Youtube Film Club: Golden Ninja Warrior (1986)


This movie could be, perhaps, the least coherent that Godfrey Ho ever had a hand in. While it seems to be, apart from a during-opening-credit scene, all the same movie (no cut-and-paste job here), it has no real plot, and if any character expresses any motivation, it won’t bear any relation to the motivation of any other character. You might expect, therefore, that “Golden Ninja Warrior” would be an instant recommendation from me, but you’d be wrong.

Near the beginning of the movie, we’re treated to a scene of sleazy filthy pimps beating women into submission, to force them into prostitution (one of them was sold to the pimps by her stepmother, a “lovely” touch). In one of a number of scenes where women have their clothes forcibly removed, you begin to wonder just what we learn from the fiftieth whip-strike that we didn’t learn from, say, the tenth, but they’re determined to show us! Then, later, our heroine is beaten in a straight fight by the main baddie’s female enforcer / prostitute, dragged to main baddie’s bedroom and raped. It’s not hardcore, but you see an awful lot, and it’s really unpleasant.


Draped round this plot of extreme sexual violence towards women is a movie of sorts. The box promises “special appearance by Richard Harrison”, but the only time we see our favourite moustachioed washed-up hero is over the opening credits, where a fight which looks like it was recycled yet again from one of his other movies (perhaps “Ninja Dragon”?) plays, along with a voiceover telling us all about the “golden ninja warrior” of the title.


Now, you know a Godfrey Ho film is incoherent when he has to put a damn voiceover on the opening credits to explain to you what the movie is about. Anyway, there’s a statue, and the red and black ninja clans have been fighting over it for ages, but the fight is finally coming to an end. Probably. If you’re thinking “hold on, I remember a golden ninja warrior statue from one of this guy’s other movies!” then well done to you – you’re thinking of “Ninja Terminator”, and I wonder why they didn’t just switch titles (“Ninja Terminator” makes no more sense for this movie than it did for that, admittedly, but at least “Golden Ninja Warrior” would be moderately appropriate). It’s even weirder, when you realise we never see the statue in this movie, and just get references to it from one of the minor characters; the weirdness approaches some sort of critical mass when the heroine is referred to by the baddies as “the Golden Ninja” – no hint of gold anywhere about her person – as if the producers weren’t sure why they wanted to give the movie this name, but wanted a bunch of reasons for doing so.


So, the plot then. Someone (not sure who) wants the statue, but the guy who has it is never in the slightest danger of losing it, and he’s a very minor character anyway. The main woman is in town looking for the people who killed her sister (I think). The baddie is after just increasing his empire. The cops are after the main baddie’s drug dealing operation.  The problem is, none of these things really link well together, and there’s no reason why we’re watching any of them in the same movie. There are two female ninja in this movie – one in red, one in black – but they look sort of similar and they get no introduction either, so unless you’re really paying attention the first half-hour is even more confusing than usual.


It’s so poorly made that any Ho-level enjoyment you would normally get sort of seeps away as the movie continues; add that to the rape scenes and all the sexual violence and this one has to go in the “Lose” pile. I know I sometimes misunderstand the occasional thing in a movie in order to crack a joke or two, but this genuinely confused the hell out of me. The ninja in the movie teleport about and change into and out of their ninja outfits seemingly at random; the status of just what the “golden ninja warrior” is; the appalling acting (even taking the dubbing out of it). Stick with one of the other 80s ninja movies instead.


Rating: thumbs down


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