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Ninja Assassin – Review November 30, 2009

Posted by Cello in Domestic Film Reviews.

Ninja Assassin is a balls to the wall movie that follows a character named Raizo, who just happens to be one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Taken from the streets as a child, he was transformed into a trained killer by the Ozunu Clan. He eventually becomes haunted by the merciless execution of his friend by the Clan, Raizo breaks free from them and vanishes. When (as we learn in flashbacks) he parted company after refusing to kill someone who tried to leave the clan, he became marked for death. He has been pursuing vengeance ever since. The key with a film like this is finding a lead actor who can carry the role with finesse. Rain is no Oscar-worthy talent, but he does have the charisma and presence needed to carry the film. One thing I really want to stress to those who haven’t seen this film yet is do not take it seriously. This movie isn’t over-the-top, it leaps over the top and continues to ascend to the point of pure lunacy, and that’s just within the first 10 minutes.

One thing I heard a lot of people complaining about in the theater was the use of dark light during action scenes. Yes, the dim lighting made it difficult to see what was going on in a few fight scenes; however, this darkness served the purpose of the concept, unlike the shaky cam trend, which is done for no purpose other than to convince you that what is going on in the scene is more interesting than it actually is. I was able to see more action in one of the “dark” scenes in Ninja Assassin than I did in the last two Bourne movies combined. Audiences are getting exactly what they pay for with Ninja Assassin, an unrelentingly violent and over-the-top action film that makes the most out of the fun it can wring out. My only complaint with this aspect was that Ninja Assassin’s script never clearly defines what a ninja is actually capable of at any given moment.  There was some supernatural things going on in the movie that had me scratching my head often times.

What we do know is that the ninjas in this film are a force to be reckoned with. True to the myth, they move silently in the shadows. They can also be found clinging to the ceiling like something out of Aliens. And once they arrive, no one is safe. The filmmakers have said that they wanted to update the ninja movie for the 21st century, and there they succeed.  After that first kill, none of the action is brought to life with any extended originality. Not to knock the films’ action right after I praised it but therereally is no fun, no fresh new ideas. Torrents of CGI blood and limbs lead to an easy comparison to the films of Ryuhei Kitamura, but the big point of comparison is energy and attitude. Sure, Kitamura’s Versus is an amateurish movie, but it has buckets of ideas and boundless energy, and just a little of each would have made Ninja Assassin infinitely more entertaining.

I mean, the only real reason to make this movie is if you have a notebook full of ideas for shredding the human body. So if you’re in the mood for action supported by a dull plot or stupid characters, Ninja Assassin might make for a bloody good time. I left the movie with my memory of it being largely a big blur. Ninja Assassin is a genre movie with accomplished, impressive fight choreography and visual effects. But the most important thng to remember in all of this is if we learned anything from Indiana Jones, it’s that bullets trump sharp objects every time. It good seeing ninjas getting some love instead of vampires nowadays but this isn’t the movie that is going to propel them into a statewide phenomenom.



1. Bartleby - November 30, 2009

Per the usual, we agree man. A disappointment. I’m going to go watch American Ninja until my schlock center is satisfied.

2. Stephen K - November 30, 2009

What else do we expect from such a pop-star-headed vehicle? I will probably catch this on DVD or something, because, well, ninjas are cool, but I’m a lot more forgiving on sub-standard film when it’s on rental and I can take breaks to vomit out my disappointment!

Keep up the good work, I love your reviews!

3. Rain's Number One Fan In America - November 30, 2009

Ninja Assassin was a great movie Rain did such a great job this is one of the best Martial Artist /Action Films I seen in a long time.

I can’t wait to see part two Rain will be a big hit in America..

4. cklockwork - November 30, 2009

I only went to see this because I had high hopes for director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta was awesome.) Needless to say, I won’t be paying to see a movie of his ever again. Ninja Assassin was garbage.

5. glothelegend - December 1, 2009

I was on the edge about this movie, but after reading your review, I now wasn to see it.

glothelegend - December 1, 2009

*want (I always seem to misspell the most important words)

6. bluedrakon - December 1, 2009

They really could have had a great movie on their hands if they left out the damn government crap. Opening scene is great, then just goes down hill from there.

cklockwork - December 1, 2009

yeah, the opening scene worked. and i liked the flashbacks in the first half of the film. In fact, if it weren’t for those flashbacks I probably would of walked out. Wouldn’t be the first time.

oh — link to my review: http://wp.me/pBP0f-4n

7. Heather - December 1, 2009

A friend of mine pointed out the redundancy of the title recently, and I figured if you had that in perspective prior to a viewing one might enjoy themselves a bit more.

As usual, I’m okay with gregarious action and violence without much of a plot, but I have a real affection for Ninja’s and want them represented all proper-like.

Have you ever been to askaninja.com? One of my favorite sites ever.

8. Andre, M (aka eResumes4Vips) - December 2, 2009

I was all Psyched to see Ninja Ass…@theatre. After reading your review plus viewer comments, gonna wait for DVD. Namaste.

9. White people are haters!! - December 5, 2009

Ninja Assassin movie was one of the best martial arts action movie ever no other movie can top this.

White people go to hell.

10. Great Movie - December 5, 2009

This movie is now one of my favorite movies of all times.

11. FaS - December 5, 2009

Yeah…when seeing the actual trailer, I was pretty iffy, but after reading this…I don’t really think I want to. It kind of faded out my memory to be quite honest 😛

12. samus the black irish bastard - December 12, 2009

it wasn’t that bad…..i mean what else could u expect from a movie named ninja assassin…it wasn’t about no fucking story line..it was about a nigga with sarukens and swords killing the shit out of u ……so for all u plp who just love to complain “but mooomy theee movie eee wass ummm bad” fuck u and get a damm life omg…i hate plp like u……..

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