When I have started to watch a lot of martial arts movies in 90s this one was one of my favorites. Can’t tell you why, but among all these crappy a-la Bruce Lee replicas Ninja Strikes Back just stuck in my mind and now I decided to re-watch it.
I was wonder to see Hwang Jang Lee as a main bad guy, because I was remembering only Bolo Yeung, who is by the way still Bolo Yang Tse here in titles. Bolo has a really small role in this movie and fights only with Bruce’s brother.
Plot of Ninja Strikes Back is really simple one: Bruce Le and Hwang Jang Lee are buddies that are working for an Italian mob boss. Bruce gets put in jail during a mission. Upon being released, he tells Ron he no longer wants to be a part of the mob. The mob and Ron then turn against him. An international crime organization that has murder, kidnapping, slavery and extortion among their repetoire have made Bruce their main target. But Bruce is on a mission of his own – to crush the group and their hired assassins!
You know, when I was watching such movies in 90s I was never thought about a script, fights were important for everybody. But now when you have got a lot of modern martial arts movies with Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen etc. with not bad scripts written by Luke Besson for example, you have a time to understand how bad these movies were, but they still have got some style which makes you watch them again and again.
Ninja Strikes Back is a mix of Way of The Dragon, Enter The Dragon and all ninja films all together. Character of Han with deadly hand played here by Harold Sakata and everytime when he appears James Bond music plays and there is even a scene where he throws his hat like a weapon, just like he had previous in the James Bond film Goldfinger. I sure the music nicked from all over the place including possibly the most illegal use of the James Bond music ever.
Bruce Le originally began his career working for the Shaw Brother’s under his real name Kin Lung Huang. While working for the Shaw Brother’s he appeared in films like Rivals of Kung Fu and The Super Inframan. Ninja Strikes Back was co-directed by Joseph Kong who collaborated with Bruce Le on numerous other films.
There is even an actress named Chick Norris, no really.
Hwang Jang Lee, no doubt, is the most dangerous bad guy of old times and his super kicking technique looks great on the screen. Bruce’s punches are very tought and deadly and in Ninja Strikes Back, probably, filmmakers were the first who showed, with cartoons only of cause, how bones break during the fight. This was used later in x-rays details in Romeo Must Die movie with Jet Li. So this was a really nice discovery for 1982 martial arts movie.
Interesting scene when ambassador asks Bruce to save his kidnapped daughter and gives him a cheque for $50,000. Police guys, who seat apposite Bruce, give him so terrible unpleasant look when he agrees to take this case. Funny, but Bruce does not care about that at all.
In between kicking ass, Bruce spends time hanging out at the beach with a few topless babes, byt the way, there is a lot of erotic scenes, which was an essential element of old times like inane dialogues that often makes no sense. Lots of nude white girls – even the ambassador’s daughter gets naked. Anyway, all in all this martial arts movie really is all about the action fight scenes with crazy animal sound effects, so don’t expect any intricate twists and turns or character development.
Few questions: Why do all guards wear kimono and what ninjas are doing here?