Jade Dagger Ninja (Review)
Jade Dagger Ninja
aka Han shan fei hu
Directed by Li Chao-Yung
There are no ninjas here. Jade Dagger Ninja suffers from being brought over to America in the middle of the ninja craze. The dubbing is comedic, with cartoon effects as characters go flying or go to the bathroom (yes that happens.) Some of the lines are laugh out loud hilarious, but I am certain some of them aren’t the actual lines unless Taiwanese cinema has taken to including English puns in their Chinese dialogue.
Jade Dagger Ninja is known by many names: Han shan fei hu, Jade Dagger, Forest Duel, Shaolin Fox Conspiracy, and the Wu-Tang Clan “Liquid Sword Collection” VHS Title Celestial Souljas.
The plot is pretty ludicrous, and most of it isn’t explained until the end (and then only if you were paying attention) so most of the time you will have no idea what is going on. The basic story is everyone wants the Purple Jade Badger, because it has an elixir that will make your kung fu super powerful. There is also a battle brewing between Sunset Villa and the Heartbreak Red gang. Throw into all that an upcoming wedding and Liu Hsiao-Feng arriving hoping the events will draw out the killer of his wife and you have a film with plots so deep you need a flowchart. Everyone has multiple names, which only makes it even more confusing. So you get our best guess from watching the film twice.
Master Cold Heart kills a bunch of dudes with his flute! I have never seen a guy stabbed by a flute before. The American Pie bandcamp girl ain’t go nothing on him! Okay, maybe she does. Then he kills some blonde Chinese guys, and after each kill he throws down a pin with a pink symbol on it. No one mentions the pin at all despite it being a major plot point explaining who he is!
The Jade Dagger Ninja theme plays during the opening credits. It is a traditional Chinese song so we don’t get a fun mp3. How sad.
Credits, schmedits, someone is called “Heartbreak Warrior” and told he will die for this by Aurora Liu, and swordfighting begins! He can’t kill her because of orders, but he will rape her instead. Until he is interrupted by a guy who was walking in the opening credits, Liu Hsiao-Feng. They fight a bit, but when the Heartbreak Warrior’s boomerang doubleblade misses he jumps off away. Liu Hsiao-Feng calls the Heartbreak Warrior the Whirlwind Warrior, so does he have two names?
Liu Hsiao-Feng is coming to represent Chief Ho at the forthcoming wedding between Aurora Liu and Hao Yu Long, but Yu Long jumps out to attack Liu Hsiao-Feng, because he is suspicious. Some more fighting for a bit before Aurora breaks them up. At the palace at Sunset Villa, Aurora’s father Liu Tin Chi is being harassed by Mr. Chow because the Heartbreak Warrior might disrupt the wedding.
Liu Hsiao-Feng says he’ll get a room in the city, then the family discusses how to find out who hired the Heartbreak Killer. The lovers quarrel over if Liu Hsiao-Feng is behind anything. Liu Hsiao-Feng remembers his wife being murdered, then drinks, until he is interrupted by Aurora Liu. He says he came to take something away, but won’t tell what it is. He also asks about a Purple Jade Badger, but she is evasive.
Back at the house, Aurora’s Australian-accented-dubbed handmaidens gossip about her. Liu Hsiao-Feng comes to be more open, and says he came there to find the man who murdered his wife, he has been looking for three years. Aurora tells him the Purple Jade Badger has a magic elixir that will make you powerful in kung fu. Yu Long storms in and attacks Liu Hsiao-Feng for a bit, until Liu Tin Chi stops him.
Yu Long tells Liu Tin Chi he found out that Chief Ho has been dead for months, which means Liu Hsiao-Feng is an impostor. Liu Tin Chi brings the purple jade badger out of storage, and Mr. Chow acts very interested in it. That night, Liu Hsiao-Feng is attacked by the four companions of Mr. Chow, who are called the Four Kings. Liu Hsiao-Feng beats the crap out of a Monk and gets in some nice Buddha digs. The second guys says “The Fierce Tiger closes in to kill” to which Liu Hsiao-Feng retorts “The Fierce Tiger turns out to be made of paper!” and beats him. The third guy starts calling him a fish for some reason before he is beaten. The fourth guy is the brains, and he also goes down in defeat. Liu Hsiao-Feng taunts them with “You’re the famous Four Kings, are you? Well, you’re no four king good!”
The four were sent by Mr. Chow to test Liu Hsiao-Feng’s skill, and he offers to join forces to get the Purple Jade Badger. Liu Hsiao-Feng demands 100,000 tales of gold, to which Mr. Chow reluctantly agrees. Mr. Chow says he awaits Lu Sha-Feng’s answer, then immediately leaves. No matter, as Shining Death speaks from the forest, he is the guy Liu Hsiao-Feng has been looking for for three years and is also known as Shen Liu Hen. Shen Liu Hen launches a trap of a bunch of spears, but all miss.
We get sidetracked when a masked female appears and starts putting the moves on an uninterested Liu Hsiao-Feng. She wants him to bone her right then and there on the road, but he refuses, and she attacks. He cuts off her mask to find out she is Sai Chu-Chu, he insults her, and then they fight some more. He nicks her on the arm, and she runs off vowing she will get even with him.
Mr. Chow hired Father Au’s servant to steal the Purple Jade Badger, then kills him when he does so. The flute guy shows up and tells Mr. Chow the Jade Badger he has is fake. He is right, and Mr. Chow is mad. His men attack, but Flute Guy kills the four of them, then kills Mr. Chow. He drops a pin and leaves. Thank you, Flute Guy, for thinning out the cast!
Liu Hsiao-Feng finds the Purple Jade Badger in his room along with a pin, but right then Hao Yu Long arrives and claims they caught him red handed. Liu Hsiao-Feng won’t admit he stole it, and they ignore the pin evidence that is obviously there as a message, so Yu Long and his men fight Liu Hsiao-Feng. A masked girl flies in and helps Liu Hsiao-Feng escape. We all know who she is…Aurora Liu. Her and Liu Hsiao-Feng talk for a few seconds, but soon Yu Long arrives and sees Liu Hsiao-Feng, and they fight once again. All these two do is fight each other.
Some confusing stuff happens and the Purple Jade Badger is stolen, and soon Yu Long is now the new object of obsession of Sai Chu-Chu. She declares they are now engaged and demands some premarital sex. He calls he a slut and will kill her for being a slut.
After a bit of fighting she poisons him , but it isn’t clear if he is dead or not.
The Heartbreak Warrior arrives to menace Aurora, he tries to take her to rapetown, but Liu Hsiao-Feng arrives to save her again. Aurora should just never leave Liu Hsiao-Feng since she gets attacked every two seconds.
The Heartbreak Red Gang has some evil plans, and there is some group called the Six Doors who never are mentioned again. This complicated plot stuff is barely touched on, so it is confusing. The Heartbreak Warrior is killed, but the Flute Guy stole Aurora and the Purple Jade Badger (which I think was already stolen, but now it is stolen again because that’s what happens)
Let’s go to the graveyard! The Flute Guy has Aurora, and rambles on about how he is heartless because a girl broke his heart. How could he be so heartless? How could he be so Dr. Evil? Master Cold Heart is what Liu Hsiao-Feng calls him. They fight flute vs sword, but then some random guy named Sek Tik shows up saying ghosts are there, and Liu Hsiao-Feng is attacked by dudes dressed as skeletons and as native tribespeople. Set Tik and Sai Chu-Chu are working together in charge of the “ghost” people.
Flute Guy then delivers Aurora to Sek Tik and Sai Chu-Chu at some house, because Madam Sheng wants her. But Flute Guy will only give the Purple Jade Badger to Madam Sheng because he is in love with her. Madam Sheng arrives. She seems nice…until she poisons Flute Guy! One time, in band camp, he died.
Madam Sheng wants Hsiao-Feng captured alive. Luckily, he comes into the restaurant that night, and gets waited on by Sek Tik and Sai Chu-Chu (Sai Chu-Chu is using the trope of disguised as a boy, which has never been convincing in the history of Chinese film) and doesn’t seem to recognize them. He eats the dumplings and is poisoned. Sai Chu-Chu then poisons Sek Tik, because Madam Sheng told her to. Hsiao-Feng then wakes up, he was faking being poisoned and says he is the Flying Fox. Sai Chu-Chu is captured, tied up, and Hsiao-Feng starts to take her to Sunset Villa, the enemies of the Heartbreak Red Gang. Sai Chu-Chu later escapes while pretending to go to the bathroom, something the dubbers have fun with.
Aurora meets Madam Sheng at the Heartbreak Red Palace, and then Sai Chu-Chu arrives with Liu Hsiao-Feng having followed her. During the confrontation, Yu Long turns out to be bad also! We get a three-way fight, Yu Long vs Hsiao-Feng vs Sai Chu-Chu. Madam Sheng’s crazy flying hat also is involved in the ruckus. Madam Sheng reveals that she was dumped by Aurora’s father Liu Tin Chi, and that is why she is evil. Her plan for revenge is having Aurora watch Yu Long marry Sai Chu-Chu. The only problem is Yu Long doesn’t want to marry her.
The wifekiller Shen Liu Hen arrives for the purple jade badger, but it is fake. We learn that Shen Liu Hen also taught Madam Sheng her kung fu. Some more battles happen. Eventually, Sai Chu-Chu is facing off against Liu Hsiao-Feng. Sai Chu-Chu was raised by Madam Sheng after her parents died, and won’t leave her even if it will mean not dating Hsiao-Feng. He says he would date her a bit, even have a tumble or two (wha?!?), but he will not marry her while she is still with Sheng. They get back to fighting, with lots of cool flying around. She stabs herself with his sword so she won’t lose him. Yeah. She dies in his arms.
Liu Tin Chi meets with Madam Sheng and calls her Sunbeam, but she refuses that nickname. Liu Tin Chi says he was injured and saved by village chief, then the chief’s daugther was dying, and he requested him to marry her. He couldn’t refuse because he saved his life. The Purple Jade Badger is in tomb of his dead wife, preserving her beauty. This causes the former couple to fight.
During the battle, wifekiller Shen Liu Hen and some of his men sneak in and take the Purple Jade Badger. Liu Tin Chikills self to save his daugther. Shen Liu Hen’s men kill Madam Sheng, but Hsiao-Feng arrives. While Hsiao-Feng is busy fighting Shen Liu Hen’s men, Shen Liu Hen drinks from the Purple Jade Badger.
Shen Liu Hen becomes the Incredible Hulk! Luckily, some random guys showed up for him to kill first. Then Incredible Hulk fights Hsiao-Feng as Yu Long arrives. It is Yu Long’s turn to fight, Yu Long is getting beat while Hsiao-Feng just waits. When Yu Long is knocked over, Hsiao-Feng strikes and kills the Incredible Hulk with two stabs. Hsiao-Feng then tells Aurora and Yu Long he hopes they are happy together and walks away.
The end. Yep, another instantly ending kung fu film!
Rated 8/10 (MacGuffin pins, Hat man, naughty guest, sneaky dude, Princess Leia from Australia, Skull time, The shame of having no purple jade badgers, Hulk-amania!)
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