13 October 2013 | KingFilmsCo
A Good Asian Subplot actually Carries this Film
Godfrey Ho is no stranger to trash film-making. Full Metal Ninja is firmly within his tradition of cutting together various pieces of abandoned and unfinished films and splicing them together with cheap footage of white actors in ninja outfits fighting, often loosely, if not tangentially to the plot.
Full Metal Ninja is probably the most bald-faced when it comes to not even trying to connect the two plots together. Randomly the main star, Pierre Kirby, will appear in front of some foliage and say something like "Can you teach me your moves?" to which the subplot main character, Eagle will say "You're not ready yet," and walk away. If it sounds confusing, that's because it is - and stupid, too! But that's half the fun in these movies.
Full Metal Ninja (I love typing out that title) has Pierre Kirby fight some guys who have vague plans to control somewhere, but that's not really important. As far as Ho ninja scenes go, they're pretty standard in my opinion, and while the dub and dialog is hilarious, I'd stake Ninja Terminator, Rage of Ninja, or Ninja: Silent Assassin as having far more compelling and interesting white-ninja plots.
However, the Asian subplot is actually a fun, compelling, and -dare I say?- interesting film, in a grind-house sort of way. A yarn of revenge following a tight-lipped, stoic swordsman, Eagle, as he avenges the death of his family and abduction of his wife? Lover? at the hands of a greedy magistrate. One woman he saves from thugs starts to fall for him, but a series of unfortunate circumstances has her seeking to kill him as well. Oh the melodrama! The plot is nothing special, but there are times when the film almost approaches an emotional core or sentiment, and actually (gasp) tries to say something! Of course, the messages are "vengeance does not solve everything" and "even villains are people too" (which is done fairly well, for one of these films, at the climax), but it's nice to see something beyond the usual gangster crime drama that Ho usually resorted to. In fact, and this might be just me, I was annoyed and frustrated that certain elements of the subplot are not resolved towards the end of the film. Was it because the film was unfinished, lying in a basement when Ho and Lai found it? Or did Ho not think them important (a likely possibility)? Still, it's a shame!
All in all, Full Metal Ninja is a fun movie to watch. The musical motif of Bach's Toccata in D minor, used every time (and I mean EVERY TIME) Eagle kills someone, is hilarious in its own right because of its overuse. The ninja fights are goofy fun, the music is classic stolen-copyright music, and it's hard to go wrong with Full Metal Ninja.
I'll type it just *one* more time.
FULL METAL NINJA!