"Not only did it have a misleading title, but it's the best example of a bad film that's beyond B-movie quality; or should I say below?"
- Mighty Peking Man
Ninja Turf (1980)
AKA: L.A. Streetfighter, Los Angeles Street Fighter, Chinatown
Director: Woo-sang Park (aka Richard W. Park)
Producer: Jun Chong, Phillip Rhee
Writer: Ji-woon Hong, Jaime Mendoza-Nava
Cast: Jun Chong, Phillip Rhee, James Lew, Rosanna King, Bill Wallace, Ken Nagayama, Frank Marmolejo, Dorin Mukama, Mark Hicks, Loren Avedon
Running Time: 85 min.
Plot: A Korean immigrant in L.A. encounters difficulties when he refuses to join the all-Korean gang in his high school.
ALVIN GEORGE'S REVIEW: I saw this flick under the title "L.A. Street Fighters." The best things about "Ninja Turf" (at least for me) are the fight scenes and this synth-laden background music that often plays during those fights. Other than those two things, the movie is amateurish practically from the word "go." Often the picture is so dark you can hardly figure out what is going on. They apparently didn't even bother using sync sound! I would give the film a higher rating if there were a lot more fight scenes, but we have to wade through stupid dialogue scenes! Man, why don't the cops ever show up? It's no help that James Lew, one of the movie's main actors, did a guest appearance on "T.J. Hooker" in an episode entitled "Outcall." Too bad William Shatner doesn't show up in his police uniform to deal with matters. I mean, it would have been...interesting to see Shatner call Bill Wallace's character "scum." Um, was that supposed to be a toga party in that scene near the beginning?
ALVIN GEORGE'S REVIEW: 1.5/10
AMERICAN NINJA'S REVIEW: Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex. Screw Alex.
Screw Alex for requesting me to waste my time on this crap. Thanks a lot.
P.S. Screw Alex. :)
AMERICAN NINJA'S RATING: 1.5/10
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: As a child of the 80's, I was a victim of the ninja-craze. It was all about buying martial-arts magazines and flipping to the mail-order pages so I could check out the latest ninja gear. The only thing that stopped me from actually ordering a crate-load of ninja shit was the fact that I didn't have a credit card. Heck, I didn't even have cash. Still, it was fun fantasizing about owning all those throwing stars, hand-spikes, blow-guns and ninja-swords. Too bad I was limited to my local swap meet for the lower-budget versions of this stuff. Every once in awhile, my parents would spot me a $5 or $10 bill, so I bought my share of foam nunchucks, dull ninja-stars (with the word "ninja" written on them), kung-fu shoes (which were actually a fashion statement in the mid-80's) and just for the hell of it, Rambo-type survival knives complete with a compass, matches and a stitch kit just in case a "rival ninja" injured me.
If you were a kid in the mid-80's, wanting to be a ninja was a natural thing. Of course, the next best thing to wanting to be a ninja was watching a ninja. This meant ninja films, LOTS of them. I don't know about everyone else who lived the ninja-craze, but when I think of ninja films, I think of the trilogy of those corny MGM titles: "Enter the Ninja", "Revenge of the Ninja", and "Ninja III: The Domination". For the time, they were solid entertainment, excessively violent and every kid took them seriously. Sho Kosugi, who starred in all of them, was the man. The big question at the time was "Who would win a fight to the death, Sho Kosugi or Bruce Lee?". Of course, Sho was my answer. I was 11.
The popularity of ninja films became so immense that movie companies started re-titling chopsockies to make them sound like they were ninja-related. Titles like "Ghost of the Ninja" (aka "Killer in White), "Venus the Ninja" (aka "Fury of the Silver Fox") and the subject of this review, a Korean/American production called "Ninja Turf" (aka "L.A. Street Fighter"). Starring a young Philip Rhee ("Best of Best" series) and many other now-noticeable faces, "Ninja Turf" was one of those movies that was bound to piss anyone off who gave it a chance on rental. Not only did it have a misleading title, but it's the best example of a bad film that's beyond B-movie quality; or should I say below?
As far as filmmaking goes, it really doesn't get any worse than "Ninja Turf". With the exception of Philip Rhee, every single actor/actress in this film couldn't act their way out of a Don "The Dragon" Wilson flick, and that's being nice. Every scene (not including the terrific martial-arts sequences) was obviously done in one or two God-awful takes. The film also sports some of the most horrendous camera lighting I've ever seen. It's so bad that I'm actually wondering if they used any lighting to begin with... and it doesn't help that most of the film takes place at night.
If anything good can be said about "Ninja Turf", then I'd mention the martial-arts choreography, which is top notch. However, some of these scenes are somewhat ruined when the sound of cheesy 1980's guitar/synthesizer music kicks in; not to mention, that good ol' camera lighting. "Ninja Turf" also makes a great Who's Who flick for martial-arts enthusiasts since many then-unknowns have small parts, like: James Lew ("Big Trouble in Little China", "Lethal Weapon 4"), Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace ("Protector"), Ken Nagayama ("Best of the Best"), Mark Hicks ("Gen-Y Cops", "Terminator 3") and one of my personal understated favorites, Loren Avedon ("No Retreat No Surrender II", "King of the Kickboxers").
"Ninja Turf" would also make a great party-film for the sake of laughter. You can call your friends up, get trashed and point out stupid things like:
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 2/10