

Contains spoilers

I’m not too sure what happened with this one, but I think I can guess. I saw a version on YouTube that was horribly dubbed and the director and cast were all given occidental names. These names are replicated on IMDb and I assume are those who dubbed the movie (if they aren’t just randomly made up names).

For Hong Kong movies I often check the Hong Kong Movie Database as well as IMDb. A search for Ninja the Violent Sorcerer actually leads to the Taiwanese film The Stunning Gambling directed by Chung Ching-Woon and says that Ninja is actually partially that film. I suspect that Godfrey Ho directed the supernatural parts featuring the ninja and kyonsi and cut them together with scenes from The Stunning Gambling. Like many such cut and paste movies, for instance Robo Vampire, this falls flat (though not as much as Robo Vampire).

an undead taoist
In a dark place, somewhere, what looks like an undead Taoist priest summons up two kyonsi. He sticks prayer scrolls to their heads and then sends them off. Another magician calls to the vampire world to shed its light of darkness. He puts a dot of blood on the heads of two corpses and retrieves two dice one from each corpse’s mouth. These are the North and South Gambling Kings and the dice will help a Mr Baker rule the gambling world.

Mr Myer
Mr Myer, the Gambling Master, walks in to his gambling den to find that Baker has come to challenge him. There is some dice fu (honestly, I don’t know what else to call it) between henchmen and then Baker’s moll blows darts into Myer’s man’s eyes. There is a card game arranged, a matter of life and death, but the undead Taoist seems to be magically manipulating the cards. Being a man of honour and having lost, Myers kills himself leaving his son Leslie an orphan.

fighting Ken
Leslie's uncle Roger is approached by Rose – the ghost of Leslie’s mother – who makes Roger swear vengeance on Baker. Luckily Roger is a ninja. He is training when a kyonsi attacks and so manages to vanish and reappear in his ninja suit. The kyonsi is actually his friend Ken, who had to dress up and test him on the orders of Rose! Ken is also a ninja and the two take it upon themselves to take on the supernatural element (with the help of a priest) whilst Leslie gets hold of James Weber, a one-time card shark and now a drunk, to take on Myers. Lost – I don’t really blame you.

The kyonsi are really rather tough and we get the sound of steel on steel as they block the ninja blades with their arms. There isn’t a lot more lore to offer you, in reality you’ll just be trying to map the plot out so it makes sense – and possibly watching for the joins. It is clear to me that the Stunning Gambling already existed and the additional scenes were built around it. Clearly, in the original language, the dialogue would have been very different in places.

Still it is mildly entertaining in a masochistic way 2 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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