Posts Tagged ‘ B Movies ’

Bionic Ninja

Guest post by Richard

There are no bionics in Godfrey Ho’s Bionic Ninja, or anything relating to any sort of advanced super technology. Bionic Ninja is another shining example of Godfry Ho making his art, his crapft*, and his desire to profit off dumb westerners or something like that, the movie’s over 20 years old.

Nothing this cool is in the movie

For those of you who are unaware of Godfry Ho, he was a maker of movies in Hong Kong in the 70s and 80s. He “made” movies in the same manner of way that Dr. Frankenstein made his monster, splicing together two movies. Every Godfrey Ho movie is actually two films, one a unfinished Chinese film, that is then spliced together with footage of western actors doing stuff involving ninjas (this is the stuff Godfrey Ho directs). Usually the actors show up, shoot their scenes, and then this footage is stretched out over multiple films. Most actors were not even aware that this was taking place. Richard Harrison has said that the experience led to his retirement and described the experience of working with Godfrey Ho as

“This experience made me feel very dirty. I really felt like a prostitute. They were thrown in my face all the time. I saw part of one once, it had something to do with witches. I don’t think I had more than a couple of scenes in it. ”

He made this man feel like a whore

Godfrey Ho would try to make the two movies seem as one by having the white characters discuss what was going on in the other film or make it seem like they had scenes together. This is usually done in such a way that it seems like the editing in of Raymond Burr in Godzilla seem masterful.

Needless to say Godfrey Ho is a God.


Anyway back to Bionic Ninja, it’s one of Godfrey Ho’s lesser works- in the sense that some of his movies can be amazingly entertaining. The plot is not important or understandable- it involves something regarding the KGB using ninjas to smuggle secrets in and out of Hong Kong and then the Chinese film that all the ninja scenes are edited around is dubbed over to make it seem like there was a microfilm that was stolen that had these secrets. This all leads to a bunch of real boring spliced with some moments of just perfect like awfulness.

Despite all that the movie is entrancing, it’s just so bad that you can’t avert your eyes from it, and once you’re in-you’re in for good. The movie works its magic and turns off your brain eventually leaving you in a coma like state…or asleep. The dubbing is terrible, the acting is terrible, and the action is terrible. The dialogue is laughable and with the dubbing added on top of it, it becomes pure gold. Lines like:

“The information is 99% accurate”

“Well since it is that reliable we have no choice”

become rivals of the best David Mamet ever wrote in just pure entertainment value.

I can’t really write anymore on this-it’s just terrible, but I love it anyway.

Godfrey Ho now teaches “film” at the Hong Kong Film Institute. A majority of his films are public domain and thus are on google video, watch at your own risk.



Sharks in Venice

Now I like to fancy myself somewhat a connoisseur of films of dubious quality, but I sometimes can find a movie hard to watch. There is after all a distinction between GOOD Bad and BAD bad.

I feel that the cardinal sins of making a B movie are being boring, and misleading the audience. The film that I recently had the experience of viewing, Sharks in Venice commits both of those sins. I know, I really shouldn’t have expected much, it was after all a movie of the week that premiered on the Sci Fi channel. But every once in a while we do get a decent addition to the “Killer Animals Attack” genre from them.

I felt it had the makings of a decent bad movie. It has a great title, a trailer that inspires confidence, and it stars an actor far removed from his prime, Stephen Baldwin! My hopes were about as high as possible for this movie, all things considered.

Here’s the trailer:

Pretty much everything good in the movie right there

So yeah, I thought it looked enjoyable. It turned out that it wasn’t the worst thing ever, but not something I can really recommend to anyone, cause all the best bits are already in the trailer. You saw those two shots of poorly rendered CGI sharks eating people? that’s all the movie has going for it in the “bad CGI shark department’”. That’s it, the rest is the usual stock footage of sharks, clouds of blood, and murky shots of people scuba diving. Not impressive in the least.

That’s where the sense of being mislead comes in. Sure I know that if you want to get down to it the movie’s title is Sharks in Venice, and that’s what it delivers, but I feel that it should have had a lot more amusing shark action than just the stuff in the trailer. It’s such a great B movie concept. Just imagine sharks rampaging around eating gondolas, and boats and tons of people! Mayhem, body parts, teeth and blood everywhere. Yeah there was some potential there. Squandered potential.

I feel that in a movie like this, if you’re gonna name your film after the deadly animals involved you should at least have a decent amount of screen time of said animal. Look at Snakes on a Plane for example, tons of snakes on a plane for most of the run time. Or even other sci fi channel movies like Dinocroc or Supergator, they make up for the lack of quality in their movie by having a giant dinosaur/crocodile/gator eating people whenever they get a chance. The effects aren’t great or anything, but I expect to have my titular killer animals in the movie in at least some entertaining fashion.

sharksinvenicer1artpicI mean come on this is a pretty awesome DVD cover. It’s a giant fucking shark about to eat a gondola, it’s ruining shit and looking menacing. The only parts of the movie remotely like this were in the trailer.

When you give your movie a title, I usually expect it to reflect the content of the film. Sharks in Venice has the same problem that the academy Award winning film There Will Be Blood had; a title that while technically correct is actually a reference to a more minor part of the film as a whole in regard to screen time. Spoilers: There’s not much blood at all in There Will Be Blood, most of it shows up in the last scene, after Daniel Day Lewis talks about milkshakes.

I feel the movie should have been called Stephen Baldwin in Venice: The Sharkening.

Most of the movie is about Stephen Baldwin looking for some treasure that his dad was looking for. He has to go scuba diving to find it cause it’s in a secret underground place that has an underwater entrance. But every time he goes diving the sharks show up and eat someone. It sounds like there might be some excitement there, but  as I mentioned before it’s just murky looking and peppered with shark stock footage.

Stephen Baldwin’s girlfriend gets kidnapped by the mafia, who want the treasure. We don’t really care, but it gives Baldwin a reason to keep going into the water. The big twist is that the sharks had been released into the Venetian waters by the big mafia bad guy, who somehow got ahold of baby great white sharks, and decided that somehow they’d make good underwater guard dogs. The whole situation doesn’t really seem that feasible, especially considering the bad guy has a tank with baby great whites in it, and everyone knows great whites cannot live in captivity.

The middle of the movie is Baldwin dealing with the mafia, there’s a foot chase in which they run down the same small stretch of street at least three times, while mafia goons try to shoot Baldwin. It doesn’t make much sense, cause they need him to find the treasure. Then when he does lead the mafia goons to the treasure, they try to kill him. So there’s a short fight scene that manages to involve a battle axe, and a sword. It’s all captivating enough to the point that you’re not totally bored, it just doesn’t happen to involve any killer sharks.

Sharks_In_Venice_2By the end of the movie there’s a shootout between mafia goons and an Italian SWAT team at a factory/warehouse place. you know the same factory/warehouse place that all action movies tend to end at. Apparently there’s one in Venice. So there’s some explosions and shooting, and it’s all nothing that I cared about in the least.

The best thing about the movie is the fact that by the end, the shark is still alive. It doesn’t come back to life in some sort of surprise ending or anything, they just don’t bother killing it, so it’s just swimming around still. And the Italian police spend the whole movie just insisting that there’s no sharks in Venice despite eyewitness reports to the contrary. They’re really serious about it.

Which is a problem with the movie as a whole, it takes itself way too seriously. There’s not enough shenanigans to make up for the lack of goodness.

Honestly the best way to approach the film is to just watch the trailer, have yourself a laugh, and just be glad that the movie exists out there somewhere and that you don’t have to watch it.