After a break of about 6 months we are back to continue unmasking those taiwanese black movies that were bought by Joseph Lai & Tomas Tang. Movies that have got the attention of many fans of Asian cinema who are looking for something else beyond the usual big names and popular titles. Anyway, these taiwanese movies were, at sometime, very easy to find in video rental shops all around the world thanks to the distributing works of IFD & Filmark.
|Original Spanish VHS of Ninja 8 Warriors of fire.|
If I have to choose 4 ninja movies from movies among all the ones produced by Tomas Tang, Ninja 8: Warriors of fire would be one of them. In this early ninja film from Tomas Tang we can see he wanted to offer something good, he hired nice performers such as Jonathan Isgar for main roles, director Tommy Cheng Kei Ying and tried to offer decent storyline involving ninjas, a fotage that took almost the half of the movie. Later, as we know, they became lazy ( as it happened at IFD) and they thought that 10 minutes of backpackers playing ninjas were enough to cheat westerner viewers.
Watching carefully Ninja 8: Warriors of Fire we realize it was shot back to back, and by the same people, along Ninja Phantom, Ninja American Warrior and I could dare to say Death Code Ninja. It is interesting to note Ninja 8: Warriors of Fire & Ninja Phantom were directed by someone named Bruce Lambert while the other two were directed by Tommy Cheng...so, was Bruce Lambert a pseudonym for Tommy Cheng? Who knows? Another thing Donald Kong Do worked as stunt coordinator and supporting role in all of them...so Who is behind Bruce Lambert a name that was seen in another Filmark movies with Kong Do on it?
Ninja 8 Warriors of Fire was done using a taiwanese movie as main body. The chosen movie this time was a 1981 production directed by Wang Chun Kuang titled Queen Bee. Wang Chun Kuang directed some of the most popular & well-known gangster films in Taiwan. IFD bought some of his works and Mr Wang was always credited by IFD as Chester Wang. Please click here to check Wang Chun Kuang profile on HKMD.
Queen Bee tells the story of a woman of became a proffesional killer after her sister is murdered on his wedding day. She asks the help of a weird teacher who will teach her how take revenge & fight against even weirder enemies. Of course, in the Filmark version, our heroine will be trained to be a ninja but for the same reason of the original movie.
I was lucky enough to get a copy of the original Queen Bee on its original mandarin language. It is a pity it has no subtitles but it seems Filmark crew didn't changed too much the original dialogs. They kept many of the lines untouched just changing some lines only to match with the ninja fotage. So, as it happened in Fierce Lady ( the movie used in Ninja Knight Thunder fox), they just dubbed into English the original lines.
What it surprised me more of Queen Bee was its soundtrack. It hasn't a chinese score or music from Hollywood hits of its time but the main theme of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead composed and performed by italian group I Goblin. This same theme was used the same year Queen Bee was produced by Bruno Mattei on his crazy movie Hell of the living dead ( aka Zombie creeping flesh).There is no doubts I Goblin did a piece of music that could be used in any kind of movie.
In 2009, Joy Sales released a bunch of Taiwanese films on VCD in Hong Kong. There is another one titled Queen Bee but althought it is Taiwanese as well, it is not the one by Wang Chun Kuang used on Ninja 8: Warriors of Fire.
The pics displayed on this entry are not from Filmark Ninja 8 Warriors of Fire but from the original Taiwanese VHS of Queen Bee.