|Diamond Ninja Force (1986)|
|Starring:||Richard Harrison, Melvin Pitcher, Andy Chrorowsky, Pierre Tremblay, and Kong Do|
During the 80s, ninjas were hot. For whatever reason, the concept of the “ninja” became something that westerners (though predominately Americans) were fascinated with. Although few who would go out and rent ninja movies could tell you about the history of Ninjitsu, everyone seemed to love those black uniforms and deadly shurikens. So, during the eighties, there lived a man in Hong Kong named Godfrey Ho. He was a director with a past working for the famed Shaw Bros. studio, but from all the random impressions that are out there about this filmmaker, he did not take much of the professionalism that Chang Cheh displayed during his time with the Shaw studio. It was during this period in the 80s that Godfrey Ho and Joseph Lai, the producer behind the IFD studio, somehow persuaded American actor Richard Harrison to star in some of their movies. Harrison claims to have only went to Hong Kong once and claimed to be under the impression that he was only filming one movie, but some months later he was made aware that the footage he had shot was spliced into dozens of other films. There is some argument as to how many times Harrison was actually filmed by Ho and his cohorts, but there’s no question that Harrison could have never imagined just how many ninja movies he would be spliced into. You see, IFD would purchase numerous genre films from all over Asia, but Mostly from Taiwan and Thailand. They would then take a few hours worth of footage featuring western actors fighting inside of ninja uniforms, then they would try so splice those ninja segments into various other genre films in order to produce new “ninja” movies. This led to one angry Richard Harrison, a great deal of money in Godfrey Ho’s pocket, and a lot of very angry people who were duped into thinking they were renting a decent ninja movie, but in actuality they were getting an awful cut-and-paste flick that probably didn’t make any sense. This brings us to Diamond Ninja Force!
Honestly, this “review” could turn into a series of “wow, that moment was legendary!” comments, but I’ll try to keep them to three. The first one I would like to mention comes during the opening of the movie. In this, we find Richard Harrison walking along a seaside dock with his oblivious wife. In this scene, three thugs approach Harrison and try to instigate a fight. However, these thugs aren’t your typical Death Wish-esque teenagers. These are grown men with male-pattern-baldness setting in. They are dressed like villains from a Mad Max movie, and they instigate a fight by using two sentences: “Something tells me you’re a ninja! I know how we can tell if you’re a ninja…” cue a fight sequence where Richard Harrison annihilates them. In just a few short minutes the same group meet at a pagoda and the film treats us as if we are being introduced to them for the very first time. Skipping forward, another great moment comes when the Black Ninja Clan visit a sorceress in order to kill off the man who owns the land where the ancient Black Ninja graveyard once existed. We get a hilarious combination of scenes where we see “Black Devil Magic” (honestly, THAT is what it is called in the movie) being put to use and a green ghost-woman attacking the wealthy land owner inside of his limo. This sequence, involving the sorceress, is never brought up again. Apparently the offspring of this wealthy land owner becomes haunted by proxy, but it’s never explained why a sorceress is needed to control the murdering spirit – but the haunting spirit seems to work without the sorceress. And finally, the last great moment that I will mention comes when the spirit that haunts our two main protagonists decides that she must masturbate whilst watching our two leads have sex. Why the ghost is infatuated with the human touch is never explained. Of course.
For a further view of Diamond Ninja Force, as well as the world of Godfrey Ho, have a look at the sogoodreviews.com video review by my good friend Ken. He is very well versed in the world of IFD, and his site is a treasure trove of information on this world of Taiwanese exploitation and the various Ninja movies that were cobbled out of them.