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Five Element Ninjas (1982) (DVD) (Thailand Version) DVD Region 3

Chan Wai Man (Actor) | Chen Tien Tze (Actor) | Long Tian Xiang (Actor) | Law Mong (Actor)
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Customer Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10 (1)
All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (2)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Everyone loves ninjas, even Chang Cheh. Although he will always be best remembered for his wuxia pian masterpieces like One-Armed Swordsman and Golden Swallow, in 1982 Chang gave the world one of its most beloved camp classics of ninja madness, Five Element Ninjas. Known in the West as Chinese Super Ninjas, this ludicrous, miles-over-the-top display of impossible ninjitsu "skills" turned a generation of fans onto nunchaku and shuriken years before those upstart Ninja Turtles arrived on the scene. The movie was heavily edited for its many Saturday afternoon television screenings in America; this new release presents a restored version of the original uncut film, complete with all the limb-ripping, entrail-spilling action and flashes of female nudity that make Five Element Ninjas a guilty-pleasure treasure.

A bitter rivalry between two Chinese martial arts schools comes to a head when one side hires a Japanese samurai to challenge the other. The samurai loses the ensuing duel, however, and commits seppuku in disgrace, which brings down the wrath of the Five Element Ninjas on the samurai's opponents. Underwater ninjas, smokescreen ninjas, subterranean ninjas, golden ninjas, and even wood ninjas disguised as trees are soon unleashed on a crazy rampage against the school's students. Eventually the lone survivor from the massacre (Ricky Cheng) meets a mysterious old man who trains him in the secret arts of ninjitsu. Armed with his newfound skills, Ricky and his fellow ninjas-in-training set out to beat the Five Element Ninjas at their own game.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Five Element Ninjas (1982) (DVD) (Thailand Version) 五遁忍術 (1982) (DVD) (泰國版) 五遁忍术 (1982) (DVD) (泰国版) Five Element Ninjas (1982) (DVD) (Thailand Version) Five Element Ninjas (1982) (DVD) (Thailand Version)
Also known as: Chinese Super Ninjas Chinese Super Ninjas Chinese Super Ninjas Chinese Super Ninjas Chinese Super Ninjas
Artist Name(s): Chan Wai Man (Actor) | Chen Tien Tze (Actor) | Long Tian Xiang (Actor) | Law Mong (Actor) | Wang Li (Actor) | Zhu Ke (Actor) 陳惠敏 (Actor) | 程天賜 (Actor) | 龍天翔 (Actor) | 羅莽 (Actor) | 王力 (Actor) | 朱客 (Actor) 陈惠敏 (Actor) | 程天赐 (Actor) | 龙天翔 (Actor) | 罗莽 (Actor) | 王力 (Actor) | 朱客 (Actor) 陳惠敏(チャン・ワイマン) (Actor) | 程天賜(チョン・ティエンシー) (Actor) | Long Tian Xiang (Actor) | 羅莽(ロー・モン) (Actor) | Wang Li (Actor) | Zhu Ke (Actor) Chan Wai Man (Actor) | Chen Tien Tze (Actor) | Long Tian Xiang (Actor) | Law Mong (Actor) | Wang Li (Actor) | Zhu Ke (Actor)
Director: Chang Cheh 張徹 张彻 張徹(チャン・ツェー) Chang Cheh
Release Date: 2013-02-07
Language: Mandarin, Thai
Subtitles: English, Thai
Country of Origin: Hong Kong
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Widescreen Anamorphic: Yes
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1032369707

Product Information

Director: Chang Cheh

Two schools' rivalry comes to a bloody end when the master of the "evil" school (Chen Hei Psi) hires a group of deadly ninjas (led by Michael Chan) to kill the members of the other. The last survivor (Ricky Cheng) travels to find an old sifu who can teach him the art of Ninjitsu. Armed with his new knowledge and some new allies, Cheng heads back to take his revenge.

As you can tell by the synopsis, Five Element Ninjas has the usual kung fu revenge plot. And since this film was done towards the end of old-school kung fu's life cycle, it doesn't appear to have much of a budget at all -- the outdoor sets look laughably bad, and some of the costumes look like they were put together by a blind old lady with arthritis. The pacing is a bit poor, the editing could have used some work, and some of the "special effects" (mostly running the camera backwards) aren't very special at all.

However, if you're willing to forgive some shortcomings, Five Element Ninjas offers up heaps of old-school goodness through some very bloody (for its' time) action. Though things are a bit tame by today's standards, there are some choice tidbits, including Lo Meng continuing to fight even with his intestines hanging down his pant leg, and a ninja getting pulled apart limb-by-limb. The fight co-ordination is also very solid, making for some energetic and exciting fight scenes, especially when compared to more modern films, which tend to depend too much on camera tricks and special effects rather than talent.

Some props must also be given out to some of the actors involved. Ricky Cheng, Lo Meng and Michael Chan all do a great job of bringing dimensionality to their under-written characters, and the supporting cast (especially Yu Tai Pei as a mysterious woman who the "good" clan befriends) helps things along as well. Overall, Five Element Ninjas is a solid old-school movie that might just bring in a few new fans to the genre because of the over-the-top nature of the film's violence.
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Other Versions of "Five Element Ninjas (1982) (DVD) (Thailand Version)"

YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Five Element Ninjas (1982) (DVD) (Thailand Version)"

November 5, 2007

This professional review refers to Five Element Ninjas (1982) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
By the 1980s, having already filmed almost every martial arts story imaginable and facing increasing competition from other studios such as Golden Harvest, the Shaw Brothers were getting a little desperate. The continuing search for innovation took their productions in some pretty outlandish directions, resulting in a number of frankly crazy kung fu films which revolved around bizarre gimmicks and whose plots seemed to be inspired not so much as by classic Chinese history or literature as by mind altering drugs. One film which has long stood out from the pack is Five Element Ninjas directed by studio favourite Chang Cheh, who gave fans such masterpieces as One-Armed Swordsman and Five Venoms. The film has been previously available in a variety of other releases under a plethora of other names, including Chinese Super Ninjas as it was usually known in the West, though these tended to be badly dubbed, featured poor picture quality, and most importantly, were shorn of the gory violence which goes some way to marking it such a classic of its kind. Now finally available uncut, ninja fans can at last experience the colourful madness as it was originally intended, fast, furious and bloody.

To be honest, the plot is relatively unimportant, though for the record it begins with two rival martial arts schools engaging in a contest, which the obviously evil one attempts to win with the aid of a Japanese samurai. Although the good guys triumph, their joy is short lived as the defeated samurai's friend shows up with his feared "five element" ninja formation, boasting skills relating to gold, wood, water, fire and earth. After the inevitable massacre, the lone survivor (played by later studio star Cheng Tien Chi, who also worked with Chang on Ode to Gallantry and other films) finds an old kung fu master in the nearby woods who agrees to train him in the art of ninjitsu and furnishes him with a new set of friends, all eager to help him take revenge.

Forget all other ninja films - Five Element Ninjas is the one. Indeed, it has pretty much everything that discerning fans could ever want, with colourful and wacky costumes, such as the gold ninjas, wrapped up in glittery tinfoil and the wood ninjas who come disguised as trees, and a veritable catalogue of ninja techniques and tricks. The film shares its time equally between the ninjas and the amusing righteous good guys, and is a delightful showcase of outlandish powers and surreal magical abilities. Basically a series of fight scenes connected by a few bursts of noble dialogue and a touch of espionage, the film packs in an impressive amount of action, most of which is creatively choreographed and acrobatic. Director Chang seems to have really cut loose, and the film is far more dynamic and energetic than most other Shaw Brother productions, never slowing down from the opening contest through to the final epic duel.

The film in its uncut form certainly is a bloody affair, as the ninjas attack with all manner of nasty looking weapons, including claws and spikes that are horribly handy for eviscerations and the tearing out of throats. Things actually get more violent as the film progresses, with plenty of limb tearing dismemberments and spurting blood geysers towards the end which are all the more impressive for the cheerful fashion in which they are carried out. Actually, it's a little hard not to feel sorry for the poor ninjas, as through the course of the film they are effectively transformed from mysterious, seemingly invulnerable warrior assassins to mere meat for the grinder, though of course this is all part of the fun.

Needless to say, the film is relentlessly macho, even by Chang's standards, with lots of brotherly dialogue and stoicism, as well as a strange line in suicides, as a fair number of characters decide to off themselves in the face of defeat, possibly a weird attempt at giving the proceedings an authentically Japanese feel through featuring seppuku scenes. The only female character is an incompetent ninja spy who gets a pretty rough ride of things and who has a habit of stripping down to a see-through body stocking which is certainly fetching, though it probably isn't too practical when it comes to martial arts, offering very little in the way of support or protection.

This touch of casual nudity only adds to what is already a hugely fun and enjoyable experience and it's safe to say that Five Element Ninjas truly deserves its cult reputation. An inventive kung fu masterpiece, whilst difficult to be taken seriously, the film is certainly one of Chang's best latter efforts and offers an incredible amount of high energy bloody action, marking it firmly as nothing less than essential viewing.

by James Mudge - BeyondHollywood.com

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Five Element Ninjas (1982) (DVD) (Thailand Version)"

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10 (1)
Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (2)

Christian Franke
See all my reviews


December 4, 2013

subtitle-warning for the new Thai-Releases Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6 out of 10
I own two Shaw-Brothers-DVDs from the same studio and both are WITHOUT english subtitles, inconsistent with the declaration on the DVD-Cover and the Yesasia product description! I don't own this DVD from "Five Element Ninjas", but I suspect that it's without english subs as well.

Previous Thai-Releases from "United" have all english subs like the IVL's, but the new releases from the Studios "Peaks Makers" and "L. H. Movie Fusion" don't have it, but for all that they always declare it wrongly on the backcover...

If you are not dependent on english subs, so I can recommend this Thai-Release, because the anamorphic progressive transfer like the US-DVD from Dragon Dynasty.
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Monkey King
See all my reviews


October 30, 2007

This customer review refers to Five Element Ninjas (1982) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
FIVE ELEMENT NINJAS Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
This is the classic of classics, everyone should have this one in their collection. The fights are top notch, acting very good, story line perfect, this is one of Chang Cheh, best works, this is one of his last films for ShawBrothers, and it a very good one. If u want to see an old school kungfu flix, this one should not be miss. SO put down the bootleg one and pick up the real deal.
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