Action Movie Fanatix Review: Ninja Wars

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Starring: Hiroyuki “Henry” Sanada, Noriko Watanabe, Jun Miho, Miho Kazamatsuri, Sonny Chiba

Action Coordinator: Sonny Chiba

Director: Mitsumasa Saito

1982  |  100 Minutes  |  Rated R

“Grant me the power to destroy evil.” – Jotaro

It would be reasonable enough to think that a movie called Ninja Wars would in fact feature some warring ninjas, right?  Or at least a boat load of ninjas doing whatever ninjas do?  Well, Ninja Wars decides to go a little different direction.  What direction that is, I’m still not entirely sure.

Rival clan leaders scheme to win the love of a beautiful woman and rule the world.  A brave young hero and a master swordsman join forces to save her from a terrible fate.

We start with a big bloody samurai battle with katanas clinging and arrows flying.  The next logical step is to segue to a tea ceremony and then a prophecy by a weird mystic who foresees that the man who marries Ukio will rule the land.

Sonny Chiba is advertised as being a star in Ninja Wars, unfortunately he is only in this for a few minutes.  Fortunately the movie is able to get plenty crazy without him.

A lot of talk of devil monks, aphrodisiacs, virgin tears and brain washing so be prepared.

As with many movies of this genre there are long periods of goofy story that are more crazy boring than just crazy.  It becomes a real slog through some slow moving, unintelligible territory with little payoff at the end of it.

The action is unfortunately few and far between because of the unnecessarily drawn out “story building” elements.  When there is fighting it is pretty entertaining… in a blood spraying out of a hose kind of way.  A dudes face gets melted off.  There’s another guy spewing vomit as some sort of a weapon.  And our hero stabs a guys eyes out before impaling him on a branch.  It is

The traditional ninjas aren’t seen until about half way into the movie when they carry Jotaro away from battle on a stretcher.  Then they disappear for a while before they turn up on horseback for a few minutes then disappear again.  Then, right at the end, Sonny Chiba ninja shows up poses for a bit and then moves on.  It’s really not a lot of warring ninjas for these ninja wars.

There are some Catholic nun looking dudes that may be considered ninjas but I can’t be sure.

Ninja Wars nuns

I think this movie just considers everyone a ninja.  I would think it would have been easier to actually dress the ninjas up as ninjas rather than expecting the viewers to figure it out but I’m no director.

The movie ends with a big FU to the viewer, basically rendering the last 100 minutes pointless.

The credits say it is based on a novel by Hotaro Yamada.  I have to wonder if the book is as off the wall as this movie was.

Ninja Wars is, in my view, a pretty big waste of time.  The vast majority is mind numbingly boring.  There are a couple crazy fights but you are probably better off fast forwarding until you see blood or vomit spraying.

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