Friday, September 3, 2010

Five Element Ninja (1982)

what a title
so here we have Image Entertainment's DVD of (Chinese) Super Ninjas or as it says on the cover, Five Element Ninjas and then we have the above title. yeesh, you'd think they could agree on the name of the movie! the first one was how it was marketed originally in the US, though I amazed it ever got aired on tv, as bloody as it is.

Lo Meng beats a samurai barehanded!
it's a battle of the martial arts schools for control of the Chinese martial world. when our heroes beat the stuffing out of the other school, their leader brings in a samurai. after the samurai is defeated, but before he commits seppuku, he gives the bad guys a letter bringing in his sempai and master ninja.

the rest is carnage and tons of martial arts, and lots of severed limbs, betrayal and even a bit of self doubt about all the fighting.  the lead hero is Tien-chi Cheng and he does a pretty good job, though he reminds me a lot of Fu Sheng.

Junko makes a mistake...
the weapons used are all authentic, but there's no defined kung fu style.  all the ninja weapons are pretty dead on as well, but none of the martial arts on display is presented with any kind of realism.  which is perfect for this movie, as that's the last thing it needs!

the DVD looks spectacular and sounds good.  there are a few extras on it as well, including an interview with everyone's favorite doomed "Venom", Meng Lo (or Lo Meng, as we know him) which is fun.  there is a Mandarin language track as well as the original English dub which made so many of us fans back in the day.

I guess technically this isn't a Venoms mob movie, as there was some kind of disagreement with Director Cheh Chang and some of them left to make the very similar Ninja in the Deadly Trap (1981). yes, I see the date.  don't ask me.


Danny Coffin said...

Another KILLER presentation of a Chang Cheh/Venoms Mob classic from the Shaw library!Michael Chan WaiMan made for a truly menacing main villain,but,man,what happened to the kunoichi Junko sure was a downer...

Xenorama said...

true, but she had no one to blame but herself.