Ninja Phantom Heroes (HK 1987)

Rating: *
Alternate Title: Ninja Empire
Review Date: 3/11/10
Director: Godfrey Ho
Cast: Jeff Houston, Kent Cheng, Wang Lung

Indescribably awful. Mix-and-match master Godfrey Ho is at it again with this ridiculous piece of nonsense trash, which appears to be an unfinished Hong Kong gangster film spliced together with some white guys pretending to be ninja. As if that isn't bad enough, it also features the most abrupt ending in cinematic history. In the Chinese film, the heroes die and the nasty villain is caught. Then it cuts away to the American footage where the hero ninja shows up to rescue his recently captured friends. Instead of fighting the bad ninja, he simply runs away and a static "The End" screen pops up. Huh?!? (Actually, there's an alternate cut of the film that features a ridiculous ninja showdown, followed by the American colonel saying "I quit!" and the same static "The End" screen.) Trying to summarize the plot is an exercise in futility, and I honestly don't know why the American footage even exists. If nothing else, it just points out how ungraceful white guys are when they're trying to fight. At the highest level, it's the story of three crime families and how the young and greedy generation upsets the balance of power and causes an escalating blood feud. The ninja angle is thrown in to represent the US government trying to put a stop to the arms smuggling that the crime families are involved in, with laughable results. Again, what's the point? And then out of nowhere Kent Cheng says "You know, smoking makes you impotent." What?!? Avoid at all costs.