• Mafia Vs. Ninja (Crash Cinema) DVD Review



    Released by: Crash Cinema
    Released on: February 22nd, 2005.
    Director: Robert Tai
    Cast: Silvio Azzolini, Wang Hsia, Charlema Hsu, Alexander Lou, Eugene Trammel
    Year: 1985
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    Mafia Vs. Ninja – Movie Review:

    When a traveling man named Jack Doe (Alexander Lo Rei of Ninja: The Final Duel) meets up with an assailant named Charlie Wu who mistakes him for a rapist, the two quickly let bygones be bygones and off they go to room together and take jobs at the local sewage plant. Eventually the pair end up working for a kindhearted Chinese mob boss who takes quite a liking to Jack once he saves his life from an exploding fruit basket.

    Unfortunately for the kindly old Godfather, not all of his employees are as jovial as Jack and his pal Charlie. Some of his underlings don't think that they're being treated well enough, and they want more money. Rather than talk it over man to man, they instead turn tail and start working for the dastardly Japanese mobsters who are bent on taking over the crime business in Shanghai.

    When the Japanese thugs fail in their attempts to take down the Chinese mafia because of Jack's formidable martial arts skills, the Japanese mob boss puts out the word that he needs the best of the best, and soon he's recruited himself a small army consisting of a of the lands top fighters – a fat guy with a sword and a Hitler moustache, a jive talking black guy who is way taller than everyone else in the movie (Eugene Thomas who played the Shaolin Ghetto Freak character in Ninja: The Final Duel), and a knife thrower who looks like a young Rod Stewart who answers to the unusual moniker of Meemo.

    These deadly assassins succeed in killing off the Chinese mafia boss, and Jack and Charlie of course swear to avenge his death. One by one, they square off against the Japanese assassins and a whole lot of ninjas who appear out of nowhere by the multitudes. Meanwhile, Jack is trying to keep his love life straight, when it turns out that the woman he loves (who he had earlier saved when she was almost squashed by a random falling telephone pole!) is of Japanese descent. She makes the point of telling him that the next time they meet, it will probably be as enemies.

    Mafia Vs. Ninja starts off with a bang, slows down in the middle part, and then gets right back up to speed for the last half hour, where everything explodes into an orgy of bad wirework, fake looking dummies, bad gore effects, and flying ninjas. When you finally make it to the last fight scene, in which Jack takes on a somewhat familiar looking ninja in a purple jumpsuit, your brain may very well be bleeding internally from all of the nonstop ninja action. Ninjas tunnel around underground (you can tell by the little plots of grass that zip across the lawn!) only to pop up, kick someone in the head, then disappear into thin air. While the familiar sounds of the Battlestar Galactica theme swell up in the background, Jack proves he's tough enough to get the job done and avenge his master’s death.

    This is a seriously goofy film. While some of the fight scenes are impressive, Alexander Lo Rei's mullet makes him laughable every time he's on screen (which is most of the movie) and the ninjas themselves, starring at you from the circular eye holes that their mothers probably cut out of their masks for them, don't fare any better. So while it's damn near impossible to take the film seriously, it is a lot of fun if you're easily amused by unbelievably bad films. Like many of Robert Tai's other ninja movies, it is certainly creative, but it's not a well-made movie by any stretch. Watch it for a laugh, and have a good time with it - just don't expect Citizen Kane or even The Five Deadly Venoms.

    Mafia Vs. Ninja – DVD Review:

    Mafia Vs. Ninja is presented in a rough but watchable fullframe (pan and scan) presentation that is obviously cropped if the opening credits are anything to go by. The colors are faded and a little washed out and there's some print damage present throughout, but you won't have any real difficulty watching the movie or figuring out what is going on. There aren't any edge enhancement or mpeg compression problems that I noticed – the film doesn't look so hot because of the elements used for the transfer, not because of the transfer itself. If you've seen Ninja: The Final Duel (and if you haven't, you should) you'll know what to expect.

    The film is presented in a really goofy English dub in Dolby Digital Mono. There's some hiss throughout and the odd jump in the audio here and there, but like the video, it'll do. For an old martial arts film made on a shoestring budget and not stored under the best of conditions, it sounds okay – not great, but okay for what it is. The levels are all over the place during the fight scenes and some of the sound effects are a little louder than they should be, but that's par for the course with this type of material.

    The only extra features on this DVD are a small still gallery consisting of screenshots from the film, and a 'jump to the fight' option that lets you go straight to the scrap scenes in the same way that chapter selection does.

    Mafia Vs. Ninja - The Final Word:

    While Mafia Vs. Ninja takes a little while to really pick up steam, the last half hour more than makes up for it with gleefully insane ninja action. This is hardly a good film in the typical sense of the word, but under the right circumstances (mildly intoxicated, for example), it sure is a fun one despite the mediocre presentation. Recommended for B-movie/martial arts fans!