Ninja’s Extreme Weapons (1987)

The enticingly named Ninja’s Extreme Weapons is one of about twenty cut-and-paste ninja films released between 1987 and 1988 by Filmark. It’s really hard to work out who’s responsible for this one, beyond Tomas Tang (here credited as producer although it’s entirely possible he is also Victor Sears, the pseudonymous “director”). The film is in the classic Godfrey Ho mould anyway, splicing nutty new ninja footage into an existing non-ninja film, redubbing it all with a new plot and calling it a job well done.

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I couldn’t work out what the source film was for this but, as ever, Jesus from the Golden Ninja Warrior Chronicles had it nailed. It’s a Thai film called Foxy Lady. Anyway, despite the comically inappropriate title, it lets the side down if I’m honest. There’s really not much worthwhile in the source film here. It’s about two guys, Michael and James, who are possibly secret agents although it’s not entirely clear for whom they work (“I’m not on anyone’s side now!” James exclaims at one point. “I’M ONLY FOR JUSTICE!”). Their mission is to bring down the evil Boss Pierce, an old white dude in a wheelchair who has a secret ninja base somewhere in Hong Kong (this footage, obviously, is the Tang-shot stuff). There’s also Boss Brown. He handles prostitution while Pierce handles drugs. “You can’t make slaves out of people!” one kidnapped girl tells Boss Brown, as he attempts to put her in his harem. “Why yes I can and I do, my dear!” he camply responds. No further explanation is required.

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A ludicrous love triangle livens things up a bit when Boss Brown sends one of his girls – Angela – to seduce Agent James and trap him. “You’re like an angel sent from the Heavens,” murmurs James when he arrives home one night totally unalarmed to find Angela, a complete stranger, relaxing in his bathtub. “Mmm… How did you know my name was Angel-a?” she purrs back. How the Filmark dubbing team kept a straight face with some of this dialogue is beyond me but I’m pretty sure that’s the legendary Stuart Smith voicing James (you catch the odd Aussie slip beneath the BBC English James Bond style accent he appropriates).

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Boss Brown’s honey trap plan doesn’t work anyway. “You’re falling in love with that damn Playboy!” he barks at Angela, after the inevitable happens, setting up a web of double-crossings that gets increasingly tangled as more and more irrelevant ninjas, family feuds and missing briefcases of drugs are spliced in. James’s detective skills are as bad as his chat-up lines, incidentally. His technique consists of walking into shady bars and asking loudly “do you know anything about underworld activity?” and yet somehow he manages to eventually find his way to the boss’s lair for the inevitable prolonged gunfight in the dark (very similar to the one in Ninja In The Killing Fields, also made the same year).

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It’s kind of a snoozefest, badly made and cheap. However, Tang makes up for this with some of his nuttiest ninja footage yet. There’s definitely a period in Filmark history where it feels like Tang was constantly trying to outdo himself on the weird/random stuff and Ninja’s Extreme Weapons is up there with the maddest. The “Condor Ninja Clan” led by Boss Pierce are batshit crazy. They spend their days MASSAGING HIM (yes, we get ninja massage! How do they think of this stuff!?).

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In between massages, they brawl with their eternal nemesis, the Blue Ninja, a Vietnam Vet who turned to ninjutsu when he wanted revenge for his brother’s murder. The Condors are also in possession of a magical ninja ring that grants supreme ninja power to its holder. These flimsy reasons leads to some glorious fights between about six or seven ninjas at once that are just impossible to follow unless you watch them on slow-mo. There are exploding smoke bombs all the colours of the rainbow and fists flying all in directions.

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But what about the purported “extreme weapons” you may ask? Well, Tang actually delivers on his promise here. At one point in the film, one of the ninjas dresses up in a giant dragon outfit and ACTUALLY BREATHES FIRE on some military dudes. WTF? I have never seen anything like that. It’s epic and worth the cost of the video by itself.

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Yup. An extreme weapon, alright.

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Of course, no Filmark movie would be complete without a bonkers climax and the final five minutes here live up (don’t read on unless you’re comfortable with spoilers). Just as the Blue Ninja looks like he’s winning, golden oldie Boss Pierce uses the magic ninja ring, shrieks like a banshee, leaps 30ft in the air out of his wheelchair and knocks the Blue Ninja unconscious. He ties Bluey to a tree and has his Condor Ninjas threaten him with machetes until Blue reveals the location of the missing drugs. Blue points Pierce to a briefcase in a nearby tree but, of course, it’s not the drugs. It’s a bomb. Boss Pierce and the entire Condor Ninja Clan explode in a shambolic puff of smoke and a tumble of shop dummies.

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“In the name of God… amen!” snarls Blue, still tied to the tree (one can only assumes God helps him to escape?) and “THE END” flashes up in gaudy red text.

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It’s all gloriously mental. Sure, it’s one of the scrappiest of a fairly scrappy canon, but there’s a playfulness about it I love. It really feels like the script has been written by over-excited children who have no idea how the world works or how to tell a coherent story but are just VERY VERY EAGER TO TELL YOU ABOUT NINJAS. And sometimes that’s all you need. Well, that and a giant dragon suit that spits fire. Man, I gotta get me one of those extreme weapons…

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