Ninja Wars (1984)
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Critic Reviews for Ninja Wars
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Audience Reviews for Ninja Wars
88% Odd film, with evil monks flying around and upchucking at their enemies. Very atmosheric (feels like the Swamp of Despair from THE NEVER ENDING STORY) and the decapitations soak the screen with blood. If you like this one, check out DUEL TO THE DEATH, it's even better.
This movie is okay; it has some decent action scenes, a good plot, interesting characters, some bad writing and a ton of weirdness that plagues it from top to bottom. The problems that I addressed here are what makes this movie collapse upon itself, "Ninja Wars" would've been better if these issues were not present. 5/10
A Japanese feudal warlord (Nakao) allies with a demon (Narita) and the five monks in his service after it is prophized that if he wins the heart of a beautiful princess (Watanabe), he will someday rule the world. To ensure their success, the demon monks kidnap the princess's virginal twin sister (also Watanabe) who was being secretly raised as a ninja, and from whose tears they hope to brew a love potion. But they didn't take her fellow ninja and sweetheart Jotaro (Sanada) into account, nor the ferocity with which he would attempt to rescue his love. "Ninja Wars" is a big-budget, epic fantasy movie set during the Warring States period of Japan's history. It's got a wild, twisting and turning plot that the above-summary only touches on part of, because to say more would ruin some of the film's surprises. It's got romance, spectacular battles, and black magic applied in bizarre ways. It's got pure-hearted virgins, brave ninjas, honorless nobles, and Samurai who are more than what they seem. It's the weirdest Japanese fantasy movie you're likely to see, save "Moon Over Tao" ([URL=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/journal_view.php?journalid=245672&entryid=248497&view=public]review here[/URL]). It's a film that will surprise you, because scene after scene will have you saying, "No... they didn't just do THAT, did they?!" The version I watched (which was titled "Death of a Ninja") featured some dodgy dubbing--with weak acting and clearly mistranslated dialogue, such as the demon monks referring to themselves as ninja, despite the fact they are dressed like monks, carry staves like monks, and ARE monks--but the superior quality of the film still shined through that hobbling. It's nearly perfectly paced, and it keeps the viewers attention through fast action and a steady stream of unexpected developments. The only two things that annoyed me about the film was a flashback sequence that flashed back to things we had just seen on screen some ten minutes earlier, and the somewhat unsatisfying ending. (It's a fitting end, but it wasn't strong enough for my tastes.) Fans of tales set in 15th through 17th century Japan, fans of Samurai epics, and fans of quirkly martial arts and fantasy movies should find much to enjoy here. Also, if you're an adult (or at least older than 17, because this film is a hard R with its nudity and copious gore) who enjoys Rumiko Takahashi's "Inu-Yasha" graphic novels--particularly the more horror-oriented aspects--I think you'll get a kick out of this movie. The demons and many of the characters will remind of the material in that series, which isn't surprising since the creators here are drawing from the same well as Takahashi would when created "Inu-Yasha" a few years later. Ninja Wars (aka "Death of a Ninja", "Iga Magic Story" and "Black Magic Story") Starring: Hiroyuki Sanada, Noriko Watanabe, Akira Nakao, Jun Miho, Mikio Narita, Noboru Matsuhashi, and Sonny Chiba Director: Mitsumasa Saito
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