Shaolin vs. Ninja (1983)
Facial hair highlighted in classic kung fu flick
This week I’m kicking it old school. The emphasis on kicking, because there is a lot of that in this week’s feature, Shaolin vs. Ninja.
Shaolin vs Ninja tells the tale of a group of skilled Shaolin monks living in China, and a rival group of Japanese inhabitants who covet the land their monastery is located on. I assume they want to level it and build a mini-mall in its place.
In order to eliminate the monks, the Japanese contingent frames them for murder. To top it all off, they then hire a gang of ninjas to aid them in their dastardly plan.
This all leads to a winner take all, best of seven series of fights pitting the monks against the ninjas.
The fight scenes in this film will take your breath away. If you want to see a guy do twelve back flips in a row, and then follow it up with about ten cartwheels, then this is the film for you. Such flexibility has not been seen since Paris Hilton decided to turn off her video camera.
Perhaps the only problem I see with the film is that the ninjas seem quite overmatched.
The monks are a very skilled, acrobatic team. These aren’t your typical monks – they have not taken a vow of silence – they have taken a vow to kick some ass.
The ninjas on the other hand, well, they leave a lot to be desired.
If you see a group of ninjas hanging out together, go up to them, give them all wedgies, and try to steal their lunch money.
However, if you see just one ninja, then you better run like hell.
You see, ninjas do not work well in teams. They are a very egotistical bunch, and function better as individuals. Have you ever seen a gang of ninjas attack someone in a movie? If so, you know that they usually end up on the losing end, no matter how great of a numbers advantage they have.
Cleary some sort of team building exercise needs to be added to the ninja-training regimen. If I ever encountered a ninja, I would say to him (or her), “There is no ‘i’ in ninja”. Of course they would then respond that there is in fact an ‘i’, right after the first ‘n’. That’s because in addition to being very egotistical, they are also quite literal.
Before I go any further, I need to point out some of the truly spectacular facial hair that is featured in this film. Take a look at the guy on the left. I was under the mistaken impression that the particular type of moustache that the gentleman is sporting went out of style in a German bunker sometime in 1945. I guess he figures that one ruthless dictator shouldn’t ruin it for everyone.
Even better than that is the guy on the right. Not much needs to be said about it, I mean just look at those eyebrows! He’s got more hair in the left brow than I have on my entire body. I have never in my life trimmed my eyebrows, and I have come nowhere close to having something like that develop. If anyone can tell me how I could manage to grow a set of eyebrows… wait a second, I have an idea!
GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY!!!!!
That’s right, it’s time to reward a loyal reader with the first ever Cinema Connoisseur grand prize giveaway. Simply send an email to email@example.com, explaining in detail how I would be able to grow eyebrows that even come close to resembling the ones pictured, and your name will be entered into a draw to win a DVD copy of Shaolin vs Ninja. Also included on this disc is the equally magnificent film Shaolin Chastity Kung Fu. You cannot really put a price tag on a great prize like this, although Wal-Mart saw fit to put one on it that said $1. A second name will be drawn, and that person will win a VHS copy of the colossal hit Monkeybone that I found in the laundry room of my apartment building.
Shaolin vs Ninja has pretty much everything you could hope for in a movie. Thrilling action, political intrigue, amusing facial hair, you name it, it’s got it. You will be kicking yourself if you don’t try to get yourself a copy today.