Ninja Terminator is two movies in one – Is that a good deal? #ninjaterminator
Continuing my Quest for B-Movies ™, I came upon Ninja Terminator (1985), which inspired me to watch it if only to hear stolen Star Wars music. Seriously, the thing begins with a chorus of spliced together Star Wars music, then transitions into some original disco crap over the titles. Maybe this was made in the 70s and not released until the 80s, but it certainly feels dated. Unfortunately, this is the greatest crap the IFD studio ever made.
Studio heads Godfrey Ho and Joseph Lai created over 118 crappy movies, most with the word “ninja” in them. They are crappy movie legends. Ho was a self-made director. He began his career by splicing bits and pieces of unrelated content together into a “movie”, or what he called a movie, because it certainly isn’t anything recognizable. He used actor Richard Harrison in a LOT of his movies because he was an affordable low-budget leading man living in Hong Kong and Ho used the cut-and-paste technique to feature Harrison in dozens of unwitting roles. Too bad for him. Ninja Terminator is one of Ho’s “works” featuring footage of Harrison from the 70s and 80s. Harrison was so disgusted with the “ninja” cut-and-paste movies, he returned to the USA.
The voice-over tells us that we’re about to witness a “bloody struggle to retrieve the Golden Ninja Warrior!”. Really? Harrison and his pals steal the Golden Ninja Warrior from its sacred place in the Golden Ninja Temple, in Hong Kong. Then they leave. No blood. Not really much struggle. I was lied to.
Ninja Terminator is one of those ‘it’s so bad it’s good’ movies. It’s not dull. It has plenty of ninja jumping around action. Before they take the Golden Warrior, Harrison and his two pals are slicing and dicing evil ninjas dressed in red. It’s contrived in places and doesn’t last very long. Too bad. Anyway, Harrison and his buddies leave. Movie over, right? Nope. Harrison calls his pal on a Garfield Phone. LOL.
The second part of this movie is actually another feature spliced together with the Ninja Terminator footage. It’s the cut-and-paste technique again. The movie skips ahead two years and now the red ninjas are after Harrison and his pals. You’d think the main character would be the one on the quest, but that’s not what this movie is about, I guess. Anyway, the red ninjas kill one of Harrison’s buddies and take the Golden Warrior. The splicing is so bad, some important dialogue takes place as we look at a mound of dirt, next to the grave of Harrison’s buddy. Actually, I’m not sure what’s going on at this point. Who’s got the Golden Warrior? Why is this important?
The other movie spliced together with Ninja Terminator was called Jaguar and features Harrison dressed in a camouflage ninja outfit. Jaguar is actually another character, but this section of the movie features Harrison battling off red ninja attackers. One of them sneaks into his kitchen and it looks like he’s going to get the drop on him, but instead, Harrison disappears and becomes a ninja! He comes out of nowhere in his camouflage ninja outfit, giving his attacker the Staredown of Death to some overdamatic music. Hilarious stuff. He pulls something out of his pocket and extends it into a sword. Just classic right there.
There’s plenty of hilarious B-Movie stuff like that in this dumb movie. Most of the fights involve the ninjas trading gimmicky attacks. One of the ninjas tries to blast Harrison with his ninja sword flamethrower, but he uses his fire extinguisher sword to teach this guy a lesson. Pretty funny.
Harrison later explains that there are PIECES of the Golden Ninja Warrior scattered all over the place, just waiting for serious ninjas to find them. Harrison’s pal had the BODY of the Golden Ninja Warrior and was killed for it. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh. That explains it. Sorta.
The Jaguar part of Ninja Terminator stars Jack Lam as Jaguar, who is out for revenge against the Ninja Empire for kidnapping his sister. Or something. The plot of this movie is pretty much chopped up thanks to being spliced together with Ninja Terminator. It’s dumb. Only one scene works, when Jaguar fights about five guys Bruce Lee style. Another guy joins the fray to go one on one with Jaguar for a few minutes. It’s contrived, but it works. There’s no Bruce Lee style, but Jack Lam at least adds a little drama by pretending to be bored at first. Then he beats everybody up. Funny. He chews gum the whole time like a badass.
Overall, this movie is incomprehensible. The main part of the movie is about Jaguar fighting these ninja guys and trying to save this girl. Harrison disappears for long lengths of this movie. He reappears at the end and battles another guy with a sword for no reason. They fight over the Golden Ninja and disappear and fly around and other stupid stuff. It makes no sense. At the end, Harrison defeats the guy and the red ninja gets upset, so he self-destructs into a puff of smoke. LOL.
Postscript: Okay, so this movie is bad. Ho’s “ninja” movies of the 80s have a cult following. Apparently, Ho and company hit on something, because other studios tried the same thing, like Revenge of the Ninja and American Ninja, released by Cannon. I wouldn’t have known about Godfrey Ho or his movies or their cult status without Ninja Terminator. See, you can learn stuff when watching vintage ninja B-Movies!