Ninja Wars (1982)

Posted in Reviews by - November 03, 2012
Ninja Wars (1982)

Mad jidaigeki from the Sonny Chiba school of crazy. Evil Lord Donjo (Akira Nakao) is visited by a creepy floating soothsayer and told he will control the world if he wins the heart of the Shogun’s daughter. He enlists the help of five ‘devil monks’, each possessing bizarre supernatural skills, to kidnap the girl from the loving arms of young ninja Jotaro (Sanada). The assassination squad use slightly unorthodox combating techniques, like the mastery of a boomerang sithe and a gross projectile vomiting trick which douses unsuspecting adversaries in a highly corrosive yellow gunge. Just when you think the film couldn’t possibly get any weirder, the princess chops her own head off when in his lordship’s custody, only for the monks to swap her head with one of their courtesans. The girls’ tears are said to possess an aphrodisiac quality causing those who drink them to fall in love with the first person they see, and thus supposedly securing Donjo’s status as the king of the world. Perhaps all of this is a lot clearer in Hutaro Yamada’s novel, because this convoluted film adaptation barrels along at a reckless, incoherent pace. The fact the majority of the female cast have seemingly swapped heads really doesn’t help. But all this makes it one of Chiba’s most delirious exploitation films, even if he only makes an all-too-brief guest appearance at the start and the end.

AKA: Death of a Ninja.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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