Starring: Chan Sheng, Chan Wai Mang, Sze Ming, YuYang, Shan Qu, Tse Yuen, and Fong Lam
Directors: Lo Mar and Leung Siu Chang
Rating: Six of Ten Stars
Released after spending six years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, a martial arts expert and his brother take revenge on the men who framed him (not to mention killed his mother, raped his girlfriend, and probably shaved all the hair off his dog).
"Ninja Heat" is a straight-forward revenge flick that follows the two brothers as they track down the men on their "Black List" and beat them to death one by one. The film is so straight forward that it doesn't even bother with the standard twists, including one that seemed so clearly telegraphed I was pleasently surprised when it never materialized.
With a cinematic style that leans heavily on Sergio Leone (of all people), well-choreographed and filmed fight and chase scenes, and more melodrama than I think I've ever experienced crammed into a single movie (EVERY bad guy had a drawn-out death scene, and most got to have flashbacks as they died... seeing their wifes or girlfriends and regretting their lives of crime in their last moments), and a nice music soundtrack with a catchy main theme that, like the look of the film, seems like it belongs in a Sergio Leone movie, I think those who like the low-tech, gritty martial arts features from the late 1970s and early 1980s will enjoy this movie.
It has one problem: There are no Ninja anywhere to be seen in this movie! Maybe "Ninja Heat" refers to the weather that makes so many of the characters in this movie sweat more profusely than a fat man chained on a runaway treadmill?
Or maybe the Ninjas are there, but they're hiding really, REALLY well! (That might make sense. There might be obscure Ninja Secrets that are hidden within this film... it would explain why it's so obscure that it doesn't even have a listing at Internet Movie Database, nor at Rotten Tomatoes. I can't even find any other reviews of the film out there! Could this be the Ninja equivalent of "The DaVinci Code"?!)
If you've seen this movie (it's included in the "Martial Arts 50-Movie Pack" and a few other multipacks) and if you have an idea of what its "aka" may be, I'd love to know. It's not a bad little little movie (even if it is 100% Ninja Free), so it's surprsing to me that it' so completely obscure as far as the Web goes.
(Programming Note: The lack of Ninja in this film will be made up for in November with Nine Days of the Ninja. Mark it on your calendar, and perhaps even consider posting a few reviews of Ninja movies of your own!)