Ninja the Protector (1986)

A team of ninja are running an illegal counterfeiting operation. The law is hot on their trail, with a mole inside their organization. But nothing can be done, as only a ninja can defeat a ninja. It’s a good thing the head of the police team investigating the counterfeiters happens to be a ninja himself! Richard Harrison is NINJA THE PROTECTOR: A Godfrey Ho film.

…or something like that. Godfrey Ho is famous for having filmed only pieces of material and then editing them together with a variety of other films from other countries to create multiple movies on the budget of a single Z-lister and then paring them with titles based on other recently released films but with the word “Ninja” attached. Case in point: Ninja the Protector, after Jackie Chan’s 1985 film The Protector. Ultimately the two have absolutely nothing in common, but that never stops the exploitation community from ripping off whatever they can. Using this technique, Ho created so many films, even he doesn’t remember what all he has done.

I first became aware of Godfrey Ho’s filmmaking around 2001, when several friends and I rented his movie Cobra vs. Ninja, in which the Thai mob bets on ninja fights, which a ninja named Cobra manipulates so he can challenge Ninja Master Gordon, played by Richard Harrison. Harrison actually played the role of Gordon in at least thirteen Ho productions, though for all we know he only filmed enough material for a handful of those movies. But Ninja Master Gordon is also usually the best part of these movies, as he literally flips out and kills people, often sporting outfits in a variety of colors. In Cobra vs. Ninja it was a deep red gi with a bright yellow headband that had “Ninja” written on it. In Ninja the Protector, Ninja Master Gordon appears dressed in a camouflage gi and wears eyeliner for some reason. Apparently the cosmetic choices of ninja are shrouded in mystery.

Anyway, there is a plot in Ninja the Protector, but it’s not a good one: the mole infiltrates the counterfeiters by trying to become a male model. He then sleeps with two women and has trouble with his suicidal girlfriend, while his brother who has a dirt bike fetish goes and mucks things up. Meanwhile a couple of white dudes investigate the gang, and whenever he gets the chance, Ninja Master Gordon shows up and fights. That is pretty much how everyone gets arrested in this movie, a ninja shows up to handcuff them. I think that’s totally legal in Taiwan. At least, I’m kinda sure.

Bad editing, bizarre cinematography, ridiculous dubbing, and a nonsensical plot rule the day. Characters who were completely alive are suddenly declared to be dead, two of the police make an absurd logic jump into believing their boss is a ninja after joking around that all the guys they have been catching have been on their way to costume parties, and the pacing is ridiculous. During one non-ninja fight sequence, the choreography visibly skips back and forth and even replays the same sequence three times. But you aren’t here for any of that.

You’re here for ninja fights.

And you get it! Ninjas jousting on motorcycles! Ninjas fighting with swords, smoke bombs, and throwing stars! Ninjas waving their hands in the air and suddenly appearing in full costume! Ninja Master Gordon even shoots an enemy ninja in the back with a hunting crossbow. Hell yeah!

Let me explain the basic layout of a Godfrey Ho motion picture:

Ninjas do stuff – Shit – Ninja Fight – Shit – Ninja Fight – Shit – Ninja Fight – The End. Welcome to the wonderful, terrible world of Godfrey Ho cinema.

It should be noted that Ninja the Protector, AKA Project Ninja Daredevils is IN NO WAY the movie Ninja Project Daredevils, which is also known as Ninja Masters of Death. Totally different movies. But with ninjas.

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