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sábado, 23 de junio de 2012

Taiwan Black Movies at IFD & Filmark (Part 10): Ninja Knight Thunder Fox uncovered!!!

I have a special feeling for Ninja Knight Thunder Fox for several reasons. When I first found it in my video rental shop I got in love with the Spanish art cover. When I rented it I got a love-hate relationship with the film itself since not too many ninjas appeared in the movie but Mike Abbott's charisma got my heart!...later in 2008, when I first contacted Mike Abbott, he told me this movie was his 3rd work for IFD & the first one he did after Richard Harrison left IFD &Hong Kong when they finished the back to back shooting of Hitman the Cobra & Ninja Operation 7: Royal Warriors ( aka Hands of death), the very last movie Richard Harrison did for Joseph Lai.

Spanish VHS cover. How could I resist to rent a film with such art cover??? I simply love it!!!

Ninja Knight Thunderfox was the first episode of a saga directed by several directors such Godfrey Ho, Philip Ko and some newcomers to Lai's factory. Ninja Knight saga had suffered several changes on their titles depending on the country and the only link between all the episodes was Mike Abbott who always played the main villain in the 4 movies included in the saga. Mike Abbott is to Ninja Knight movies what Shek Kin was to the old Wong Fei Hung movies starred Kwan Tak Hing.

Since his first role at IFD Mike Abbott always got the most importat place at IFD pressbook & art covers...His name was placed before the main good guy & his pics were also bigger!..

Ninja Knight ThunderFox was done using a taiwanese gangster movie from the middle 80's that still used the same ingredients of the "classic" Taiwan Black movies produced just few years back. We can tell the movie used to design Ninja Knight ThunderFox is a neo-.taiwan black movie or just call it a post-taiwan black movie done when the subgenre was over but keeping the atmosphere & topics from those productions.

 Mike Abbott, Marko Ritchie & Peter Cressall

If you got the chance to see Ninja Knight ThunderFox you will notice the original taiwanese movie is full of unscrupulous gangsters played by ugly actors who seems real gangsters!!!!, then we have regular actors who spent the previous years doing gangster movies, usually repeating their roles movie after movie. So, we find here familiar faces like Lu I Chan, Mike Tien Ming ( Tin Ming) or  Lee Miu Chan whose movies were released internationally by IFD &Filmark. 
 For years, I have been looking for this ultraviolent taiwanese movie but in vain, I didn't have a clue about the title, I just knew some names of the original actors but it was not too much help. Then in 1997, my good friend Domingo López, one of the few real experts on Asian Cinema in Spain, launched his seminal book Made in Hong Kong where he reviewed many IFD & Filmark movies.

IFD new Pressbook for Ninja Knight is cool, but I still prefer the original artwork by Eagle Leung used in the Spanish VHS cover.

On his review of Ninja Knight Thunderfox, Domingo suggested that the original taiwanese movie used by Ho & Lai may be a 1982 production directed by Hui Sing Yue titled The Red Rattlesnake. It was indeed a good hint since some of the taiwanese cast of Ninja Knight Thunderfox also appeared in this film. But it wasn't the one used by IFD.
Original Poster of The Red RattleSnake displayed on HKMDB.

But today, I have finally found the film used by IFD to design Ninja Knight ThunderFox. Checking both art covers, we see Domingo's suspects were clearly in the right direction since both movies shows a very similar girl with similar suits plus many of the same cast are in both movies...

Original Taiwanese art cover of the film used by IFD to design Ninja Knight Thunderfox. An English translation of the chinese title would be highly appreciated.

The only problems now is to translate the original chinese title into English or guess if this film got any international english title...ah, I forgot...another problem is to get a copy of it. I guessed which movie was used bought by Joseph Lai but the real challenge now is to get a copy of it & check if the original print also contains the same level of violence & sex as the ones showed in the re-edited version of IFD's Ninja Knight Thunderfox.

Special Thanks to Teddy Wong, editor of HKMDB for sharing the original taiwanese covers!

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