Ninja Assassin Review
The Next Classic Martial Arts Movie?
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"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.
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."
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