Torment of the “Top 10”


I was asked by the film review site SoReelFlix last month to contribute a Top 10 ninja films list.

After a month of notes I had about 30 bare essential films and realized an outright Top 10 wasn’t going to happen — I felt like a parent pushing kids out of a lifeboat or something…

But, what I was able to do was break the massive world- and decade-spanning genre down to 10 general categories of film experience, based on how they are enjoyed by the public, and pick an ideal ambassador of each. I feel in most cases they’re the best, or at least ideal entry points, into facets of ninja movies of which a lot of potential fans might not be totally aware.

I skipped outright kids’ movies (especially of the turtle variety) and soft porn (tastes and ‘needs’ of the audience vary too widely there!), but otherwise I think this is a pretty decent Top 10.


10 Essential Ninja Movies from 10 Different Categories

Thanks to James from SoReelFlix.

9 Responses

  1. Dwyer Mc Kerr

    Castle of Owls is practically impossible to find this side of the Atlantic, have you any advice on where to source this movie?

  2. Scott

    With all due respect, this is a terrible “Top” list. Putting worthless trash like those cut-and-paste HK flicks, alongside genuine films like Shinobi no Mono, Revenge of the Ninja, and Ninja Scroll is ridiculous. #fail on this list.

  3. Keith Rainville

    With all due respect in return, read before you troll, Scott. This list doesn’t put anything alongisde anything else at all. Instead it specifically **segregates** them. Each category could have a top ten onto itself. The idea was something for everyone, and those HK abortions actually have a considerable cult fan base. So if you want a so-bad-its-good experience, there’s entry points on the list. One doesn’t review caviar and ball-park hot dogs on the same scale, but each has their own merit and purpose.

  4. Scott

    Normally I wouldn’t even bother to respond to someone suggesting that I’m a troll or too daft to comprehend something, but since neither of these are true, I guess I will.

    Just to be clear, I had no problem comprehending the concept of your top of each “category” list. And if you had actually listed 10 good Top 10 worthy films from 10 different categories, I wouldn’t have posted a comment, even if I thought some better ones were omitted. I also might not and could not have posted a comment if you hadn’t asked for “Thoughts???” on your post, and hadn’t had a comment section for said thoughts to be posted (or trolled as you put it). Be careful what you ask for.

    Anyway, your analogy of caviar and ball-park hot dogs might be appropriate when referring to “Ninja: The Final Duel”, since like some ball-park hot dogs that crappy film also causes indigestion, but it’s not a valid comparison to those so-bad-they’re-embarrassing HK cut-and-paste “films” (and I use that term very loosely), since those are more akin to the diarrhea or vomit produced when trying to digest them or a mixture of foods that don’t gel.

    And the fact that there’s a cult of people like yourself who enjoy these “films” (mostly to goof on them), doesn’t mean they’re good in any way. There are plenty of people who get their jollies off by watching bad films of all kinds in order to goof on them, play drinking games, and just generally make fun of how bad they are. That doesn’t make them “good films” and it sure as hell doesn’t qualify them as being Top 10 list worthy.

    Simply stated, the reason your list is ridiculous is because it includes some of the top/best-of-the-best ninja films alongside, along with, on the same list, or whatever way you want to put it, with not only some of the bottom-of-the-barrel/worst-of-the-worst, but also with THE absolute unquestionable worst-of-the worst. Segregating them into different categories doesn’t change the fact that you’re endorsing them as being the top/best ninja films, which they most definitely are not. Moreover, the mere fact that those HK cut-and-paste waste of celluloid/video/DVD “films” would invariably be at the very bottom of virtually every serious ninja movie fan’s “Bottom 10” list, makes your “Top 10” list a failure. A Top 10 list is supposed to include the TOP/best/elite of something. Having the worst of something on a Top/best list makes it a ridiculous list, no matter how you try to categorize or justify them.

    Anyway, I’ve already said way more that I wanted to on the subject of those pathetic “films”. You can rest assured that I won’t spoil your fun by posting any more of my “troll” comments. Adios!

  5. Keith Rainville

    I can abide, and to be honest even relate to, the venomous hatred the apparently departed Scott has of the IFD-ilk from Hong Kong. I despised these films in the video store days when we all found out the hard way just how deceptive the package art was, although more recently I’ve come to a state of bemused appreciation for the brazen shamelessness of their craftsmanship. And that Golden Ninja Warrior remix is funny as hell…

    What I can’t abide, however, is spewing what is essentially elitist venom on the *audience.* I don’t care if these films are a YouTube distraction, background watching at a kegger or consumed strictly for ridicule. To each his own.

    There’s an audience for those films, so I gave them an entry title, the best (and most recognizable) example I could think of in that field. I don’t pass judgement on that audience no matter what their viewing intent, nor do I look down on folks like the NINJA: THE MISSION FORCE crew or those behind GOLDEN NINJA WARRIOR CHRONICLES for their more formal and involved fandom of the sub-genre.

    I’d also remind readers like Scott that there’s always, ALWAYS, a level of supposed uberfan who think themselves above other fan’s tastes and can put forth the argument for their case. There are hundreds if not thousands of readers of this site that would role their eyes at the inclusion of any American film in the list the same way you condescend the Hong Kong fare. Then ‘above’ them there’s the jidai-geki elitists who look down their nose at Shinobi-no-mono and ilk for the silly black pajamas, and so on and so on.

    Let people enjoy what they want. No one’s holding a gun to your head making you watch NINJA THUNDERBOLT while swiping your import disc of IBUN SARUTOBI SASUKE.

  6. Jesus Manuel Perez

    Hello Everybody:

    I Just say that watching an IFD flick in the same way you enjoy Shinobi no mono is exactly the same as watching 55 days in Pekin in the same ways you watch Jet Li’s Once upon a Time in China. Or said in other way: An IFD ninja movie has to do with real ninjas so much as 55 days in Pekin has to do with Kung Fu. hope I can be understood. Sorry, English is not my first language.
    These movies can’t be compared. As you can’t compare a a comedy from Billy Wilder with a comedy from Chow Sing Chi!!!…

    I enjoy IFD films, but not because of their ninja content just because IFD offered me to see obscure movies from SouthEast Asia.

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