Ninja Assassin Review

<em>Ninja Assassin</em> Review

The Next Classic Martial Arts Movie?

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By Stumblin - 11/30/2009
----------------------------May Contain Spoilers--------------------------------

"Ninja Assassin," directed by James McTeigue (who brought us "V for Vendetta") gives us a look on how ninjas of the modern age are brought to life, raised, trained, and how awesome they kill people. These aren't your typical poison dart spitting ninjas, they're more along the lines of, "How can I assassinate this person that would leave the most blood?" I wont go into major detail of the story, but a rough synopsis; A clan collect orphans, turns them into ninjas, however one particular clan member (Raizo, played by Korean pop singer Rain) decides to rebel against his family after finding love with a fellow ninja sister. Now an outcast, Raizo fights against his once clan family for all that it is good. Then you have the two side characters Maslow (Ben Miles) and Mika (Naomie Harris) who discover that ninjas still exists and try to uncover the truth of these ninja clans. This misfit duo eventually teams with Raizo in hopes to stop the clan and wipe them from existence.

The plot is simple enough, easy to follow with plenty of flashbacks to give you an idea what made Raizo the ninja hunter that he is. However, Maslow and Mika's characters come off as annoying extras taking the space of quality ninja action, to be honest I would have liked it better if they both have been killed. They felt like throw in characters to help give the story depth, which they did not. The story itself would have done fine without either character, and their screen presence felt awkward. Granted without them we wouldn't have the grand ending with the military machine gunning the clan HQ down, I suppose the creators of this movie wanted more interaction with the modern world. That's fine, but I think they could have done it without the cheesy side love story.

The acting was fine, nothing spectacular, but the actors did what they were supposed to do, get chopped up in little pieces with blood spewing everywhere.

For the cinematography, the camera movements and lighting where well done though in the major action areas ended up reminiscing "Batman Begins" style, the camera was just too damn close to tell what was actually happening.

The fight choreographs were alright, nothing compared to the director's "V for Vendetta" the lighting made it almost impossible to tell what was happening, which actually fit in a few scenes, but it was done almost throughout the entire movie. So really, you don't see that much martial arts in a martial arts movie, except the fight scene in the highway which was very original and amazing along with some fights in the training flashbacks it felt like the interaction of ninjas attacking fell short of what it could have been. Even though you don't see much martial arts or anything for that matter, you do get an eye full of ninja stars enhanced by CGI trail tails, which seems to be the director's call sign.

Speaking of CGI, most of it was decent, though in some scenes it was little too much, the blood especially looked down right strange in some moments. The ninja stars themselves were very stylized and were thrown around like they were being shot from a M16, they were flying everywhere! Though I could not stand the healing powers ninjas possessed, I felt it would have been better to leave that out. It made the movie even less believable and the CGI of the healing looked like crap.

I have nothing to say about the soundtrack because I don't even remember any of it. Maybe I was in awe by all the blood splattering everywhere.

----------------------------------Conclusion------------------------------------

All in all it was an entertaining movie, I found myself laughing through the majority of the film by the shear ridiculousness of the gore and action. Will this movie sit on your shelf of martial arts classics? E.g. "Drunken Master, Enter the Dragon, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Ong Bak?" Probably not. This is a rental, or a purchase from the $5-$10 DVD bin at Wal-Mart. It was good but it did not really deliver the martial arts action I was hoping for.

Though now that I think about it, this movie would instead be on the shelf next to "5th Element, Demolition Man, Shoot 'Em Up, and Blood Sport."

Source: IMDb
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13 Comments
LEEE777 - 11/30/2009, 2:53 PM
I like the STAR thing you did, @ Stublin, pretty cool!

Yep im deff gonna check this baby out the weekend, cheers for the review man!
Stumblin - 11/30/2009, 3:58 PM
Thanks dude! The star thing is one of the perks of being a graphic designer. Glad you enjoyed the review!

The movie is definitely worth to see.
supermarioworldE - 11/30/2009, 7:59 PM
Nice review. I have to see it in theaters with my homies. It looks like a movie that we (me and my friends), would have a good time watching.
greenlanternsector2814 - 12/1/2009, 11:35 AM
I thought I was going to be very upset when the film started. The opening scene with the Yakuza made the acting seem extremely horrible. But as the film went on, the action in it was worth sitting through the lack of acting. I'm not much of a CGI gore fan but it worked for the movie. The director pretty much stuck with the supernatural element the ninja are supposed to be portrayed. I already expected it to not be a top-notch A+ movie but all in all I did like it. Its one I would own for background noise and then take a peek when the action scenes came on.
Stumblin - 12/1/2009, 11:44 AM
I completely agree with you fivebees, I just felt some spots the CGI gore was a little too cartoony.
Shaman - 12/1/2009, 12:09 PM
Cool review, Stumblin'.

I think McTiegue should pick up where Nolan will leave the Bat franchise and he should leave Superman's franchise to JJ Abrams as long as Mark Millar writes the script.
JerusalemJr - 12/1/2009, 12:13 PM
I think the cartoony gore was to mimic the massive blood and violence from old ninja/samurai movies. Probably helps as well that if they went into extreme CGI detail with their level of violence people would probably get sick.

Nice review btw
Stumblin - 12/1/2009, 4:27 PM
Thanks Shaman and JerusalemJr!

I think you're right Shaman, I think McTiegue is a good candidate in case the Batman franchise needed a new director.

JerusalemJr, I liked the cartoony blood and gore, I understand it was a sort of homage to old school kung-fu flicks, I just felt in some scenes it needed a little touching up. Seeing those heads fly, I could barely keep the popcorn in my mouth I was laughing so hard! I see what you're saying if they went too realistic it, but at the same time, they're chopping off heads, hands, limbs, torsos, and showing intestines. I think the audience could handle a slightly more realistic blood that's not so saturated. By saturated I mean like extremely red, in some of the environments it stood out a little too well. Just a personal preference I guess.

Thanks again for the comments guys, I'll try to make my reviews more consistent when I see a movie. I would have done "2012," but really there was no point, it just plain sucked all around ha!
LEEE777 - 12/1/2009, 4:50 PM
Stumblin @ Kudos man!!
FrankCastle1 - 12/1/2009, 5:54 PM
kraaaaaaaaaap

hated it
superman7 - 12/2/2009, 6:20 AM
You said that the fighting scene's resembled that of Batman Begins. (close camera angles, tighter punches, and quickly cut camera switches= you don't see much of the fight). It may have been done on purpose, as batman begins was. In batman Nolan wanted to make batman appear and disappear during the fight as a ninja would. He made it hard to see exactly what was going on purposefully. I bet thats what the director was going for in this.
superman7 - 12/2/2009, 6:32 AM




Stumblin - 12/2/2009, 9:20 AM
I agree with you there Superman7, but at the same time I would have liked to see more. Sometimes going too realistic can hurt the film, like the close camera and the inability to see everything. I made note about that in the review, I welcome it, but I still want to see a little more from time to time. When practically every fight is like that it loses my interest.

Maybe just a personal preference, I'm sure this seems odd, I want more realistic blood, but I want less realism in the fighting haha! Man I'm hard to please.

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