Rupert Pupkin Speaks: GarageHouse Pictures - NINJA BUSTERS on Blu-ray ""

Thursday, December 17, 2015

GarageHouse Pictures - NINJA BUSTERS on Blu-ray

NINJA BUSTERS (1984; Paul Kyriazi)
"We're being chased by Ninjas!"
This movie exist in basically the same universe as MIAMI CONNECTION, but it feels like kind of a prequel stage in a way. It also reminds me a bit of Brian Trenchard-Smith's film DEATHCHEATERS in that it is about two pals just having a good time and eventually doing some cool stunt work. One interesting thing that NINJA BUSTERS does is that takes two very accomplished martial artists (Sid Campbell & Eric Lee) and casts them as complete dorks who get their butts kicked not once, but twice in the first fifteen or so minutes of the movie. Campbell and Lee play buddies who have a gimmick they try to pull on tough guys where they pretend to be great karate masters (Campbell's character claims to have trained Bruce Lee) in hopes that their attackers will back off. Their gambit fails though and they end up bruised and battered until they find themselves drawn to an all-female martial arts class. They are only there because they think the girls are cute, but they end up getting pulled into the class. What follows is basically an extended training montage that lasts a good twenty minutes or so and we watch as our geeky leading fellas go from zeroes to heroes so to speak. I'm sure there have been other karate movies wherein the main guys start as complete buffoons and end up as badasses, but I hadn't seen it in a while so I found it pretty amusing. Plus, Campbell and Lee are jovial and charismatic guys (even if they aren't great actors) so that comes through from the get go. In addition to those two, NINJA BUSTERS also stars Gerald Okamura. Okamura is one of those "that guy" actors who has made countless appearances as martial arts related characters in tons of films. His bald and clean-shaven head and goatee will be familiar to you if you watched any significant amount of martial arts movies from the 1980s. I always remember him most from BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, but I've seen him in lots of films over the years. I kinda love it when a movie like this allows an actor like this who is typically limited to smaller, often non-speaking parts a shot at a bigger and better role. Here he plays sensei to Cambell and Lee and he gets in and mixes it up when the boys need backup against some gangsters they run into trouble with.
This movie was basically lost for close to thirty years and has been "found" by the good folks at GarageHouse Pictures in one of those lovely and serendipitous turns of events and thank goodness for that. The 35mm, Panavision FujiColor transfer looks pretty nice and bodes well for the future output of GarageHouse.

Special Features:
GarageHouse has done a nice job with this flagship Blu-ray and put together some solid supplements:
-an Introduction (which you can choose to play before the movie) from director Paul Kyriazi.
-a Feature-length Audio commentary with director Kyriazi.
-THE TOURNAMENT (49 mins) - this is Paul Kyriazi's first feature which was shot in black and white and is included here from Kyriazi's own personal tape master.
-Fan Testimonials (2 mins) some reactions from viewers who've just seen the film at the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, August of 2015.

This NINJA BUSTERS (all region) Blu-ray can be purchased right now from Diabolik DVD here:
http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Cult-Favorites/Ninja-Busters-(Garagehouse-Pictures)-(Blu~Ray-All-Region).html

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