HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Tongan Ninja Surely The Next Bruce Lee
Year: 2002
Director: Jason Stutter
Stars: Sam Manu, Jemaine Clement, Linda Tseng, Laura Hill, Raybon Kan, David Fane, Victor Rodger, Peter Daube, Jed Brophy, Sean Allan, Aaron Cubis, Grant Clifford, Charles Lum, Charley Murphy Samau, Brett Ormsby, Marty Pine, Taika Waititi
Genre: Comedy, ActionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Once upon a time, there were two boys who were passengers in an aeroplane flown by one of the boys' father. As they flew over the Pacific, the other boy revealed himself to be evil and not content with kicking the back of the seat of his supposed friend, proceeded to cut the electronics cable of the aircraft, sending it plummeting towards the water. They washed up on an island, but the evil kid was not done: on crossing a river, after his pal was left safely on the far bank, he made sure to ask the father back to collect him just as a shoal of piranha were swimming by and they ate the man's legs, leaving him with only enough time to bestow on his son his special headband...

There were a few latterly well-known names connected to Tongan Ninja, which is who the good little boy grows up to be, the most famous being Jemaine Clement who made this just before Flight of the Concords made him a celebrity, not just in his native New Zealand but also across the world. Fans of that may be interested to know that not only did he co-star here as Action Fighter, the grown up version of the villainous moppet, but provided the voice of the hero as well as co-writing the songs that popped up occasionally, though not quite as frequently enough to classify this as a fully-fledged musical. In the main, it was a parody of the Bruce Lee classic Way of the Dragon.

Therefore after training with a sensei for a couple of decades, Tongan Ninja makes it to Wellington where he almost immediately gets mixed up in a gangster's plan to take over a local restaurant, you know, like Bruce had done. The difference here was that this took nothing seriously, creating a virtue out of the sheer poverty of the production which generated a good many laughs. If it resembled a home movie more or less throughout, it was one where you were in on the joke and could indulge yourself in the ridiculousness of the whole affair should you have tired of your diet of action flicks with a far higher budget than anything here so much as got a whiff of.

In his only film, the title character was played by Sam Manu, a doughy, amiable figure whose martial arts moves were, shall we say, adequate to what he had been asked to perform. He had a love interest in the owner of the aforementioned restaurant, Linda Tseng, but she too was dubbed - everyone here was, as it was so wanting for funds that they had been forced to shoot it without sound and put the voices on later. This had the fortuitous effect of rendering every scene as a parody of the dubbed Hong Kong movies anyone seeking this out would be familiar with, throwing in the redubbed TV versions of films into the spoof mix to boot whenever the villainous Mr Big opened his mouth to deliver his threats and orders, suddenly not as foul-mouthed as he might have been originally.

Tongan Ninja, despite the fights that regularly broke out, was relentlessly goodnatured in style, with many gags demonstrating how a lack of money can be the mother of invention as far as comedy on slender means went. Although director Jason Stutter would go on to be a fixture of the New Zealand movie scene with a number of credits across a variety of genres to his name, the personality most evident throughout this was Clement's - he co-wrote the script as well as treating us to his vocals for most of the running time. Every action cliché was mined for humour, not only the Hong Kong efforts but the Hollywood ones too, so we had anything from the car chase (our hero having to avoid potentially devastating obstacles such as, er, a pebble in the road) to the romantic interlude where the couple attend a garden centre as a Bee Gees cover plays on the soundtrack. There was a lot of charm in this, and if there was a make-do tone to the whole thing that was a major part of it.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1868 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: