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Ninja Commandments


  • IFD Version
  • Original Film (Ma, Don't Die On My Back)
Release: Oct 20, 2021 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the IFD version and the original film Ma, Don't Die On My Back (both included on the German DVD by AVV / WMM)

46 differences, including 8x alternative course of events
* 22 additional scenes in the IFD version with a duration of 1188.6 sec (= 19:49 min)
* 32 additional scenes in the original film with a duration of 1195.8 sec (= 19:56 min)

Difference: 7 sec [in PAL]

A few additional template errors with a duration of less than 0.5 sec each were not listed in the report.

We have already dedicated some reports to the notorious Cut'N'Paste cinema of Godfrey Ho and IFD. There's one common thread that oftentimes makes the films so characteristic: A cheaply purchased film from Taiwan or other Asian countries was enriched with a few scenes in which Western faces acted as testimonials for the international video market. Of course, the Ninja films with Richard Harrison are particularly well-known. We have already compared the IFD version of Ninja Thunderbolt with the original film, which set this marketing scheme in motion in 1984, (see that report here). Also, the 1986 film Ninja - Champion on Fire is a nice example of this, whereby even a fancy HD master has been preserved here and the rubbishly upgraded IFD version is really fun.

But the present Ninja Commandments is once again a piece of art in itself. On the one hand, Harrison doesn't wear the characteristic moustache with which he has fought his way into the hearts of trash fans. On the other hand, the ninja scenes themselves are probably among the more respectable ones, because Richard often disguises himself and then lets the nimble Asian doubles present their somersaults and weapons skills. Of course, always briefly interrupted by fast zooms on the grim faces of Harrison and his opponents. But what really makes Ninja Commandments a dubious "pleasure" is the fact that the original film, in contrast to the two IFD creations mentioned earlier, was so absolutely unsuitable for the Ninja remix.

Ma, Don't Die On My Back is a melodrama shot in 1981, a nice example of Taiwanese Black Movies. There is basically no action here, which probably explains the high percentage of action in the IFD inserts. The story about a woman alienated from her family by a fire accident, whose husband becomes a drunkard, while the son learns about his mother much too late, is deadly serious. This may not often really work for western viewers, but by the dark finale at the latest it becomes clear that this is a real tragedy that is meant to move the viewer. And this is permanently interrupted in the better known IFD version by naive and stupid Ninja wisdom as well as the brawls with Richard Harrison, who is always dangling around in a colourful outfit with Ninja writings. It really is incredible how absolutely nothing fits together here and how a connection to the main plot is supposed to be established by completely absurd comments of the ninja community.

In any case, it is quite noticeable that in 1987, the IFD slowly seemed to be running out of reasonably usable recycling material from Asia. But that's exactly why this weird nonsense is somehow appealing to die-hard fans. And although the original film is also included as a bonus in the "IFD Legacy Edition" on DVD since 27 November 2019 by AVV / WMM, one can only recommend to watch the IFD version. Unfortunately, this version is only included as a master zoomed from 2.35:1 to full screen, something else could not be found anymore. But still, the quality is better in every respect compared to the original film. This film is only available in the original sound and without subtitles and from the zoomed full screen, additionally cropped by picture at the bottom. Really only a supplement for completeness.

Runtimes are ordered as follows: IFD version in PAL / original film in PAL

1 of 3
alternative / Additional material in the IFD version
00:00-01:36 / 00:00-01:15

In the IFD-version, it starts right away with an additional ninja scene, which adventurously tries to establish a relationship to the underlying melodrama flick. The ninja master tells his students here that Rodney and Janet have broken the ninjas' golden rule of not having sex before marriage. They would therefore have been stripped of their ninja powers and banished to the village where the rest of the film is set. Gordon (Richard Harrison) in turn gets the order to look for the "Sword of Valor" in Japan, which doesn't play any role in the rest of the film. Stuart would rather take over this mission, but the master leaves it to Gordon. He could also visit Rodney and Janet on the way there.

The original film shows instead own credits over various nature shots, plus music.

IFD version 20.4 sec longer

The credits for identical material differ afterwards. For comparison, two scenes later from the film: As you can see, the 2.35:1 widescreen picture in the IFD master is unfortunately zoomed to 4:3 full screen. But the original film is really bad, which was even more stretched in the credits in the previous block. Again, the original film was based on a copy zoomed to fullscreen, but then it was cut off at the bottom (and also slightly at the top). Maybe there were some subtitles at the bottom of the picture which should be covered up. On the DVD, the film is also available in full screen, but is distorted and trimmed on all sides by an extreme amount of image. The screenshots were adjusted to the approximate size of 1.66:1.

IFD versionOriginal film

01:42 / 01:21-01:29

The camera movement through the field starts earlier.

7.4 sec

Alternative / Additional material in the IFD version
05:12-05:19 / 05:00-05:01

After the dice have fallen unfavorably, the original film shows the other player again briefly. At IFD a ninja wisdom is inserted instead.

IFD version 5,6 sec longer

IFD versionOriginal film

06:37 / 06:20-06:21

The cubes can be seen for a moment longer.

1.4 sec

Additional material in the IFD version
09:55-10:00 / 09:39

The shot of Janet is interrupted in the IFD version by a ninja wisdom insert (respect the family!).

+ 5,5 sec

10:29 / 10:08-10:11

A shot starts a little earlier.

2.5 sec

Additional material in the IFD version
11:32-11:42 / 11:14

When the picture gets blurred, a ninja wisdom (one was born to do so) is again interspersed.

+ 9.6 sec

Additional material in the IFD version
15:09-17:26 / 14:42

After the scene in the village, Stuart talks to the ninja master, who says that Gordon and Stuart are his two best students. The master asks his opinion about Gordon and Stuart sees his chance: Stuart is too weak to become the successor. Furiously, Stuart draws his sword and kills the master. But Adam has seen this from behind and promises to tell everyone. A fight ensues in which the master holds Stuart with his last bit of strength and Adam can escape.

+ 137 sec (= 2:17 min)

18:17 / 15:32-16:25

Between the shots of Rodney outside, we see a fat man in bed with a woman. Rodney continues to scream offscreen, while the fat man slowly walks to the door. There is also a dialogue in Chinese without subtitles.

52.6 sec

18:35 / 16:43-16:47

Rodney yells a little longer through the street at the end of the shot.

3.9 sec

Additional material in the IFD version
24:01-25:28 / 22:13

Back in the Ninja Camp: Gordon joins two training colleagues. Stuart is also there, with blonde in his arms. He says that the master is dead and Adam was the murderer. Currently, he would hide in the forest and Gordon would attack him. Furthermore, the master would have chosen him (i.e. Stuart) as his successor before his death. Gordon is skeptical and Stuart is still happily eating grapes.

+ 87,1 sec (= 1:27 min)

Alternative / Additional material in the IFD version
26:31-28:44 / 23:17-24:01

In the IFD version, there is again a ninja wisdom (external affairs would confuse the mind). Then Adam is puzzling in the forest what to do now. Gordon comes running and calls for him. Adam comes out of his hiding place and after a short fight, Adam tells Gordon what happened. Gordon is brooding and as proof of his innocence, Adam simply murders himself. With his last words, Adam asks Gordon to avenge their master.

In the original film, instead, Rodney can be seen longer and the image gets blurred. Another long shot on a field follows, to which a quiet song is played. This is continued by the identical scene with the children jumping on the rope.

IFD version 87.7 sec (= 1:28 min) longer

33:36 / 28:54-29:09

We see the girls working on the river a little earlier.

15,6 sec

33:49 / 29:22-29:29

Some more discussion between the washing women.

6.9 sec

34:05 / 29:46-29:49

Another cut to the girl.

3.1 sec

34:17 / 30:00-30:12

A shot of a girl standing up at the end of the scene.

11.6 sec

Additional material in the IFD version
34:30-36:06 / 30:25

The next ninja insert: Gordon meets Stuart again and asks him about his findings regarding Adam. This is followed by a challenge to a duel and the ninja immediately changes to a mask outfit. After a short scuffle, Gordon seems to be in distress and another fighter comes to his aid. He is killed by Stuart and Gordon flees.

+ 96.1 sec (= 1:36 min)

Additional material in the IFD version
37:42-37:49 / 32:01

While entertaining the girls, a ninja wisdom (one should be free of greed and materialism) is cut confusingly in between.

+ 7,2 sec

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