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Ninja Terminator

The names of some directors are an almost certain guarantee of quality. The mention of Spielberg, Miyazaki or Scorsese can be all one needs to sell a film. Likewise, a few names guarantee that a movie will be awful, and yet still entertaining. Ed Wood, Joe Da’mato, Uwe Boll and of course, the master of the terrible chop-socky movie, Godfrey Ho.

Ho is best known for Ninja Terminator, for several reasons: Firstly, it’s his worst movie, which of course, given that he’s valued for being terrible, means that it’s the one most people like to ridicule, second, it’s actually several aborted movies spliced together (so the plot makes no sense) and thirdly, it takes some of the finest actor/martial artists of the time and utterly misuses them.

For example, Korean martial arts expert Hwang Jang Lee, an actor so iconic within his genre that martial arts homage Kill Bill repeatedly references his work, spends the entire film in a bright yellow goldilocks wig, for no discernible reason. Jack Lam, an actor known for his legs, spends of most of the movie driving a car, and Richard Harrison1, the actor who famously handed Clint Eastwood his career, cites Godfrey Ho’s movies (and this one in particular) as the main reason he retired from cinema.

This man is 7th Dan martial artist. I wouldn't mention how bad that wig is.

More jarringly, not only is this two failed movies re-edited to make a single failure, but the movies were shot 10 years apart from each other. On different film stock. In different locations. Ho cunningly stitches the two movie plots together through the use of a novelty Garfield telephone and a battery operated toy robot. 2

The plot, such as it is, features the efforts of good ninjas trying to take down the Ninja Empire, through the use of a magical statue. Or something. Frankly, important parts of my brain began to shut down round about twenty-minutes in when crabs turned up for no apparent reason.

In short, Ninja Terminator is everything you’d expect from a movie with a name like Ninja Terminator, and it will delight connoisseurs of crap. Fans may be interested to learn that there is another Ho movie called Ninja Protector. It’s not a sequel, but it has the same actors. And some of the same scenes.

1: If you have no idea what he looks like, imagine a weaponised version of cricket commentator Des Lynam. With a more terrifying mustache.
2: Sadly, Ho is not a secret master of the subtle and the surreal. He just happens to own a Garfield telephone.

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