AKA: Forest Due, Ninja Jade Dragon
Director: Li Chao Yung
Producer: Joseph Lai San Lun, Faan Gin Gung
Cast: Tin Peng, Chung Wa, Doris Lung Chung Erh, Rose Gua Ah Leh, Wong Hap, Nancy Yen Nan Hs, Chin Meng, Tin Yau, Kam Kong, Chen Chin Hai, Ma Cheung, Mau Ging Shun, Shut Chung Tin, Wong Chi Sang, Yun Zhong Yue
Running Time: 75 min.
This one may not be very well known, but it’s a gem nonetheless. I stumbled across it in a small video store near my brother’s Air Force base, in Sumter, South Carolina. The box cover showed this crazy, bearded, green-skinned guy glaring with rage. The back of the box promised the following story: “…there is one thing that will motivate the highly skilled warrior to somehow emerge victorious: the purple jade badger. Its owner will be recognized as the leader of all martial artists. Even though it is hidden in Chi Ha Villa, the center of wealth and power, the best and the bravest are trying to find it. But Shao, the Flying Fox, is on a mission to destroy the priceless badger, the symbol that has cost so many lives. To the other marial artists, the objective is clear: kill Shao.”
This movie is sort of like kung-fu meets Shakespeare. It’s full of double-crosses, traitorous urges, and backstabbings. It’s also got some great kung fu and sword fights. Lots of flying and flipping, though nothing fancy like the moves of the late ’80s HK heyday, or anything as choreographed as a Shaw Brothers production. When the main baddie (who shows up in the final quarter of the film) finally gets hold of the jade badger, he drinks the liquid inside, and becomes the green-skinned monster shown on the video’s cover. His hair grows, his skin changes color, and he apparently no longer has the ability to speak: every time he opens his mouth, a magnified lion’s roar comes out. Swords no longer pierce his skin, punches and kicks do nothing. He kills everyone in his way, until only the three main characters finally defeat him ? after, of course, a noble sacrifice by one of the heroes. Ever noticed how in most of these kung fu flicks someone has to give their life in order to stop the villain? I always wondered if there was a message, there… Nah, probably not.
And as if the movie itself wasn’t great enough, the dubbing is just exceptional. With such lines as “Your kung-fu is good…but I wonder, how would you be in bed? Would you be as good?” (spoken by a villainous female), you know you’re in for a treat. I loved the movie so much I asked the video store owner if I could buy it. He sold it to me for a whopping five dollars.
Joe909’s Rating: 9/10