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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ninja in Ancient China DVD Review

Ninja in Ancient China

Fans previously wanting to see the last work of master director Chang Cheh often had to settle for crappy pan and scan boots or VCDs. His last work Ninja in Ancient China has been especially hard for fans to find, that situation is now no more thanks to the work of Greenfan DVD and its owner Mike Banner. Greenfan will be a company of interest to fans around the world as there releases are coded Region 0 and in NTSC (conversion of NTSC to PAL tends to be a less common problem for Europeans). Fans around the world will be able to enjoy Greenfan product. This film is a reworking of the Shaw production Five Element Ninjas (aka Chinese Super Ninjas) so fans of that film will surely enjoy this one.

You can get Ninja in Ancient China from a variety of e-trailers such as, and others.

Video: Ninja in Ancient China is transferred from a film print with burnt in English and Chinese subs. Unfortunately, it is not anamorphic and is a bit worn, but considering the rareness and the fact no copy before has ever been letterboxed, it is easy to understand and get past these print issues. They are nowhere to the point where I would say to not get the film or that its not watchable.

Audio: The Mandarin track is a tiny bit rough at times, but still easy to listen to and will not hamper your enjoyment of the film.

Extras: Greenfan debuts with a bevy of extras that are a fitting tribute to the last film of Chang Cheh. First off are excellent liner notes (printed with stills from the movie on the cover) written by genre expert Linn Haynes detailing the later phase of Chang Cheh’s career and his work in Mainland China. Next, off is a complete and excellent audio commentary by kung fu expert Nick Watkins telling us about the film, its actors, and the man himself Chang Cheh. Wrapping thins up are a still gallery comprised of lobby cards from the film.

Overall: The chance to get the see the final work of a great director like Chang Cheh is a situation that no one should pass up who is a fan of his works. While the quality is a little rough, as long as one understands this going in, it will not hamper there enjoyment of the film.


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