So we are back to the Martial Arts collection for today’s movie. Now this is one of those movies that was actually one big movie that was broken up into three parts. When studios do this, it always worries me because you can end up with some very short movies this way. Luckily, this seems to be a full length movie so there should hopefully be lots of ninja fighting goodness to watch. So time to get right into today’s movie, Ninja Death 1.
The plot: A princess, carrying a small child and escorted by three bodyguards, is being chased by an army of ninjas. While the bodyguards are able to fend off the ninjas, one of them is eventually killed when the ninjas’ leader joins the battle. When the other two bodyguards and the princess are surrounded, the princess gives the child to one of the bodyguards and tells him to run, then attacks the leader herself. The princess and the other bodyguard are killed and the bodyguard holding the child manages to escape and jump off a cliff. Some time later, a man named Tiger is in charge of a brothel and does his best to get customers inside. At one point, a man who Tiger calls Master stops by and asks how business is doing and after Tiger tells him, the man walks off. Meanwhile, the Grandmaster appears before his subordinates, thanking Fuchiko and Sikora for freeing him. When one of his ninja subordinates says that the people the Grandmaster is looking for ran away, he has the ninja killed, then tells Fuchiko and Sikora to find them. Tiger hears something happening down the street and when he investigates, he finds another brothel opening up, run by Shikora. When Shikora is harassed by two men, Tiger comes to her aid and then leaves. Later, Fuchiko asks Shikora if Tiger has a plum shaped mark on his chest and when she says she couldn’t see, he tells her all of the ninjas will be looking for him and they need to find him first or else they will be dead. Back at his brothel, Tiger overhears a man talking about stuff going in and out of a nearby mansion and Tiger thinks it is something he should tell Master. Meanwhile, Master is walking out in the forest when a group of ninjas attack him. He tries to run but when he is surrounded, he is forced to fight and ends up killing them with a sword hidden in his walking stick. Tiger arrives at the house Master is staying at and tells him about the new brothel and Master, realizing that they will soon be found, suddenly starts attacking Tiger and quickly knocks him out. After reviving Tiger, Master begins putting him through some intense training to toughen him up. Meanwhile, two ninjas are training with wooden swords in front of a man in an oni (devil) mask when the Grandmaster starts playing a flute, causing the man in the mask to suddenly start attacking the two ninjas. In the woods, Master continues training Tiger and starts telling him the history of the ninjas. Master then tells Tiger to head back to the brothel and as soon as he leaves, Master is attacked by a group of ninjas. Master easily defeats the ninjas, with the last one choosing to run away but Devil Mask appears and begins attacking Master and, outmatched, Master is forced to run away himself. Back in the city, Tiger is walking by Shikora’s brothel when Shikora invites him inside to try having Japanese style sex and when Tiger refuses, she orders her girls to grab him and drag him inside. The girls take him to a room where he finds Fuchiko disguised as a girl. Fuchiko starts attacking Tiger, ripping his shirt in order to see if he has a plum shaped mark on his chest, but Tiger manages to get away. Tiger returns with some flowers for Shikora but she doesn’t seem to be interested in him, saying he is too young and inexperienced. Later, Tiger has dinner with Master and Master has him graba blue bottle and Tiger finds the bottle as well as some other items, which arouses Tiger’s curiosity. Master has a flashback, where he is cutting the sign into the chest of the baby before spitting a liquid onto the baby’s chest while in the present, Tiger resumes his training with Master. Later, Tiger is walking in town when he comes across Fuchiko again and the two start fighting. During the fight, Tiger bumps into a blind man, who ends up getting involved in the fight briefly before knocking Fuchiko back and dragging Tiger to safely. The blind man takes Tiger to his shop and offers to read Tiger’s fortune and after Tiger tells him his master’s name, the blind man tells Tiger that he will face seven dangers but will be able to overcome them if he uses plum flower. Tiger is confused about what the man means and thinks that Plum flower might be a girl. That night, Shikora, dressed as a red ninja, enters Tiger’s room and starts reaching for his shirt when Tiger catches her hand. The two roll around on the bed, with Tiger trying to kiss her and Shikora fighting him off when she suddenly sees the plum symbol on his chest. The two end up having sex and afterwards, Shikora calls Tiger master and Tiger ends up running away and goes to talk to Master. Meanwhile, a group of ninjas enter the beggar house where Master was staying and kill everyone inside. When Tiger gets there, he sees all of the dead bodies and calls out for Master but ends up being attacked by some ninjas. Tiger manages to get away and heads to the brothel to warn the girls, only to find everyone there dead. A ninja attacks Tiger but he manages to kill it. Meanwhile, Master, in a ninja garb and wearing a baby mask, makes his way into the enemy stronghold. He is attacked by a couple of ninjas but after dispatching them, Devil Mask appears and starts fighting him. During the mask, the sleeve of Devil Mask’s is ripped, revealing a tattoo which Master recognizes and he calls out brother and begs Devil Mask to stop. Devil Mask appears to stop at first and seems to be fighting an internal struggle until the Grandmaster appears and starts playing his flute. Devil Mask proceeds to beat on Master until Grandmaster stops playing and approaches with several ninjas but Master uses the opportunity to run. The ninjas follow him into the woods and start fighting and he appears to be losing due to his injuries when another ninja appears and saves him. The ninja is then revealed to be Fuchiko, who says his father used to serve the princess. Meanwhile, the Grandmaster has ordered two of Tiger’s girls to be tortured and asks if Tiger has a tattoo on his chest, which the girls tell him no. Back in the woods, Fuchiko tells Master that the princess is still alive. Tiger shows up and, thinking that Fuchiko had injured Master, proceeds to fight Fuchiko until Master calls him off. Master then explains that their village was attacked by pirates and ninja and the only children that survived was himself, the blind man, and Tiger’s father. Master also tells him that the person that kept them is the same man that leads the ninja, the Grandmaster. Suddenly, Devil Mask appears in a cloud of red smoke and begins spinning against a red backdrop before facing forward, signalling the end of the movie.
Holy cow. This was not at all what I was expecting but I couldn’t have been happier. This is one of those ridiculous martial arts movies that is completely entertaining to watch because of how bad it is. The acting was decent but the dubbing was fantastically bad, made even more so by the fact that they switch from American to British accents towards the end of the movie due to a change in companies doing the dubbing. The story was confusing as hell but considering this is only the first part of one long movie, it will hopefully become more clear in the next part. Even with that in mind, there is still a lot of things that don’t make sense, like the bit with Shikora having sex with Tiger as soon as she sees the mark on his chest. The action was very fast paced, starting off at the very beginning and so ridiculous that every scene is just a mixture of funny and awesome to watch. A fun movie to watch and I am hoping the second part is just as good.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5