Hanzo the Razor: Sword of Justice (1972)Not strictly Ninja or Samurai, I initially thought Hanzo was a samurai when I chose it but upon watching it he is only a cop. Oh well, he's Japanese, in a traditional setting and he uses a sword. Is it racist for me to say "close enough"? ... yeah, it kinda is. Holy monkey balls, this movie is incredible. It is so full on and damn inappropriate in places, dare I say it: it is close to perfect exploitation. It has all the ingredients and uses them in all the right over the top ways. I was laughing in shock and glee in many places, and the movie rarely leaves the viewer without a cool/crazy hook to be having fun with. Never boring.I do feel dirty writing this considering the role rape plays in the movie, but in the "spirit(?)" of the movie it seems to work(?).Sorry. Just watch it, you'll see. I hope you will agree or else Im just wrong......more wrong.JUNESPLOITATIONRoger Corman loves it!
Are you gonna watch the "Hanzo" sequels, Brad? There's two more and they're basically repeats of the different movie with tweaked plots/bad guys. YMMV.
Muay Thai Warrior (2010) By the numbers film about evil Japanese Samurai who want to take over a nearby village of monks. Action very standard with CGI blood and unnecessary slow motion shots. One awesome thing the monks have handlebar mustaches with tattoos of paragraphs over there backs. Thank god for the Mustachesploitation!
Geisha Assassin (2009)Minami Tsuikui is all fire and determination as the titular geisha, who is looking to avenge her father's death. The move is beautifully simplistic for the first half, staging a series of (mostly) well done action scenes (although the wire-work appears to have been done by Woo-ping's nephew Eddie). Unfortunately the filmmakers gum things up in the last bit with a bunch of nonsense about a cursed sword, or whatever. The final battle takes forever to get to, and is decidedly underwhelming.
Revenge Of The Ninja (1983)A movie so nice I watched it twice, once with and once without the fantastic F This Movie! commentary track. Just a great big Golan-Globus-y pile of ridiculous violence, terrible acting, off-putting misogyny, and the most complacent drowning victim in the history of film. It's great to see Sho Kosugi in action, especially as the good guy (he was the villain in Enter The Ninja, to which this is a pseudo-sequel). If you're on the Cannon Films wavelength, this is definitely worth a look.
13 Assassins (2010)Thank you Junesploitation (and JB) for an excuse to watch this after nearly a year of wasting away in the Netflix queue. I agree with pretty much everything F This Movie! has had to say about this movie. The last fourty-five minutes is crazy! As good as the action is, I was surprised how much I could connect with all 13 Samurai and their stand for the honorable old ways in the face of absolute evil. New band name: Flaming Bulls, called it!
Myke and all else who enjoy the new 13 Assassins I recommend you watch the original Thirteen Assassins (1963) if you have not. It has a different feel than Miike's 2010 effort. Just as good in its own way. More jidai-geki to Miike's chambara.
Red Shadow: Akakage (2001)One of my favorite directors Hiroyuki Sanada brings us a great intentionally comedic and campy send up to all ninja and samurai films that came before. It is however perhaps the weakest film in Sanada's "Samurai Fiction" series. Like Tarantino's Kill Bill this film is basically non-stop homage to older films of the genre. (Tarantino actually borrowed the shoji screen silhouette sword fight from Sanada's 1998 Samurai Fiction.) Sanada's film however does not seem to be as user friendly as Tarantino's effort as it is often bemoaned by neophyte viewers. Those who do get all the references however tend to adore this film. Red Shadow is absurdist, melancholic and down right silly while still managing to deliver on its knife throwing, grappling hooking, ninja flipping, and smoke bomb smoking.
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1972)My favorite Lone Wolf and Cub movie is the one where they agree to kill some bad guy, have to cut through about 900 soldiers and a totally unstoppable bad-ass body guard to kill the baddie. Yes, okay, that's four of the six movies in the series but it's still FUN damnit! This being the third of the Lone Wolf and Cub movies, the pattern was set during this movie. Surprisingly, except for the basics I mentioned, the movies don't get very repetitive. They are also really good examples of Japanese exploitation film making. Even when these were made, they were dirty, mean, messy films that you wouldn't want your mother to catch you watching. That makes them damn near perfect.
Duel To The Death (1983)I've enjoyed almost everything I've watched so far, but this one set a new standard. I watched this a long time ago (like, 15 years) and I remembered liking it, but revisiting was such an awesome ride. This movie has everything that I could ever ask for, including the titular duel to the death between a samurai and a Shaolin monk. But the ninjas...the ninjas are pretty much supernatural. They can appear and disappear at will, travel underground, fly on kites, and, my favorite, join together to form one gigantic 20 foot tall ninja. The best thing they do? Explode upon death. So far, this is my favorite of all I've watched.
I've never heard of it before, but that sounds like something I need to stuff into my eyeballs as soon as possible.
I was going to have Hanzo the Razor 2 as my free slot but after reading this I think I might need to check this one out instead. Never would have thought that samurai&ninja day would have beaten Pam Grier day, but it seems to be looking that way for us at least. Joy
Yeah, count me in for needing to see this right away.
Great pick Heath. I last saw that film over ten years ago but I remember it being incredible just as you describe. Truly a feast. Maybe I will work it in for my Kung-Fu movie.
Good deal, gang. It's on youtube, in its entire, uncut glory. I posted in the primer about how Youtube had lots of gems if you search for them, but even I didn't realize how much it has become a haven for exploitation, b-movies, and cult classics. There are hundreds of movies there, complete and uncut, all in one continuous video. Old kung fu, Roger Corman, spaghetti westerns...with all the violence, nudity, and good stuff that would make Youtube really mad if they knew about.
LEGEND OF THE SHADOWLESS SWORD. OK, so the movie doesn’t actually say that the assassins dressed all in black who throw shurikens are ninjas, but come on. I really like this movie. I know the “wire fu” thing is a turn-off for a lot of people, but I think it’s used nicely here. More importantly, the characters are likable, with our leads doing the Han and Leia thing almost as good as Han and Leia. All that makeup on the male characters is a little distracting (Guyliner-sploitation!), but beyond that, the movie is great fun.
The Warrior's Way (2010) Samurai assassin turned babysitter heads to the American old west. I actually enjoyed this a lot. The action was at times comical, but always intense and well choreographed. The graphics could be a bit obvious, but I got over that pretty quickly. And we got gun-sploitation too with a a handheld Gatling gun! Super fun, and with a female lead who actually gets to do cool things AND wear pants!
Shogun Assassin 2: Lightning Swords of Death (1972) Yes, I know, I should be watching the Lone Wolf and Cub versions, but I liked the first recut Shogun Assassin. This one is way more tedious. The awesome stuff is appropriately awesome, but there's a lot of non-awesome stuff between the awesomeness. The good parts make up for it.
I haven't seen the Shogun Assassin versions, but Wikipedia claims that the one you watched is just the third movie (Baby Cart to Hades) under a different title. So I'm guessing we watched the same movie. Since Shogun Assassin is two movies mashed up, and the other Shogun Assassin movies don't appear to be, the others will have more tedium for you. The films all kind of get slopped together in my head anyway. I thought that the guy with the guns was in the fifth movie, for example. I watched them all once, and I haven't gone back much unless there's an event like this. All that being said, you can get the whole series on blu-ray for like $30 if you're interested enough. I'm happy enough to break out the DVDs for those rare times someone comes and asks "What's this Lone Wolf and Cub thing I keep hearing about." Happened all of once so far.
Ninja (2009)Was planning on watching Revenge of the Ninja but something was up with US Netflix and I had to settle for this on Netflix Canada.Doesn't just feel like a made-for-TV movie but a made-for-Canadian-TV movie. Hero looks like lovechild of Ben Affleck and Ben Stiller. Director loves his Snyderesque fast-slow-fast fight scenes. Cheesy enough to not be a complete waste of time but wouldn't really recommend it.
That movie is saved by two things for me: 1) The subway fight and b) my crush on Scott Adkins. I don't disagree with anything you said, but I still kind of like the movie. You should check out some other Isaac Florentine stuff.
Yeah that fight was awesome and sleeping on it, I would say I did kinda like the movie overall.I looked up Scott Adkins on imdb and I have not seen ANY of his other movies (except stupid Wolverine but don't remember him) so I watched it thinking he was a total no-name guy. I DID mean to say he looks like the lovechild of those two Bens BUT shredded as hell and with actual martial arts skills.
Revenge of the Ninja (1983)Sure, why not? Eleven-year-old Doug would've been obsessed with this movie. Thirty-four-year-old Doug is just in regular love with it. Ridiculous and fun. Now I need to watch it with Patrick's commentary.Serious thought: I almost feel like ninjas and samurais could be broken out into two separate categories. I feel like movies about these two classes of warriors have different things to say.
For enthusiasts of the jidai-geki and chambara genres ninja and samurai films are most definitely separate categories.
I am definitely one of those! I think. I just don't know what they are. But really I just wanted to make sure the category was broad enough that people could find stuff to watch.