Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stock Footage Hell: The Ultimate Ninja

Godfrey Ho is not exactly the most respected name in kung-fu cinema, although he is one of the most prolific.  Thanks to his business savvy and chicanery, he has gotten closer to making as many films as the Shaw Bros did than most other people!

Like most people, I stumbled across a couple of his movies without realizing what his con was.  Joy.

The Ultimate Ninja is the first part of the 'Ultimate Ninja Collection,' a set of, I think, 10 Ho films.  Yeah, I only got through 2 of them.

For those of you who may be uninitiated, Ho buys up un-purchased kung-fu films and splices them into new footage he shot.  As a result, he can cheaply make his bad 30-minute film into a 60-minute film & challenge himself to make it any of it tie together, despite the two parts being made years apart, by someone else and in a different country!  The Ultimate Ninja is a great example of this.

Story #1 involves a young man fighting back against a gang of thugs who make life miserable in his village.  Story #2 involves Richard Harrison as a ninja in a brightly-colored headband who wanders around the woods fighting other ninjas with brightly-colored headbands.  As a bonus, Richard's headband also says 'Ninja' on it.  So, can you guess which one is Ho's film and which one is the stock footage?  Yeah, it's really obvious.

On top of that, both movies are not good.  Story #1 is just dull and too short, due to Ho's editing.  Story #2 is pretty ridiculous, full of silly camera tricks and powers via editing.  The only high-point is a shot of Harrison fighting the one ninja and catching the man's thrown sword in his scabbard.  Seriously- that's it.

Up next, the Godzilla franchise indulges in some sad stock footage usage.  Oy vey!  Stay tuned...

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