More like Tales of a 5th-generation VHS copy
B-Movie Nightmares | Sparks, NV United States | 01/17/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not sure where the other reviewer got the idea that either movie has good picture quality. Both movies were obviously transferred from VHS prints, which is apparent from the video tracking lines and inferior image definition. I'm no stickler for perfect picture quality, heck, I even own a lot of the Brentwood DVD's that are also taken from VHS, but this is the worst DVD transfer I've seen since the unwatchable Flesh Feast with Veronica Lake.
As for the movies themselves, they're amusing and feature a lot of unintentional laughs. Ghost Ninja (aka "Diamond Ninja Force") is a blend of martial arts and the supernatural, as you would imagine. The fighting scenes are brief and not all that impressive, so this would probably appeal more to fans of Asian ghost stories and bad films.
The plot concerns a blond guy with a moustache that embodies the power of the "golden ninja warrior." When human bones are unearthed at a construction site, it reignites the ages-old feud between the "black ninja empire" and the golden ninja. The developer in charge of the construction is mysteriously killed, courtesy of the evil ninjas, and his daughter and son-in-law (and their young son Bobo) that live in the newly built house become the targets of the dark forces.
There's two plot lines here (I use the term "plot" generously). The blond good ninja guy dresses in a red ninja outfit and goes after the bad guys, killing them off one by one. And what to better camouflage your appearance, especially in broad daylight, than a red ninja outfit? The battles are over extremely quickly, in fact it's doubtful if most of these guys were ever really trained in martial arts. Another thing that I think is funny about lots of these ninja movies is how people are instantly killed by a small throwing star or dagger. Maybe we're supposed to assume the weapons were coated with poison, I'm not sure.
The other plot line in Ghost Ninja concerns the haunting of the house. We see the evil ninja drawing his sword, then something spooky happens like maggots gushing out of a faucet or cracking eggs gushing blood. Ghostly figures with white faces also appear, one of whom likes to watch the couple having sex (which they do quite often). Cheesy green lights add to the atmosphere.
As you've probably guessed, Ghost Ninja is full of bad-movie laughs. Adding to the fun is the unauthorized use of a Kraftwerk song on the soundtrack. The best part of the film is that when the blond ninja makes a phone call, he does it from a Garfield phone!! Yes, Garfield the cat. In fact, the first time he does this the camera zooms meaningfully in on Garfield at the end of the shot. Unfortunately, what would have been a fun movie experience is lessened by the distraction of the bad picture quality. Best line in the movie: "Listen...there are no ghosts. Only ghost ninjas!"
The transfer of the movie Primitives is so bad that it makes Ghost Ninja look good. Tons of tracking lines, in fact on two occasions the entire screen breaks up into a huge mass of moving lines. The overall picture is so blurry that you can't even make out faces half of the time. Adding to the annoyance is the presence of unremovable Indonesian subtitles that take up half the screen.
This Indonesian production is basically a ripoff of the Italian cannibal film genre. I noticed certain scenes were directly copied from Jungle Holocaust, Cannibal Holocaust, and Mountain of the Cannibal God. The story is the usual: a group of ethnologists goes deep into the jungle in search of a tribe of true "primitives." The natives all have those bad wigs on that they have in this type of movie, as well as the stock footage of animals (and animal deaths) that viewers have come to expect.
For the gorehounds reading this review, don't expect anything too extreme. The bloodiest scene is when the natives slaughter and eat a real crocodile. As a fan of the Italian films, I was amused to see so many of them ripped off shamelessly. Also, at the beginning of the movie, a version of the Kraftwerk song "The Robots" is used...was this some kind of a trend? Best line in Primitives comes from a character named Tom, commenting on the native women: "A good body's one thing...but when it comes to jumping into bed, I like to be the savage!"
The situation with Primitives is like that of Ghost Ninja, but worse. What would have otherwise been an enjoyable bad movie is ruined by the absolute garbage transfer to DVD. There's definitely a market for movies like this to be released to DVD, but why bother unless you're going to transfer from the original film print? Heck, just find somebody who has original VHS tape of the movie and go from there--these seriously look like copies off a fifth-generation VHS that was left too close to the heater."