Ninja Checkmate (1979)
AKA: Mystery of Chessboxing
DVD: 27 Aug 2002
List Price: $14.99
In hopes of getting revenge for his father's murder at the hands of the
destructive Ghost-Faced Killer, a young martial arts student teams with a
master Chess Boxer who happens to be the killer's arch-enemy.
Spectacular Chess Boxing and Five Element fistfights highlight this
effort starring Lee Yi Min and Jack Long. AKA: "Mystery of Chess
Boxing." 88 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English (dubbed) mono; audio
commentary; theatrical trailers. Dubbed in English.
Beware of The Ghost Faced Killer! posted Mar 29, 2012 12:27 PM by taoist insight [ updated 7 hours ago by Vu Nguyen ]
That's right. Beware of The Ghost Faced Killer, at least in this version of "Mystery of Chessboxing"...
This dvd version was released in 2009 and is terrible. Another winner >Loser from
the infamous Red Sun, I think? There are many names associated with
this disc, including; Red Sun, Tai Seng, Golden Dragon, Shaolin
Collection, Ocean Shore, and on and on. It actually seems to be a
vhs trasnfer from an Ocean Shore recording though. Some say that this
is the exact same version as the Tai Seng version, known as "Ninja
Checkmate". This idea makes sense because Ninja Checkmate is proudly
displayed across the opening title screen.
On the cover we can clearly see that it states SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION.
What this really means is that it is special (handicapped) limited
(reduced) edition (edit). There we go. Instead of calling it special
limited edition, we can call it HANDICAPPED REDUCED EDIT.
Many scenes are missing.
These missing scenes include minor things such as the end of the movie!
On the dvd menu, there are options such
as: Play, Scenes, Trailers, Commentary, and English. The trailers worked
and so did the scene selection, but the commentary and language options
are non existent. The main problem I have with this version is the
missing scenes and the misleading menu options. Restored picture and
remastered sound would be a nice addition, but the bad quality adds to
the immersion in my opinion.
The version to get, it
seems, would be "Ninja Checkmate" released internationally in 1987. Good
luck with that because it is currently out of print and going for
It is kind of funny that
the title was released as Ninja Checkmate to the international audiences
considering there are no ninjas in this film. That was the trend back
then though. Stick a word in the title like, Dragon, Ninja, Invincible
and it sold. Why not just stick all three in the title? The Invincible
Dragon Ninja: Handicapped Reduced Edit.
Overall, it was a very fun
movie. It is the type of movie that does not take it self
seriously (just like this review). Choreography in this movie was
outstanding. The story was
not that unique, being one of your generic, old, revenge, motif,
stories, but it works. The stand out for me would be the Ghost Face
Killer character himself. I absolutely love how the ghost
face killer meets his victims. His quotes/dub are great:
Shi Wang Ming, "5 elements." Ghost Face Killer, "That's right."
If you are a
kung fu fiend, I recommend that you watch this movie. It is widely
regarded to be a classic in fan circles. I have not checked
to see if the Xenon studios Wu Tang Collection version is any better
than the god awful Red Sun version. If you have knowledge of this please
One thing is for certain, this movie is "a killer!" and "Killer's don't die so easy." Hopefully down the road some company
will choose to release a remastered, restored, enhanced dvd of The
Mystery of Chessboxing aka Ninja Checkmate.
Mystery of Chess Boxing (1979)
- The translated title into English is "Double Chained Horses". Double chained horses happens to be a move in Chinese Chess.
- The rap group Wu-Tang Clan borrows
and was heavilyinfluenced from this movie. They have samples in there
music, songs named after the title, and even a group member named
- When the movie was first
released on New York's 42nd street in Time Square, the movie caused near
riots and played for two years.