Release Date: January, 1986 (West Germany) Directed by: Godfrey Ho Written by: Godfrey Ho, Warren See Music by: Stephen Tsang Cast: Richard Harrison, Phillip Ko
IFD Films and Arts Limited, 88 Minutes
“The ninja empire is evil! I have to reform the ninja empire! That is why I took away the Golden Ninja Warrior!” – Ninja Master Harry
Some movies are so bad that they are terrific. I can’t honestly give this film a good score, due to how awful it is as a piece of cinematic art, but I can’t just dismiss it as shit because it captures a sort of magic with its dreadfulness and the giant iron clad testicles it proudly wears like Mr. T wearing his massive gold chains.
Ninja Terminator is everything I wanted in a ninja movie before I even realized what that was. It is full of low budget ’80s cheese, badass ’80s violence, stylish ’80s ninjas, rockin’ ’80s tunes and a nonsensical ’80s action movie plot that no one really cares about.
It is about these three ninjas and how they are in pursuit of this artifact. The film involves a lot of fighting with choreography that is two parts confusing and three parts balls out, high octane, muthafuckin’ ninja action!
The acting isn’t good, the story isn’t important and really, this is just about ninja showdowns and ninjas running around looking cool as hell. For those who are aware of the old school website Real Ultimate Power, this movie is the epitome of everything that website is about.
Many people will dismiss this as a film that truly sucks. I understand why. Those people are terrified of reckless ninjas messing shit up for no other reason than because the world loves ninja mayhem.
This film is a clusterfuck of biblical proportions. However, it is a clusterfuck of biblical proportions with ninjas in it. Therefore, I rest my case.
Release Date: May, 1961 (USA) Directed by: William Witney Written by: Richard Matheson Based on:Robur the Conqueror and Master of the World by Jules Verne Music by: Les Baxter Cast: Vincent Price, Charles Bronson, Henry Hull, Mary Webster, Richard Harrison
American International Pictures, 102 Minutes (including prologue)
What happens when you mix the master of terror Vincent Price with the works of the amazing Jules Verne and a screenplay by the great Richard Matheson? Well, you get Master of the World!
This film is like Verne’s more famous 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea except for being underwater in a giant menacing ship, it is in the air. Unfortunately it doesn’t do battle with a giant squid but it does do battle with the nations of the world.
I always loved the movie versions of Verne’s classic works, especially from this era. While Master of the World doesn’t quite measure up to 20,000 Leagues or Around the World In 80 Days, it is still an enjoyable picture and feels like a true extension of those films. Even with its much smaller budget and scale, Master of the World still feels like a big movie. Sure, the special effects don’t hold up tremendously but some of the shots and effects were still well executed for their day and for the limited resources American International Pictures had versus Disney.
Casting Vincent Price as Robur the Conqueror was genius. Known mostly for being the leading man in several iconic horror films, Price was able to be sinister, where the role called for it, while also being commanding and intense as the captain of his airship, the Albatross. The film also reunited him with Charles Bronson, as they worked together on the classic House of Wax, eight years earlier. That was the film that really started Bronson’s career.
The character of Robur is a dynamic one. He is the villain of the story but depending upon your point-of-view, could be the hero. Considered a “mad man”, similar to Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues, Robur has created his magnificent airship in an effort to go to war with war. The ship’s purpose is to bully the war-mongering nations of the world into changing their ways. While Robur announces his intention on these nations, he is quick to destroy their warships and their weapons to make his message clear. Robur feels that the loss of thousands is worth it to protect the lives of millions who didn’t ask for war.
The Albatross is one of my favorite vessels in film history. It was steampunk before steampunk was even a thing. It also has the feel of the world from the video game Bioshock: Infinite, which may have borrowed from this movie or the works of Verne in general. The sets that are the ship are very well put together. The colors are nice and welcoming, the use of colored glass enhances the vision of world peace, which is Robur’s goal – even if his means to achieve it are a bit twisted. The Albatross is a menacing warship that doesn’t look anything like a warship. It looks like a nice, cozy place to live. I’m also pretty sure it inspired the airship from Final Fantasy VII.
Master of the World is one of my favorite Vincent Price films, even if it isn’t a horror picture. He owned the role of Robur and gave it a real sense of legitimacy. Charles Bronson was perfect as his foil and the rest of the cast was pretty good too. I especially liked the dichotomy between Price’s Robur and Henry Hull’s Prudent, an arms manufacturer that finds himself captive on the Albatross.
If you like Jules Verne tales in the form of a motion picture, there really isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t enjoy Master of the World. It isn’t a masterpiece but it is a solid film that deserves to be in the same company as the Disney-made Verne movies that had much larger budgets and better resources at their disposal.