14 November 1999 | Ninja Thunderbolt
Hilarious roller-skating ninja mayhem..
To put it simply, Ninja Thunderbolt is the best of the 'stolen jade horse insurance fraud is investigated by a man in a bubble car pursued by roller-skating ninjas' movies to come out of the Hong Kong based IFD Films stable in the mid 80s.
Richard Harrison, as he does so many times in Joseph Lai's productions, puts on a brave face as his scenes are once again spliced into a separate film where he interacts with characters he's blatantly never met. In this case Harrison plays cool headed cop Richard (Richard's contract with IFD films stipulated that he MUST always play a character called Richard or Gordon) who assists bubble car driving cop Harry Wong in solving a suspected insurance fraud. I say 'assists', but in reality Richard's assistance is limited to telephoning him a couple of times and showing Harry - who is really in the same room as Richard - screen shots of the rest of the cast in upcoming scenes
er, I mean Hong Kong Police intelligence photographs of suspects to the fraud.
But why waste time worrying about the plot no one who made Ninja Thunderbolt did when it contains some of the unintentionally funniest scenes ever committed to celluloid? Your sides barely have time to recover from one baffling action sequence before the next one takes you by the scruff of the neck and throws you head first into a vat of cheese. Only a master craftsman of the pedigree of Godfrey Ho would confuse the audience with a car chase involving two identical white Nissans, the tension cranked up just that little extra by running the film at Benny Hill chase speeds, or disorientate the viewer further with a ski-chase sequence (speeded up of course) shot from considerable distance (the other side of the valley) with seven or eight identically dressed skiers with their faces covered.
But what really makes this film worthwhile are the roller-skating ninjas. Yes, you read me correctly, roller-skating ninjas. It even has a small part for a young Jackie Chan, and I haven't even got time to describe the 'sizzling' shower love scene, the cardboard telephone booths, the cars that drive in two wheels without even bothering to resort to the movie formula of hitting the rear-side of another vehicle, the motorbikes whose tyres screech on grass verges, the drug dealer who produces joints from his mouth, the...well I could go on and on.
Basically, if you ever see a copy of this film in your local video store, or more likely in a bargain bin at your local market stall or car-boot sale, you could do much worse that get your hands on a copy. Your blood will forever be motivated by ninja spirit.