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.
Liu Hsiao-Feng (Tien Peng) – The Flying Fox has been searching for his wife’s killer for three years. This leads him to get involved in the marriage of Aurora Liu and a battle between Sunset Villa and the Heartbreak Red gang. A pun master.
Aurora Liu (Doris Lung Chun-Erh) – Aurora is called the Sunset Fairy. Aurora Liu spends the entire film getting attacked by all sorts of evil people and getting rescued from every one of these evil people by Liu Hsiao-Feng, who she isn’t even engaged to.
Hao Yu Long (Tin Hok) – engaged to Aurora Liu and a big jerk. Spends most of the film fighting with Liu Hsiao-Feng even though Liu Hsiao-Feng has saved his fiancée like 2000 times. Then he turns out to be evil.
Sai Chu-Chu (Chin Meng) – A woman with an enormous libido and very extreme sexuality. Directly asks men she just met if they want to have sex. For some reason everyone calls her ugly, despite the fact she is the best looking cast member. Was raised by Madam Sheng after her parents were killed.
Governor Liu Tin Chi (Wang Hsieh) – Father of Aurora Liu, was engaged to Madam Sheng but left her to marry the dying daughter of a medic who saved his life. Keeper of the Purple Jade Badger. Is the Governor of Sunset Villa, which is the traditional enemy of the Heartbreak Red Gang.
Madam Sheng (Gua Ah-Leh) – The bitter ex-lover of Liu Tin Chi is now the evil head of the Heartbreak Red gang. Yes, it is an outlaw gang of people whose hearts have been broken. This is what happened in a world before LiveJournal and MySpace let you write bad poetry online.
Shen Liu Hen (Shut Chung-Tin) – Killer of Liu Hsiao-Feng’s wife three years ago, and has been pursued by Liu Hsiao-Feng ever sense. Was injured and lost his kung fu powers, but the Purple Jade Badger would restore him to a kung fu master. He is also known as Shining Death.
Heartbreak Warrior (Yun Zhong-Yue) – Also known as the Whirlwind Warrior and as Wai Yu-lin. This guy has too many names. A big fan of rape.
Master Cold Heart (Chung Wa) – Flute Guy! Flute Guy kills people with his flute. He also leaves a flower pin behind as his trademark in some sort of plot device that never got dealt with in the film as he dies halfway through. Where is Master Cold Stone Creamery?
The Incredible Hulk (Shut Chung-Tin) – HULK SMASH!! Shen Liu Hen drinks of the purple jade badger and transformers into the great green menace. Now we know what was in the purple jade badger – gamma radiation!
1978 Directed by Juang Lung (as Huang Lung)
Written by Tsai Yung
Deadly Strike is a pretty good kung fu film. It follows a pretty average plot, but takes it and runs with it, making the entire film be a whole lot of fun. There is rarely a dull moment, and they only occur when setting up the next cool fight sequence. The basic plot involves a new sheriff taking on a gang of bandits, recruiting some prisoners to help him as the bandit thugs get tougher and tougher. It all plays out like a video game, and Bruce Li does a good new Sheriff who is eager to kick some bandit butt and save the people. And many people die. The plot sounds familiar, and the style is similar to films about the Old West. I am sure there are probably research appears on how old film Westerns influence films from all over the globe, but I am hardly an expert in the matter enough to give more than an outline. Taking basic stories and transplanting them to new settings is not a new event, and it continues to happen to this day in multiple directions.
The plot of the film necessitates that there is a great number of actors and memorable bit parts, so we will have one of the rather large Roll Calls that stretch throughout the film review. We have tried to identify many of the actors, but there is scant information and many are either best guesses or left blank for later. Some of the faces are familiar to fans of the 1970s kung fu film genre, so it is only a matter of time before everyone is properly credited. So we will start out with our main characters:
Captain Chen (Bruce Li) – Chen as his name is a guess based on what one guy said quickly that could be misunderstood as some other name. So we will call him Captain, as that is what everyone else does. Put a little captain in you? This guy is the best fighter in China, it seems, and the only hope to save the village from the bandits. Bruce Li previous fought on TarsTarkas.NET in New Guinea, so he is used to exotic locales.
Wu Tung (Tsang Chiu) – The lazy assistant to Captain, he soon grows into a good fighter and loyal companion, but he dies. That always happens. Stupid dyers, stop dying!
The Cook (Chiang Han) – The Cook has a black scar/mole/something that makes him stand out, but still ends up dead. That is what happens when you run off in the middle of a long quest!
Chow Quay Ah (Choi Wang) – Chow Quay Ah killed three men, but a flashback shows they were three men who killed two women. Chow Quay Ah was just enraged at how horrible of people they were. Has a son and a mother, but his wife has passed on. Choi Wang has been in dozens of films but hasn’t appeared on TarsTarkas.NET before.
Ni Gi (Lung Fei) – One eye – A knife expert who killed a corrupt magistrate for being corrupt. Makes sense. Doesn’t like to kill people who don’t deserve it. Lung Fei might show up again if I ever get around to watching my copy of Bruce Lee Against Supermen.
Wang Chow (Su Chen-Ping) – Wang Chow was arrested for stealing a magistrate’s mistress – he is hilarious! Does several gags throughout the film. Not the best fighter, but does what he can do to help. Su Chen-Ping has also been in a bunch of films, including Way Ching Killed the Dragon which I must track down.
Wei Gun (Li Min-Lang) – Wei Gun had three wifes, beat them all and one died. Whip user. Takes a shine to Yi Lin because that is the kind of guy he is. Ends up dead before the rest due to it. Li Min-Lang is somewhere in Island Warriors.
Yi Lin (Chu Lai) – The girl who is out for revenge for reasons not explained well. She will use her body to destroy the enemy. No, not by STDs, you pervs! Chu Lai was only in a few films.
Thug leader Fan Ta Hu (Sing Chen) – The deadliest villain of them all, Fan Ta Hu controls a vast network of bandits that raid villages at will, cause all sorts of problems, and have the local police too scared to fight them. Fan Ta Hu fights cobras to keep himself fast, and spends his fights high on drugs so he will feel not pain. Will soon learn you can’t mess with the Captain! See Sing Chen here in Bruce Li in New Guinea and Lady Iron Monkey.