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  • Challenge of the Lady Ninja is a good example of a film that is so bad it is entertaining.

    In the Dubbed English version it deals with a Chinese woman who has taken the controversial step of training to use the Japanese skill of of Ninjitsu. We are treated to one wire-fu scene of this taking place, to be sure she is the best of the best, and has earned more then a few enemies among the other trainees.

    She returns to Hong Kong to find that her brother has become a Japanese collaborator. That is when we find that despite the modern clothing, and large late 70's sedans this film is set in World War II.

    To stop her brother she pulls together a team of female warriors each with her own unique style. The most amazing of which is a prostitute who by spinning about is able to cast an illusion of herself in a bikini that overcomes any male with lust.

    The team then goes up against an opposite team of bizarrely dressed Japanese villains. They are almost defeated a number of times but are saved by the timely intervention of a mysteries masked hero.

    An amazing bit of over the top bad film making, I recommend it highly.
  • A Chinese girl living in Japan takes the final test to become a NInja. Once she passes she is told that her father has been killed back in China and she goes home to mourn him and to find out what happened. Arriving there she finds out that he father was killed by the man she was betrothed to who is now collaborating with the Japanese against the Chinese. (This is this the first mention of the film taking place during World War Two). Using her ninja skills she breaks into the bad guys house but is set upon by four ninja in his employ. She is wounded and only escapes thanks to a man in a skull mask. Vowing to put a stop to the evil going on she sets out to train a group of woman as a ninja army to help her.

    This film is a great deal of fun. What can you say about a film that introduces the bad guy with the Empire theme from The Empire Strikes Back and where the lead wears a bright red ninja suit? It just goes from the minute the film starts straight to the end, making it up as it goes. You're never more than five minutes from any sort of action sequence so the pacing never flags. The plot often seems like its being made up as it goes along, but it doesn't matter since it all just carries you along. How can you not love a film where a female ninja power is to be able to appear in a bikini in order to arouse your enemy into an act of stupid lust? This is great popcorn movie. If you get the chance see it with a big bag of popcorn and an empty mind and you'll have a great time.

    (Note: reading reviews of this film there appears that there are a couple of different versions some where the dubbing makes the bad guy the brother of the ninja instead of the betrothed; and some with no nudity and some with a few bare breasts. I have no idea which title is which version, however I don't think it will really make a difference which version you see)
  • As a rule, even though I am a dyed-in-the-wool hardcore fan of martial arts films, I have to go on record and state that I have a blazing hatred for ninja movies. Good movies about ninjas are few and far between, such as Super Ninjas, the Kozure Okami (Lone Wolf and Cub) series and the outstanding Challenge of the Ninja (aka Shaolin Challenges Ninja), so when you find a good one, cherish it. Most of the others are simply mediocre like the suckass Sho Kosugi flicks of the 1980's (Revenge of the Ninja, Enter the Ninja and others), or else just awful like the Swedish-made Ninja Mission, one of the handful of films that I have walked out on. Then there are films like Challenge of the Lady Ninja. This film is an unmitigated turdstorm, replete with horrid dubbing, a ridiculous plot, martial skills that veer toward the superhuman, and camera-work that makes one ask if it was lensed by Stevie Wonder. That said, it stars Chia Ling as a Chinese woman who somehow joins a clan of Japanese ninja and masters their skills. Chia Ling can throw down with the best of them (as seen in the unjustly ignored classic 13 Evil Bandits, aka Against the Drunken Cat Paws), looks terrific in a red ninja outfit, and is lots of fun to watch here, but the real selling point here is the fact that Challenge of the Lady Ninja is the martial arts film that Ed Wood might have made if he were still alive. This is in many ways the Plan Nine from Outer Space of kung fu films (and there are a lot of strong contenders for that dubious honor), what with a painful script, terrible acting and my favorite element: despite the fact that the story takes place in World War II, we see 1970's Cadillacs as period automobiles. The plot is utterly beside the point; just sit there in amazement as the film unfolds and realize that it is practically impossible to intentionally make a bad movie that is as entertaining as this one.
  • CHALLENGE OF THE LADY NINJA (1983) is a product of the same star-director team (Chen Kuan Tai, Elsa Yeung, Lee Tso Nam) that gave us A LIFE OF NINJA (1983), which I've also reviewed on this site. This one involves a Chinese woman (Elsa Yeung) who trains as a ninja in Japan and returns to Shanghai for the funeral of her father, a martial arts teacher who was killed in a conflict with a local crime boss known for collaborating with the Japanese occupiers. She then embarks on a campaign to recruit and train three female ninjas to help her kill the crime boss (Chen Kuan Tai). Why she's not considered a traitor herself for training in Japan at such a time is never addressed. The film is set during the war although you wouldn't know it from the fashions, hairstyles, late-model cars, interior décor and new building architecture that all scream early 1980s. There isn't a single trace of period detail in the entire film.

    While the film plays lip service to a female empowerment theme with its female ninja figures, it crosses the line frequently into rank exploitation with scenes of women mud wrestling, fighting in swimsuits in shallow pools of water, and shots of cleavage and shaking booties in scenes where ninja seduction strategies are employed by one of the recruits, a prostitute-turned-ninja. Dressed in red ninja garb, the ladies can project multiple versions of themselves or turn into a pink bikini-clad version of themselves, all to distract their attackers. These techniques would pop up 20-odd years later in the ninja-themed anime series, "Naruto."

    Eventually, a twist involving one of the main characters' loyalties causes a change in everybody's plans and culminates in a battle between Elsa and her male rival from the Japanese ninja school. Elsa is attractive and competent in a substantial fighting role although she's doubled in all of her acrobatic stunts. Chen Kuan Tai (BOXER FROM SHANTUNG, EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN) doesn't have enough fighting scenes for a star of his stature and background. Robert Tai, a noted action choreographer and sometime director (NINJA: THE FINAL DUEL), plays a tattooed Japanese killer sent after Elsa and her team. The fight scenes involving the lady ninjas are generally quite imaginative and fun to watch, even if, from a narrative and production standpoint, the movie is below average. A LIFE OF NINJA was much better. I watched this on a VHS tape edition from Goodtimes Home Video under the title, CHALLENGE OF THE LADY NINJA. The English dubbing is rather poor.
  • I am lucky enough to have a friend who has this movie, and I have got to say that anyone who loves B-movies MUST find this somehow. Just look at this list!

    • Bad English dubbing

    • Inconsistent and unexplained plot elements

    • Racial prejudice against Japanese (this was made in Hong Kong, after all)

    • The kicker: The Empire's theme from Star Wars is the introduction music

    It begins immediately. No credits or anything, you pop in the tape and the movie starts immediately. Stuff happens, most of which has been mentioned by the other reviewer. I won't bother to explain all of it. Suffice it to say, FIND THIS MOVIE NOW!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have to say that I was expecting the worst when CHALLENGE OF THE LADY NINJA began and the Filmark production company name popped up; they were known for ultra-cheap and trashy fare. Still, this Taiwanese ninja flick it better plotted than you might expect, and quite old-fashioned in terms of storyline. It still has all of the cheesy ninja stuff that you expect from a Godfrey Ho movie, but there's actual concrete narrative to back it up too. A female ninja trains up to take down the man who killed her father, but there's a twist in store. The cast is undistinguished but there's plenty of action and a nice little supporting role for Shaw Brothers legend Chen Kuan Tai.
  • ebiros217 December 2012
    While Hong Kong movie studios succeeded in pioneering new and innovative directions for their movies, Taiwan movie studios never outgrew their old school kung-fu movies. This movie is probably their last gasp at trying to hold on to the kung-fu movie format, only that they've mixed ladies in skimpy swimsuits to spice up the action.

    Taiwan movies seems to be made by a committee of old school (or just old) producers that learned their craft in a certain way, and never changed. This movie was made in the late '80s, but looks like something out of the '70s. Their quality is never high, and by the end of the '70s they were no match for the quality of Hong Kong movies.

    Hong Kong kung fu star Chen Kuan Tai stars in this movie. Chen is one of the few kung fu action movie star that successfully made transition into more modern movie format. He looks good in this movie. I can't say the same for other actors. The ladies that's supposed to be the babes in this movie looks too old to be playing this type of a role. They probably were babes for the age people who made this movie.

    Quality wise this movie is about par for a Taiwanese movie. You can look for better quality movies from Hong Kong, and they're a better bet for this type of an entertainment.
  • The ninja stuff (magic tricks & abundant wirework) is mostly cheesy and ridiculous, but there are some enjoyable parts to this movie: the training sequences (these ladies ARE flexible), one's woman specialty which seems to be seductive stripping & dances performed by a mirage of her (you can definitely see why no man can resist her), some of the fight scenes when they stay on the ground, and a couple of outrageous plot twists near the end (which pretty much cancel the entire film!). The arguably most impressive fighter is a henchwoman who is identified as a Tae Kwon Do expert; she has a fight against the Lady Ninja of the title that soon turns into a water-y wrestling match. And although I have nothing against water-y female wrestling matches, I do have to wonder if it was done this way simply because our lead could not keep up with the TKD expert in a straight fight. ** out of 4.