Golden Ninja Invasion (1987)

A Tomas Tang/Filmark Production from 1987, Golden Ninja Invasion is credited to “Bruce Lambert”, a pseudonym that no one has officially owned up to but whom many suspect is our hero on this blog, Godfrey Ho. If you’ve seen anything that either of these three names have been involved with, you’ll probably know the drill (and, if not, I wrote a handy introduction here). This is two separate films spliced together and redubbed as one new ninja adventure…Golden Ninja Invasion

The film is quite rare as it wasn’t released in many territories. I watched this on a Greek VHS tape with a distracting buzzing sound on it so forgive any plot inaccuracies (the dialogue was hard to hear). From what I gather though, it’s not the clearest storyline anyway… Golden Ninja Invasion, despite the title, features no golden ninjas and no invasion of any sort. It is also, more importantly, not part of Godfrey Ho’s Golden Ninja Warrior series of films where ninjas fight over the statue that will give them ultimate ninja power. It’s a shame because the golden ninja statue is a thing of beauty and always a pleasure when it pops up in any of these films. Instead, this revolves around a bad guy called Mr Warren (aka Dr Warren) who sits at the head of the Red Sun Ninja Empire. These guys are up to no good and enjoy stuff like kidnapping and bodily dismemberment as a means to make the world “realise their power”. When the ever-present “top secret blueprint” is revealed to be in the hands of “The Scientist and His Daughter”, Mr Warren recruits a whole bunch of ninjas and criminals – led by “Brad and Candy” – to track it down and bring it into the hands of the Red Sun Ninjas.

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Most of the plot revolves around a guy called Ritchie who is working for Paul The Blue Ninja (played by a bleached-blonde, scene-stealing Stuart Smith) on stopping the Red Sun Empire. The Red Sun Ninjas cut off Ritchie’s hand in the first scene but it’s okay because he’s fitted with a special hand made of “Uranium and Titanium” (which appears to be a leather glove that he can remove as and when he wants? I suspect in the original film he was probably just wearing a glove but in the redub, it became a bionic hand! This is the kind of mind we’re dealing with here). To complicate matters, top criminal Candy has some kind of green lasers in her eyes that hypnotise Ritchie into falling in love with her, causing trouble for everyone. There’s crossing, double-crossing and triple-crossing as they all fall over one another in an attempt to secure the blueprint for themselves and their own needs, leading up the inevitable clash of power between the Blue Ninja and the Red Sun Ninja Empire. Phew!

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The source film for this one is unknown but appears to be a Thai crime thriller with a reasonable budget. It’s rarely clear why any of the many fights in it are happening (as I suspect several key characters have had their motivations dubbed out) but there’s a ton of action; car chases, girl fights with knives, a few pretty decent gore effects and even some el cheapo black ninjas who jump in to duff people up while trying to keep their ill-fitting suits from falling off (it’s strange to see ninjas in the source film that dress even less fashionably than the ones in Bruce Lambert’s footage!). The production values are better than usual for IFD/Filmark source films and even the splicing is done quite carefully (although it does mean an abundance of scenes involving characters from the two different films talking on the phone to one another).

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What really makes it worth the while of any ninjologist is, of course, the Stuart Smith footage. If you’re a fan of Smith’s style, his Blue Ninja scenes here are fantastic. There’s one gloriously camp moment where he outruns a bunch of machine gun fire by mincing across some rocks in a tiny vest – stopping sporadically to strike kung-fu poses – then disappears and turns into the masked Blue Ninja just in time to waste all his assailants in one go with a magical smoking “ninja bean”. Spectacular.

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This definitely isn’t the best of its kind but it’s by no means the worst either. Golden Ninja Invasion ticks the checkboxes of Ho/Lai/Tang cinema’s appeal – hilarious dialogue (“How dare they use a blue ninja against us!?” / “Those blue ninjas are powerful!”), confused plotting, pastel ninjas – but is an enjoyable watch thanks to a fast rhythm, some strong action sequences, above average photography, a gloriously chaotic synth score (presumably stolen from another film?) and a few spirited performances from the Filmark mainstays (look out for Wayne Archer in an uncredited cameo as Warren’s henchman!). For indiscriminate ninjologists, this is a decent timekiller. Although so rare that it’s possibly not worth the effort you’ll have to go to in order track a copy down…

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6 thoughts on “Golden Ninja Invasion (1987)

  1. I’m suspecting the producers of this film didn’t realize the potential implications of naming their film “Golden Ninja Invasion”. Think about that one for a minute.

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    • Ahhh! Yes, I see that now. Sorry, was half-asleep when I read your comment earlier and it’s quite an old article now. Normally I scan my own boxes in for these articles but I’ve got a Greek VHS of Golden Ninja Invasion that doesn’t look great as a scan so I used this one (which I don’t own).

      I imagine it’s quite rare – most of those Dutch(?) ninja videotapes are. As ever, it’s only worth what someone is willing to pay for it but I’ve seen some ninja tapes go for as much as £50 – £60 on eBay… I guess you’ve just got to find the right buyer at the right moment.

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