Oh boy, how do I even start this? Well, I’ll give it a try.
NEW YORK NINJA was a martial arts movie filmed guerilla style in New York 1984 by star/writer/director/taiwanese martial artist John Liu that was subsequently abandoned before any thorough post production could be completed. Seemingly, the film would be lost forever. That is, until boutique distribution label Vinegar Syndrome discovered the forgotten remains and painstakingly restructured & completed the film without audio or script to go by. A herculean task if you ask me.
So, now that everything has been put together, how is the actual movie? Well, let’s find out!
A sound technician for a news station (John Liu) becomes a vigilante ninja in New York City after his pregnant wife is murdered.
“Oh my god. What even is this movie??” This is the sentiment that I found myself repeating throughout my viewing of this motion picture. Just an absolute glorious piece of madness. Within five minutes, I knew I was in love, and I had a big fat smile on my face for the remainder of the running time.
First off, big shoutout to Vinegar Syndrome for their dedication to putting out the best damn movie they could with the materials they had at their disposal. Not just with re-editing the footage, but also bringing in the likes of badass stars like Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock, Linnea Quigley, Leon Isaac Kennedy, Vince Murdocco, and Michael Berryman to do voiceover work for the characters. It was so amazing to hear the voices of these spectacular personalities involved with this work.
As for the movie itself, it is a rollercoaster of WTF. The way events happen in this movie will have you questioning reality. After meeting with his wife in the opening seconds, she is murdered 90 seconds later by a gang of human traffickers. Swearing vengeance, he becomes a Ninja in a beige colored uniform who takes out gangs left and right. Dude just shows up wherever there’s bad guys doing bad guy stuff. Even on roller skates. Yes, he takes out bad guys on roller skates. I kid you not.
There’s also a main villain called The Plutonium Killer who kills women using radioactive powers. Seriously. For example, he hypnotizes a woman at a Halloween party, takes her to his limo to have sex with her, then kills her with his radioactive hands. This movie is madness I tell you, madness.
The fight scenes are also outstandingly glorious. John will be surrounded by thugs, yet they will all patiently wait their turn as he takes them out one by one, even though they have many opportunities to attack him from behind. They really just stand there and wait until he finishes off their buddies before they even attempt to do something. It’s beautiful.
The best of it though is The Plutonium Killer’s main henchman, who fights John using drunken swordsman style while biting down on his rat tail. The main henchman. Has a rat tail. That he bites down on. As he fights. This movie exists, ladies and gentlemen.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. So, if you enjoy movies like Miami Connection & Death Promise, and you have the chance to view this movie, please do. It is such a magnificent, rewarding experience, and you will not be disappointed.
I ❤ NY Ninja!