Martial Arts/Action

Shadow Ninja

Distributed by Synergy Entertainment

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            There are just some days when I really can use the crazy antics and action of an older martial arts film like then ones I used to watch when I was a kid.  Today was just one of those days, so I decided to check out a 1980 film that I had never heard of before - Shadow Ninja.

            Also known as Bo Za or Killer Wears White, Shadow Ninja stars Roy Chiao Hung as Policeman Chung Ho who, thanks to his gambling-addicted wife, has had his shares of ups and downs in his career.  As he tries to redeem himself to his boss, the cop finds himself saddled with his boss' nephew Kern (Wei Tung), an upstart with a quick temper and a way with kung fu

            As the story moves forward, Master Mang (Yen Shi-Kwan) has taken possession of Chung Ho's wife's costumes thanks to her loss in his casino.  Chung Ho devises a plan to get them back, but Master Mang exacts his own revenge on Chung Ho.  Determined to avenge his partner and mentor, Kern heads to the casino and challenges Master Mang's thugs, defeating them one by one.

            But Kern and his partner have no idea what they have gotten themselves into.  It seems that Master Mang is not really who he seems to be - he is actually the White Killer, a murderer dressed in all white on the run from Sheriff Wan, a mute lawman similarly dressed in white.  In an effort to throw off police suspicion, he attempts to frame Kern with a number of murders.  Can Chung Ho help Kern clear his name in time to capture the infamous White Killer?

            Shadow Ninja starts off as a rough comedy, with some funny moments between Chung Ho and his wife and Chung ho and his new partner, punctuated by some kung fu.  Then it goes off on a strange tangent before getting down to the real storyline regarding the White Killer.  In fact, there are moments when you wonder what is really going on in this film as the storyline seems to be all over the place.  But that is all made up for with the spectacular fighting scenes involving Wei Tung versus just about anyone. 

            The fight scenes are well choreographed and contain quite a few different styles mixed together featuring punches, kicks, windmilling arms and floor antics (as often seen in the drunken fighting style).  Yen Shi-Kwan also shows off his moves in this film, but it is Wei Tung that really steals the show with his handsome features and seemingly effort fighting skills.

            What Shadow Ninja lacks in storyline and its inexplicable title (there are no ninjas in this film), it makes up for in fight choreography and a spectacular ending fight scene.  This movie ranks right up there with some of the greatest chop-sockey films of all time and is a must see for fans of the kung fu movies of old.

 


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