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FURIOUS NINJA MADNESS!,
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This review is from: Five Element Ninjas [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
AKA: Chinese Super Ninjas (Western Dubbed Version).
This is one review where it's gonna be hard for me to contain myself but i'll try to focus and bring you the down low. So the basic story is as follows: Two Kung Fu schools come together every so often to show their fighters skills and see which school is the best. Suffice to say one school is filled with honourable good guys and the other is filled with sneaky little monkeys, and in true sneaky monkey style when the deciding bout comes they bring in a Japanese samurai to fight the good guys. The outcome of this fight brings on a whirlwind of the brown stuff in the form of an army of angry ninjas headed by the Five Element Formation. These are five groups of ninjas with very different styles based on the slightly different and extended eastern elements set. So as well as including fire, earth, WOOD and water based ninjas we have another set of ninjas who are synonymous with metal. I won't ruin what tricks each of these sets of ninjas has up their fishnet sleeves but the scenes including these sets of ninjas are worth the price of this DVD alone. So what else is there to look forward to in this old school ninja mash-up. Well as you probably know, to be frank, ninja movies are usually a bunch of guff, they can usually only be appreciated in that sort of ironic, cheesy, way that seems to make up 90% of a student's sense of humour. So is this one any different? Read on to find out more:
THE HIGH KICKS:
- There are loads and loads of ninjas in this beast - I mean they are (literally at points) crawling out of the woodwork. If you want all-out ninja war then you've come to the right place, my Kung Fu brother/sister.
- As I said before the five element ninja scenes are the winners for me - their cool tricks and sneaky manoeuvres steal the show and I'm truly thankful they show up a good couple of times in the film.
- The fighting is smooth and technical in true `Shaw brothers at their best' style.
- Meng Lo is wicked as always. He's my favourite! Yay!
- The action starts pretty much straight off the bat and doesn't let up till the end, it's highly frenetic and almost non-stop - and any time there is a pause in the action it's simply to implement yet more awesome action.
- Tons of strange sneaky ninja tools and amazing weapons are utilised throughout this film, nearly every scene has a fantastical weapon to behold, and they are all used to their full effect.
- The ninjas are everything you'd want them to be: silent, sneaky, cool looking and in a full range of colours and sizes. A ninja fans soggy dream.
- This film is bloody, buddy - I mean you get nasty gut slices, innards dangling out, all kinds of blood spurting jabs and stabs, dudes ripped apart by chains with crescent hooks on `em - you even get stilt impalements for Geoff's sake!
- The female ninja is well sexy, fish net, ninja skirt, hotness in motion, but being a ninja she's a bit of a treacherous little filly....well owrth it though, if you know what i'm saying *wink, wink, nod, nod, say n' more*
- Man, I'm purely overwrought with great things to say about this film: Chang's direction is on fire, this is simply his finest moment in my eyes and I'm more than sure a good few old school fu fanatics will concur with my analysis.
THE LOW BLOWS:
- If you've never liked old school kung fu then this may or may not change your mind - it is, for me, one of the best but it's great because it's old school done to near perfection.
- There are a few hokey elements that I know are there but simply pass me by because I love older fu flicks, however others may find some bits and bobs too silly (e.g. the wuxia inspired water skimming scene and so on.).
THE FINAL BLOW:
This film is the business: Hands down not just one of the best kung fu films ever made but definitely one of the best ninja films out there. It's filled with action, gore, awesome direction and choreography, tons of inventive weapons and ninja tools....yeesh, I'm out of breath...look, I could gush over this all day and all I'm really trying to say is: watch this film by any means - buy it, own it, study it because this is how it's done.
P.S. This is a great transfer with decent extras and all the sound options you could wish for! score!
Hmm - this is a toughy...as i've already said there ain't too many good ninja flicks out there, I suppose you could give the new Ninja Assassin movie a go if you're just looking purely for ninjas and tons of gore - it's not in the same league as this of course but it's a decent enough bit of modern, gruesome, popcorn, cheddar. If you want more fu like this then I can only reccomend that you delve further into the, near religous, Shaw brothers collection.
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