4 Reasons “Ninja Champion” Is the Best Ninja Movie Ever

By Ed Glaser | Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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We’re pleased to announce that you can now own “Ninja Champion” — one of the original movies that inspired “Ninja the Mission Force” — on DVD from our DVD Store, and for cheaper than you can even get it on Amazon. Here’s why we think it’s the best ninja movie ever:

#4. You Get Two Movies in One

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The great thing about “Ninja Champion” is that you’re basically paying for a double feature.

It’s probably not news to Neon Harbor regulars that infamous Hong Kong “director” Godfrey Ho made his movies by taking existing Asian action films (or family dramas or romantic comedies) and inserting a bunch of new scenes of white guys in ninja suits who do things tenuously—and preposterously—related to the plot.

In this case, Ho’s pick is a 1985 Korean female revenge flick with the mind-blowingly awesome title “Poisonous Rose Stripping the Night” (Bam-eul Beosgineun Dogjangmi). So in one movie the titular Rose is exacting brutal vengeance on a gang of thugs who attacked her (also, there’s something about diamond smuggling and luminescent breasts); while in a concurrent movie a mustachioed man in white ninja pajamas is “helping” her. This primarily consists of beating up a bunch of other guys in red ninja pajamas.

#3. Bonus Entertainment: Ninja Plate Spinning

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You’re sitting there expecting your typical violent female-martial-arts-revenge-white-guys-ninja-fighting flick, despairing of seeing anything unusual. And then there’s a guy in a rock quarry spinning a plate balanced on a pole which is in turn balanced on a throwing star on his forehead. And then he hurls it at the hero as a deadly weapon.

Ninja Plate Spinning

This is absolutely amazing set to Sabre Dance.

Finally you realize “hey, I guess I haven’t seen everything there is to see after all.” You’re welcome.

#2. The Ninjas Fight on Playground Equipment

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The final battle in “Revenge of the Ninja” took place on the roof of a towering American skyscraper, using a great bustling metropolis as the dramatic backdrop for an epic showdown.

So where in all of beautiful Hong Kong did Godfrey Ho choose to set “Ninja Champion’s” climactic finale?

The monkey bars.

Released in the UK as "Recess Champion"

Released in the UK as “Recess Champion”

And when you take into account that Ho would go to one location, shoot a fight scene, then turn the camera 45 degrees so he could film the next scene as if it was a totally difference place, you have to imagine there was at least one pissed off kid waiting all day for the grown men in costumes to finish screwing around so he can throw his G.I. Joes off the jungle gym in damn peace.

Also, where on the playground was that rock quarry?

#1. The Ninjas Use Garfield Phones

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As in, the cat. Who hates Mondays. And eats lasagna. And gets stuck to the windows of family station wagons. Presumably they were saving up for the Snoopy answering machine and the “Jem and the Holograms” VCR/TV combo.

The poor bastard talking into the cat’s butt is distinguished (but embarrassed) actor Richard Harrison.

Harrison, who famously appeared in Italian Westerns, spy films, and sword & sandal flicks, was cajoled into flying to Hong Kong on two occasions to act in a few silly ninja movies. The thing is, the director never told Harrison exactly how many movies he was making. He was only given scripts for his own scenes which meant he often had no idea what was going on. So it probably came as a bit of a surprise to him to find out that, through the miracle of editing, he was suddenly the star of no fewer than twenty ninja films.

His scenes were redubbed and reused over and over, distributed throughout the schlockiest Korean and Taiwanese genre flicks. This is one of them. And because the props and costumes were apparently purchased from second hand shops by a small child, Harrison does all his serious talking into Garfield’s tail. Hard to imagine using it to order takeout or chat up a girl, but this poor bastard has to manage a ninja empire on it. Or perhaps worse, act with it.

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5 Responses to “4 Reasons “Ninja Champion” Is the Best Ninja Movie Ever”

  1. Chris H says:

    The Garfield phones sure are fun! I’ve tried hunting one down before for my own planned movies, but the only suitable one I could find on eBay was exclusively an auction, and I was bought out at the very last second. And the exact same thing happened second time round with another G phone auction! I didn’t know there were so many people with an interest in Garfield phones. haha!

  2. Ed Glaser says:

    Wow, I had no idea either! We got ours from eBay a few years ago for about $30. Perhaps it’s due to a sudden resurgence in Richard Harrison related memorabilia?

  3. volvagia720 says:

    This is a lie, the best ninja movie contained only one ninja. That movie is Press Start the Movie. Press Start 2 Continue is only the second best ninja movie, because stickers make it less of a ninja movie. (still good though)

  4. Kyle Levesque says:

    While I found this movie to be hilarious for several reasons, it’s also very much a product of its time. I think it should come with a warning label akin to:

    *Warning: Do not watch with Feminist girlfriend*

    Failure to heed this warning may result in being asked to account for social norms in 80’s Asian culture, and could possibly ruin any further Ninja-sploitation films as a couple. If exposed to Feminist examination of this movie, do not attempt to defend it – just accept criticisms and tolerate frequent reminders of why you are to blame for a movie made before you were born.

  5. […] 4 Reasons “Ninja Champion” Is the Best Ninja Movie Ever – Observations and background on the film from the Neon Harbor website (also has a fun animated gif of the plate-spinning ninja) […]


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