Director/s: James McTeigue
Writer/s: Matthew Sand, J. Michael Straczynski
Running Time: 99 mins
Budget: $40 million
Released: 25 November 2009
A young ninja turns his back on an orphanage that raised him, leading to a confrontation with a fellow ninja from the clan – imdb
Ninja – A member of a class of 14th-century Japanese assassins who were trained in the martial arts and hired for covert operations such as assassination, espionage and sabotage. I don’t want to nitpick here but the title of this film was the first thing that irritated me, it’s stupid and redundant. Let it be said now, I did not enjoy Ninja Assassin.
The only reason I decided to watch this film is because the Wachowski Brothers, along with Joel Silver, had produced the movie, and after releasing such films as The Matrix Trilogy and V for Vendetta, I thought that Ninja Assassin may have had some potential…then again the Wachowski Brothers were also responsible for Speed Racer. First off, the plot is absolutely ridiculous; it’s flawed, clichéd and generic and serves only as a stage for one fight scene after the next. While that’s not necessary a bad thing (I’m a huge action fan afterall), I may of actually enjoyed the battle scenes if they were actually good. There’s no innovation in the fight scenes at all, I mean the subject matter is Ninjas people, and in fiction (see any Ninja anime) the Ninja is pretty much capable of anything. Not only were the fight scenes boring, but the choreography was terrible, most notably during the chase scene where a group of Ninja are pursuing a fleeing car on foot. I’m pretty sure that the cameraman was running behind them the whole time he was filming and as a result, the viewer can’t see shit, I don’t expect to see this kind of amateurish camera work from a forty million dollar production.
…While I do enjoy gratuitous violence and copious amounts of the red stuff, I feel that Ninja Assassin failed on almost every level…
So what’s the selling point of Ninja Assassin you ask? Answer; geysers of blood. This is one of the bloodiest films in recent years and in true anime-style, limbs will fly, heads will roll and blood will jet from every new orifice created by Raizo’s (Rain) sword work. While I do enjoy gratuitous violence and copious amounts of the red stuff, I feel that Ninja Assassin failed on almost every level. Poor plot, lousy acting and generic fight scenes coupled with shitty CGI (like the shadow ninja effects) have ruined what could have been an awesome action movie. If you want realistic, brutal violence watch Danny the Dog (aka Unleashed), whose battle scenes are brilliant and well-choreographed and if you’re looking for definitive Ninja action you can’t go wrong with Ninja Scroll. Both of the aforementioned films are superior to Ninja Assassin in every conceivable way.
In closing, Ninja Assassin should feel right at home in the bargain bin section of your local supermarket. It has the production value of a poorly scripted Steven Seagal film, or that of a cheesy porno and while there are certainly pornographic amounts of violence in this film, they don’t make up for the shit-fest that is Ninja Assassin. Hell, the film is only going to be shown in one theatre in Japan, warning bells should be going off already…