The Only Thing More Treacherous than a Ninja is an Eggplant.


Practice your secret techniques of Japanese rope-bondage, because Five Element Ninjas is the Greatest Movie EVER!

Click on the DVD cover or the title above to download our review of the film, featuring M.O.M., the Mistress of Malapropisms.

Review in a Nutshell: Combining Chang Cheh’s trademark melodrama with superior athletic skills and hilarious gimmickery, Five Element Ninjas represents the Shaw Brothers at the height of their game as producers of top-quality kung fu films.


  1. shaolin joe says:

    I bought this movie on dvd twice, both times the picture was defected, started at chapter 11. So I bought it on blu-Ray even though I dont own a blu ray player. I hope it plays perfect without any defects.

  2. timeliebe says:

    Wait, Paul – you showed your mother an Asian Bondage Movie?

    Dude – I have nothing but respect for MoM now!

  3. Daryl Surat says:

    “Chinese Super Ninjas” or just “Super Ninjas” was just an Americanized name for this film which they thought was more descriptive. Copies under that name were dub-only pan-and-scan prints made from less than pristine source materials, with some edits to remove some of the more gruesome moments as well as the mesh-covered bosoms. In other words, WAY too high quality of output for anything related to Godfrey Ho.

    Godfrey Ho’s ninja movies consisted of taking some Z-grade absolute snoozefest of an Asian film that had nothing to do with action or ninja anything then splicing in footage of American actors in store bought ninja outfits–the type with “NINJA” written on the headband–meeting and then fighting with varying degrees of martial arts credibility and facial hair sketchiness in Kowloon Park for the entirety of about a minute or two. The films he used for the source were usually never even action movies. They were just whatever crime drama or comedy that he either had previously made himself or otherwise had the rights to. In other words, he never did that for any major Shaw Brothers kung fu production such as this.

    Basically he just had the guys shoot a scene, they’d then put on differently colored ninja outfits, go to a different part of the park, then do basically the same choreography to form another scene, and then he’d take those scenes and splice them into a bunch of movies. Those added ninja scenes were the only worthwhile parts and had no relation to anything else, so I typically just take those bits and show them at conventions.

  4. I ended up with Chinese Super Ninjas, and I didn’t really like it, maybe because of the pan and scan and edits. The descriptions of Five Elements Ninja from the podcast sounded much more interesting than what I remember so I’ll have to seek out the real thing.

  5. Daryl Surat says:

    Celestial Pictures has just put up an official Shaw Brothers library homepage, which contains a listing of every title that is digitally available along with links for where you can instantly watch them:

    From now on, it seems this should be the website stated whenever these films are discussed, since it effectively answers the question of “where can I go to see this stuff right now?” Note that the entire library isn’t instantly available just yet, but much like how the DVD catalog is now effectively complete, I’m sure it’s a matter of time.

  6. timeliebe says:

    Thanks for the link, Daryl! I only know about Celestial Pictures (a name which makes me jump a bit, given I keep hearing “Celestial” in Al Swearingen’s voice, usually preceded by some colorful obscenity!) from El Rey Network. Having access to these movies on your device whenever you want them sounds really convenient – though I, old-fashioned type that I am, prefer some kind of tangible copy like a DVD….

    If you have cable (unlike our host!) and are a fan of this podcast, I urge you to check El Rey out. Robert Rodriguez sold it to Univision and Comcast by claiming it’s a “English-language Latino Network”, but I think anybody who watches it for more than an hour knows it’s really The “Robert Rodriguez Programs Everything HE Liked Growing Up” Network! There’s a lot of Italian grindhouse epics from giallo to gut-muchers, Chinese martial arts movies and wuxia largely from the Shaw Brothers library, and reruns of SF-tinged action series like Airwolf, Knight Rider and Miami Vice (which if you re-watch it looks less like a stylish cop show, and more like some mutant blend of early Cyberpunk with Futuristic-in-the-Eighties Fashions). Oh, and whatever Lucha Underground is.

    Since his tastes usually parallel my own, and I strongly suspect everybody who listens to Paul’s podcasts as well, I’m good with that. 😉

  7. James A Rockin says:

    How come nobody you didn’t mention “Ninjas Deadly Trap”? It is essentially same film starring the Venoms. I guess originally they wanted “the Venoms” for 5 element ninjas but when they couldn’t pay the Venoms the money they wanted, the Venoms went out and shot their own movie with a similar concept. Both rushed to get their ninja movies out first. Kinda like “armageddon” and “deep impact”. I love both and I often confuse the 2 films. If you haven’t watched them together i highly recommend it.

  8. Colony says:

    Really enjoyed Mom’s reaction. Would like to see you do another one with her, may be double feature of 36 Chambers and Return to 36 Chambers. Those two best illustrates growth and contrast in kung fu movies even when it’s by the same talent pool. I would also like to include Martial Club just because it gave one of my favorite heavies Johnny Wang Lun Wei a moment to shine, and a different (and imho better) look at the tired Wong Fei Hung legend interpretation.

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