Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7 - Silver Dragon Ninja (1986)

The cover of my VHS copy of Silver Dragon Ninja

Silver Dragon Ninja (1986)
Director: Don Kong
Starring: Harry Caine, Sam Yosida, Jim Gross
Format: VHS (IPD)

After watching 31 horror movies in the month of October, I've had a real hankering for some cheesy action. Don't get me wrong, I love horror movies, but I'm all horrored out for a while and need a change of pace. What better way to do that than with a Hong Kong ninja flick?

Like a lot of these cheap ninja efforts, this one is actually two movies spliced into one. The ninja portion has Silver Dragon Ninja (an uncredited Paulo Tocha, BLOODSPORT, PREDATOR 2) trying to rid Hong Kong of the evil Black Ninjas. The other, longer portion is a crime yarn about two cops trying to bring down a gang of baddies, which is clearly influenced by Scarface and other gangster films. There's also a female cop who goes undercover inside the gang.

I could go into more detail about the plot but a) So much of it is nonsensical that it'd be futile to try to summarise it, and b) who the hell watches these movies for the plot anyway? It's all about the action baby, and Silver Dragon Ninja delivers with an abundance of ninja fights and gun battles.

The martial arts fights are badly-choreographed but fast-paced and never boring. They feature an array of cheesy effects - ninjas disappear or reappear in a puff of smoke and all kicks, punches and weapon attacks are accompanied by cartoonish sound effects.

Most of the police action is fairly conventional (lots of shootouts between baddies and cops, and baddies and baddies), but there is one scene where a kid is blown up by a bomb strapped to a remote control car(!), another involving a dirtbike and molotov cocktails, and one baddie dies after being stabbed between the legs with a large piece of glass. Ouch!

The dialogue and voice dubbing are hilariously bad. Some of the voices are so hokey they sound like they were provided by Monty Python Silly Voices Preservation Society. One Hong Kong cop even speaks with an Australian accent, which is funny but a bit distracting. The prize for worst acting goes to Silver Dragon Ninja's apprentice, who appears in only two short scenes. His delivery is monotone to the extreme - we're talking porn-level bad.

As an aside, I recognised one piece of the music as an instrumental portion of Tonight by Genesis (used with permission? Yeah right!).

Final verdict? Silver Dragon Ninja is lots of fun and a must watch for any fan of low budget, spliced-together flicks like Ninja USA, Born a Ninja and any of Godfrey Ho's countless ninja films (I have my suspicions director Don Kong is Ho under a pseudonym).

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