Ninja Assassin (2009)
An insightful and challenging think-piece that parallels the ninja arts to the reunification of Germany via the fall of the Berlin Wall at the turn of 1990s. Yeah, that’s definitely what it’s about.
But I can see how others might go into Ninja Assassin expecting it to be about an orphan who’s raised to be the ultimate killing machine, grows a conscience along the way, and inevitably makes it his life mission to kill his former sensei and all the other ninja assassins he grew up with. That or the Berlin Wall thing.
Either way, you pay to see a movie called Ninja Assassin, that’s what you’re gonna get: ninja on ninja action.
Usually this isn’t the kinda movie I’d go seek out, but sometimes that mood hits ya’ where all you really want to do for two hours is sit back, give your mind a break, and watch dudes get mutilated by guys who know thing or two about mutilatin’. So being in that state of mind, I found myself quite satisfied when the upper-half of the first victim’s noggin mysteriously disappeared in a flash of silver within the first five minutes.
The following two minutes deliver just as well, making for one insano opening scene to an already insano-titled movie, but it takes the plot a good long while to get the next scene that rivals the gory bang this sucker starts out with. There’s too many ninja training scenes with too little action, too much time trying to create some semblance of a story that really doesn’t need to be there to begin with, and, in some futile attempt to attract the ladies to this one, too much time establishing romantic subplots. But after all that crap is over with, our favorite ninja Raizo pulls out his knife-on-a-rope contraption from up there on poster and starts going to town on fools without skipping a beat right up until the end credits roll.
Atta boy, Raizo.
And as far as the action scenes are concerned, they’re pretty sweet for the most part. Think Rambo, with swords. It’s totally over the top, there’s tons of CG stuff with ninjas disintegrating into shadows and that knife chain whipping around all willy-nilly, and even though it kinda works against itself at times considering it’s just so much better when there aren’t special effects in fight scenes, man, ninjas are cool. Somehow I forgot that simple fact and I thank Ninja Assassin for reminding me of it. I feel so lame sometimes.
Raizo is also played by one utterly ripped individual named Rain (normally I’d make fun of this, but it’s usually not a good idea to make fun of people who do handstand push-ups on a bed of nails; write that one down kids). Not much of an actor, but he looks the part and can do a lot of cool flips and move really fast for long periods of time, which probably comes in handy for the guy. Point is, dude makes a good ninja assassin. Good job.
There’s not a whole lot to Ninja Assassin that you probably haven’t already figured out for yourself without my having to spell it out, and that’s a good thing in this case. It’s not a great action movie by any means, but if you wanna see a movie with lots of fake blood and a big-ass body count, you’re not gonna be misled here. A fine use of my time if I must say and a perfect escape from a world that is desperately lacking in its ninja population.