Saturday, November 6, 2010


Original Title: Ölüm Savasçisi
Year: 1984
Director: Cüneyt Arkin, Çetin Inanç
Writer: Cüneyt Arkin, Çetin Inanç
Genre: Action

A group of invincible ninjas in the U.S, start killing everybody, and the NYPD chief can’t solve the problem. The mayor thinks 'ONLY a Turkish detective can handle the situation', so they call for Inspector Murat (Kemal?) for help... and he comes to U.S. That’s when the action starts!

Three posts in the past two months. I rule.

Sorry to all zero of you who are let down that I didn't finish my number film countdown thingamajig. For anyone interested, the other films were Three The Hard Way (which I'd score an 8.5), The Two Of Us (which I'd score an 8.0), and.................. ONE ARMED BOXER (which also gets an 8.0).

Taaaa daaaaaaaa!

And what brings me out of my hibernation? Turkish ninjas of course. See, these ninjas are a samurai family that become darkness ninjas after dying. Yeah... zombies?

They can use playing cards and matchsticks as deadly weapons

They can live underwater for days without breathing

They know ALCHEMY! (what the fuck?)

They can see in the dark

Sometimes they even come back after dying (for the second time?)

And the only one that can stop them? This guy.

He's a pacifist (I guess?)... he's a lover... he will kick your goddamn face off. Unload a revolver into a Turkish ninja and he will keep coming. One kick from the Inspector and those bitches go down hard.

I'm not really exaggerating when I say that in the 1:17:00 runtime of this film, about 1:12:33 of it is ninjas training, ninjas kicking the shit out of people, and Murat kicking the shit out of ninjas. If you've ever seen a Turkish B-movie before, you pretty much know what to expect here, although I have to say this is possibly the most action packed one I have seen yet.

The story is pretty straight forward, and possiblymaybe could have been interesting in the hands of someone who knew how to write and direct a film properly. The narrative here is nothing new - bringing in a badass to take care of some bad guys that local authorities cannot handle - but it is slapped together in true Turkish cinema style making it more a collection of scenes loosely pasted together and padded with people running and screaming to fill out the time. These are the sorts of films you can honestly have on while not fully paying attention because they are certainly not heavy on plot details.

The fansubs are not perfect either, but who am I to complain about that? I feel very fortunate to be able to watch something like this and not be 100% lost. But really, if you find this without subtitles, you will have almost no trouble following what is going on. It personally drives me nuts to not know, but that's just me.

This film jumps freely from romance to mystery to cop to action and even some very bizarre horror and supernatural elements that make no sense whatsoever. But it's something about this strange mixture that make films like Death Warrior very endearing to me.

 You'd probably be very pissed if you went to a cinema today and plopped down 10 bucks and got a film like this on the screen. But enjoying it on your screen at home is a completely different matter.

The acting is hard to get a read on. Cüneyt Arkin as the inspector is really the only character you will get to know all that well. The man must have been doing something right as he has 270 acting credits, and I've read that he was actually in over 500 films. He certainly has a unique and cool Amitabh style about him. I'm almost certain he must have been as successful as he was due to his looks and suave demeanor... but that's OK. I was eating up a little myself. Despite some obvious undercranking for some ridiculously paced fights, he's pretty agile for a guy who would have been near 50 when this was filmed. Seeing him bounce on trampolines with silly looking spray painted swords is worth the price of admission.

True lovers of trashy, low budgeted cinema will enjoy this one quite a bit I think. I've been let down by silly Turkish films in the past  which ended up being all about the highlights from youtube and were boring otherwise (I'm looking at you here, Korkusuz aka Turkish Rambo), but Death Warrior stays actiony (I just made that word up) throughout with some ludicrous special effects and fights that really had me laughing and entertained.

For a film that for all intents and purposes would be considered a trainwreck anywhere else, I have to give a High recommendation to Death Warrior. Bravo, Mr. Arkin. You'll make a believer out of me yet.

Score: 7.5 / 10