Thursday, April 19, 2007
Movie Review: REVENGE OF NINJA
Directed by Ratno Timoer
REVENGE OF NINJA is a fairly obscure entry in the rather insane world of 80s Indonesian cinema fantistique and is not mentioned in either of the MONDO MACABRO or FEAR WITHOUT FRONTIERS books. It has only now come to our attention via the tireless film obscurity excavations of Shocking Videos. And we are ever thankful for the wonderful work they do. REVENGE is pretty wild. Though it does feature some boring patches, the movie sports some extraordinarily weird set-pieces and some rather impressive Martial Arts moves. Overall it’s as fine an example of Asian Kung-fu/Black-magic Film as you’re likely to see. If you can find it, that is.
Barry Prima stars as … well, I’m not really sure. He’s a muscle-bound martial-artist whose hot martial-artist girlfriend is asked by a White Magician to hold onto a magic amulet, so as to keep it out of the hands of some wicked evil criminal gangs who dress like rejects from a 80s Italian ROAD WARRIOR rip. Why the White Magician doesn’t just hold onto it himself is never really explained. And that is pretty much the entirety of the plot. Beyond that, the characters are not really fleshed out and I’m not even sure I caught any of their names much less could offer up a description of the inner workings of their development in the story. After that there are just fights, magic, fights, magic, witches, zombies, an indestructible ninja, disco, fights, magic and fights. Pretty fun, actually. Prima is his usual bad-ass self but seems distracted and vacant throughout. You see a lot of the usual Indonesian character actors that often populate these offbeat pulp cinema offerings and the whole thing feels familiar even as it warps your mind with its individual qualities.
While not nearly as far-out as such irrational classics as MYSTICS IN BALI or SNAKE QUEEN, REVENGE has a lot to offer. In one scene the indestructible ninja dude (I guess this is the NINJA of the title which is otherwise completely nonsensical) kills an evil hunchback henchman by sadistically crushing his hunch underneath his superhumanly strong boot. And the magic scenes throughout are marvels of colorful and cheap visual effects that amuse and amaze at their simultaneous cheesiness and vision. Add to that wall-to-wall Prima-Fu action and you’ve got the recipe for an awesome and silly Asian cinema spectacle. I still can’t remember any of the names of the characters though. I’m not even sure that they had names.
Print provided by Shocking Videos.
Available for rent at Scarecrow Video!