Director Teddy “Page”/Chiu Story James Gaines Screenplay James Gaines, “Ted Page”/Teddy Chiu Producer [uncredited] K.Y. Lim Cinematography [1st Unit] Vittorio Anders [2nd Unit] Arthur Moore Production Design Vic Davis Editor Edgar Vincent Assistant Director Sean Sommers Production Coordinators Robert Cushing, Trevor Boone Special Effects Guy Nelson Field Cashier Dina Meyers Stunts Instructors Ben Rooney, Jerry Bailey Assistant Editors Francis Voight, Isaac Christian Setman Perry Carney Property Master Quad Vincent Make-Up Rina Cabot Sound Mixer Max Fleming Sound Effects Tom Miles
Cast "Ron"/Romano Kristoff, Jim Gaines, Ray Vernal, “Anthony”/J. Antonio Carreon, Charlotte Maine, Jerry Bailey, Dick Ilford, "Dave"/David Light, John Moss, Ralph Johnson, Errol Giberson, “Mars”/Majid Jadali, Fred Collins, Benny Roberts, John Crocker, Bobby Clinton, Ted Robertson, David Scout
Review from the “Return Of The Ninjas” website:
I was in the mood for an old-fashioned, cheap, Vietnam-set actionfest, so I decided to put Teddy Page’s (aka Teddy Chiu’s) BLACK FIRE into my VCR, as the German tape release on the Geiselgasteig video label (which seems to be slightly cut by the way) impresses with a truly cool cover artwork. Never rate a movie by its cover, though, as we all know, as it could be very misleading. In the case of BLACK FIRE, it sure is a bit misleading. BLACK FIRE (produced by K. Y. Lim’s Silver Star Film Company by the way) opens, promisingly enough, in the Philippines jungles that stand in for Vietnam where the prologue takes place. A handful of soldiers kill off a bunch of Vietcongs in various gruesome ways. Necks are broken, bodies are riddled with bullets, knives enter chests, and people are blown to smithereens thanks to Romano Kristoff’s handy arrows with explosive heads.
Romano Kristoff (who also stars in the superior NINJA’S FORCE (1985), NINJA WARRIORS (1985) and DOUBLE EDGE (1986)) is of course Sergeant Frank Johnson and his acting abilities leave a lot to be desired. Jim Gaines as his friend Jim Anderson is not really better, but hey… who am I to complain. Mr. Gaines was a prolific actor in the 1980s, appearing in approximately thirty movies shot in the Philippines. He can be seen in FIREBACK (1978), ENTER THE NINJA (1981), ONE-ARMED EXECUTIONER (1983), BRUCE’S FISTS OF VENGEANCE (1984), AMERICAN NINJA (1985), WAR WITHOUT END (1986), PHANTOM SOLDIERS (1987), MANNIGAN’S FORCE (1988), and DOG TAGS (1988). Besides, he was an extra in Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal APOCALYPSE NOW (1979) and apparently he provided the voice for a character in the English version of the unforgettable Weng Weng masterpiece FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY (1981). Apart from that he often worked for Italian cult director Bruno Mattei (who died on May 21, 2007 --- R.I.P. Bruno, and thank you for the wonderful hours I had when watching your movies!), appearing in ROBOWAR - ROBOT DA GUERRA (1988), ANIME PERSE (THE JAIL: A WOMEN’S HELL, 2006) and L’ISOLA DEI MORTI VIVENTI (ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD, 2006). Anyway, back to the plot (screenplay by Jim Gaines and Teddy Page, based on a story by Jim Gaines). Before you can say “what would John Rambo do?” Sergeant Johnson’s unit is reduced in numbers until only Frank and Jim are left. When a grenade explodes near him, Frank looses consciousness and has strange flashbacks of his childhood, when he was trained to be a Ninja. In those flashbacks his master feeds him with vital information, like: “You have to be like an arrow that desires to bounce from the string.” Or: “Be like a bamboo cane. Flexible but unbreakable.” I like this one too: “Grasp the situation with your soul, because it sees more than a hundred thousand eyes.” How very true. Then Frank Johnson and Jim Anderson are transferred to San Sebastian and the flick becomes unexciting, rather dire and dull. There is not much happening, and what little does happen is quite uninteresting and unspectacular. At least there’s a show-stopping training sequence that has got to be one of the most hilarious training sequences ever put to celluloid.