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Guest tokenganjaclan

5en Aka Csn

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It's got heroes going off to learn cool s**t,

sex

deceit

some nasty fights

that swiss army KF weapon (good one) already mentioned

heroes skimming water like jesus lizards

dismemberment

guys jumping in and out of the ground

a badass villain

a very cool denouement

WHAT ELSE COULD YOU MALCONTENTS BE LOOKING FOR?

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Guest Chinatown Kid

5 Element Ninja is signature Chang Cheh comicbook style blood and gore mayhem, if your a fan of Chang's style of filmmaking then you have to be a fan of this flick. I do wish there were more of the original Venoms in it but I'm not going to complain because it's still a helluva lot of fun. While it might not be high art or the most intelligent of scripts, it's still highly entertaining and never boring! :D

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Guest Von Humboldt Fleischer

On the contrary, I love Chang Cheh's work. By the standards of just about any other director's work, CSN would be a good movie. I don't really see how "cheese" is a good thing. "Oh, this is a totally hollow and uninvolving movie with no emotional centre made by a tired, indifferent, cynical director who left the real work to the fight choreographers. Awesome!"

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This was the film that introduced me to the Shaw Brothers 15 years ago. Yes, there is one official Venom as the heroes were the 2nd Venoms Team, sometimes nicknamed "Baby Venoms" (Ricky Cheng, Chu Ke, Wang Li, Yu Tai-Ping). I loved the film, especially when Ricky, Chu, Wang, and Yu take on the 5EN at the end with their Batman-like weapons. I thought the little water ski bit was a little overdone, but for a Chang Cheh film, bloody goodness. :)

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Guest venomsfreak
On the contrary, I love Chang Cheh's work. By the standards of just about any other director's work, CSN would be a good movie. I don't really see how "cheese" is a good thing. "Oh, this is a totally hollow and uninvolving movie with no emotional centre made by a tired, indifferent, cynical director who left the real work to the fight choreographers. Awesome!"

Von you keep using the word "cynical" in reference to this movie and Chang Cheh, can you please explain what you find cynical about this movie and why it bothers you so?

Thanks

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Guest teako170
Von you keep using the word "cynical" in reference to this movie and Chang Cheh, can you please explain what you find cynical about this movie and why it bothers you so? Thanks

Wondering about this myself.

Tired I can agree with - even indifferent (at that point of his career).

But "cynical" director? Don't see that.

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Guest Von Humboldt Fleischer

Okay, that's a good question. I suppose what I mean by 'cynical' is that in the vast majority of CC films, he actually seems quite excited by his stories, characters and themes. They're not animated by a desire to get to the next fight scene, but by a love of his own mythology of self-sacrificing heroes, a kind of tragic, operatic (in the Western sense) quality that celebrates brotherhood, the sense of grandeur and glory of being a hero, and also the melancholy realisation of the inevitability of the hero's death. I think you can see this running through the vast, vast majority of his films, even if it's diluted somewhat in movies where the focus is on a larger group than on an indvidual or, ideally, a duo. I say 'ideally' because you can probably see this expressed best in his David Chiang/Ti Lung movies. Even KID WITH THE GOLDEN ARM contains a certain amount of this spirit, although it's buried somewhat underneath too large a cast who are basically characterised by what weapons they carry.

In CHINESE SUPER NINJAS, though, I don't see any of this. I don't see this ethos in there at all; what I see is a man who feels himself to be at the end of his career churning out an action movie to pay the rent. There's no real enthusiasm in it (from CC, that is; obviously Chiang Sheng and the other choreographers do an excellent job), and no sense of exuberance or celebration. That's what strikes me as cynical.

Obviously this is my own impression; it's not a fact. It's not like I read an interview with Chang Cheh in which he said "Oh yeah, Chinese Super Ninjas is a piece of shit I made to pay for my new car." But it's a very strong impression nevertheless, and one that only becomes stronger every time I see CHINESE SUPER NINJAS.

Didn't someone on the board say they'd just watched all Chang Cheh's available SB films in production order? I'd be interested to see what they think.

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Spoiler alert. I tried not to be too explicit.

"...a love of his own mythology of self-sacrificing heroes, a kind of tragic, operatic (in the Western sense) quality that celebrates brotherhood, the sense of grandeur and glory of being a hero, and also the melancholy realisation of the inevitability of the hero's death..."

It's almost like we saw a different movie.

1) The circumstances surrounding the somewhat surprising early demise of a popular character (hero).

2) The treachery of the female toward that character that helped lead to his demise ... and worse.

3) The same treachery (or was it) toward the main hero who was torn by the uncertainty.

4) The ultimate sacrifice of the main hero, which the entire film was driving toward.

And that's with some pretty imaginative action sequences wrapped around the whole thing.

There's a reason this film has been considered a classic all these years, and not in a Plan 9 From Outer Space kind of way.

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Guest oldeschool17

oh come on guys, lets not dissect this like we did with kid with the golden arm. you either love this or hate it.

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Guest Von Humboldt Fleischer

Mild spoiler alert.

It's true that all those things happen, I just don't think any of them were particularly moving this time around. My point isn't that he abandons all these themes and does something entirely different, but rather that he revisits them with much less commitment and virtually no enthusiasm.

Recently I made the mistake of listening to the commentary on DD's KING BOXER, and one of the most surprising statements made on the commentary was when someone said that the biggest, most shocking betrayal in SB history was the treacherous female in CSN. Personally, at that point of the film I'm so benumbed by the flatness of it all I couldn't possibly care less.

The reason it's considered a classic is that it has lots and lots and lots of well-choreographed fights in it. Also, people tend to enjoy goofy gimmicks and little novelty bits like people hiding in trees and jumping out of the ground; but I expect more than novelty and gimmicks from Chang Cheh.

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Guest Morgoth
Also, people tend to enjoy goofy gimmicks and little novelty bits like people hiding in trees and jumping out of the ground; but I expect more than novelty and gimmicks from Chang Cheh.

People also enjoy smoke effects and watching Lo Meng fight ninjas and beat them down like they are little girls. and people also like sweet ass weapons fights with Chu Ker, Wang Li, Ricky Tien...

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Guest Von Humboldt Fleischer
People also enjoy smoke effects and watching Lo Meng fight ninjas and beat them down like they are little girls. and people also like sweet ass weapons fights with Chu Ker, Wang Li, Ricky Tien...

I think that comes under the category of "lots and lots of well-choreographed fights", though.

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Guest Morgoth

but, but, what about smoke effects!!:P

And people also like Chan Wai Man and those razors in the bottom of his shoes:D

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Guest Morgoth

Yeah you don't see that in too many Chang Cheh movies. There are so many ways a ninja can kill you. Boobs are just one of those ways :D

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Guest HAZ
Okay, that's a good question. I suppose what I mean by 'cynical' is that in the vast majority of CC films, he actually seems quite excited by his stories, characters and themes. They're not animated by a desire to get to the next fight scene, but by a love of his own mythology of self-sacrificing heroes, a kind of tragic, operatic (in the Western sense) quality that celebrates brotherhood, the sense of grandeur and glory of being a hero, and also the melancholy realisation of the inevitability of the hero's death. I think you can see this running through the vast, vast majority of his films, even if it's diluted somewhat in movies where the focus is on a larger group than on an indvidual or, ideally, a duo. I say 'ideally' because you can probably see this expressed best in his David Chiang/Ti Lung movies. Even KID WITH THE GOLDEN ARM contains a certain amount of this spirit, although it's buried somewhat underneath too large a cast who are basically characterised by what weapons they carry.

In CHINESE SUPER NINJAS, though, I don't see any of this. I don't see this ethos in there at all; what I see is a man who feels himself to be at the end of his career churning out an action movie to pay the rent. There's no real enthusiasm in it (from CC, that is; obviously Chiang Sheng and the other choreographers do an excellent job), and no sense of exuberance or celebration. That's what strikes me as cynical.

Obviously this is my own impression; it's not a fact. It's not like I read an interview with Chang Cheh in which he said "Oh yeah, Chinese Super Ninjas is a piece of shit I made to pay for my new car." But it's a very strong impression nevertheless, and one that only becomes stronger every time I see CHINESE SUPER NINJAS.

Didn't someone on the board say they'd just watched all Chang Cheh's available SB films in production order? I'd be interested to see what they think.

Couldn't the same be said for pretty much every CC film post 74/75?

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keep in mind that this film was made after the jackie chan goofest era began. that spelled the end for shaws i don't think they had any idea to respond to that type of unique film jackie made. IMO. many fans concider 80's shaws missing the elements Von speaks of. i think all of you are right just judging different merits of the film.

but 5EN is a gem among the 80's shaws

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Guest oldeschool17

wouldnt one argue that movies like Magnificent Ruffians and Shaolin Rescuers were the Venoms/Cheh's answer to the kind of movies jackie was doing?

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Guest Coward Bastard

I love gimmickery, cheesiness, and great fights. Hell that's half of what this genre is built on. However I was also left a little underwhelmed by Chinese Super Ninjas.

It felt like Chang Cheh was selling out, and rather than doing it wholeheartedly, he was reticent to engage with the film and give it real feeling. The only work I could see Chang doing here was stringing the fights together with some half hearted story. That said, it allowed the choreographers, costume and set designers to go to town whilst Chang was outside puffing on cigars and waiting for his paycheck.

It's a highly enjoyable film, but lacks the heart and overall thought that could mark it as a classic.

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wouldnt one argue that movies like Magnificent Ruffians and Shaolin Rescuers were the Venoms/Cheh's answer to the kind of movies jackie was doing?

yes it was an attempt, not a sucessful one as you can see shaws lost that war. we still have jackie(at least untill the 90's he made good stuff) but like i said it was an opinion not gospel

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Guest HAZ

Just saw the remastered version. If my memory serves me right, the dub track was very similar to the subs. This was a highly entertaining movie, but it lacked emotion. All the actors were kind of flat. No charisma or on-screen presense. The plot was straight ahead & was engaging. I can't call it a great film, but it was fun.

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