I’m so glad I got to review this movie! Let’s face it, ninjas are awesome, not as awesome as pirates, but a close second place. Unfortunately, ninjas have been hiding from the media lately. There hasn’t been a movie about the shadow warriors in a long time, but the ninja may be coming back into the mainstream public. Prepare yourself to enter a land of mystic powers and really, really, really violent and angry ninjas.
Alright, do you want take a guess at what the story is about? I hate to ruin the suspense, but it’s about ninjas…and assassins. It’s not hard to tell that this movie isn’t too heavy on storyline, but I’ll sum it up for you anyway. I’m fairly sure that Raizo (Rain) is an orphan out on the streets, until he is taken by the Ozunu Clan to a hidden temple in the mountains. They train him, along with other boys and girls, to become ruthless, cunning ninja assassins. All of the training sequences feel very 300-ish, but there are some fairly cool parts. So, Raizo falls in love with another ninja girl who doesn’t want to be a ninja. She would rather live life happily and grow trees, but Raizo definitely wants to kill people. Things change when Takeshi (Rick Yune) punishes her for trying to run away, which makes Raizo turn on his clan and go rogue.
Years go by, with no real explanation of what happens during this break, until an agent from Europol, Mika (Naomie Harris), figures out that the Ozunu Clan is still doing high profile hits for 100 pounds of gold. She becomes the next target, but Raizo intervenes and they begin their CGI fueled journey to take down the Ozunu Clan.
The very first thing you’ll notice while watching Ninja Assassin is that it’s extremely violent. Seriously, it was shocking to see how violent it was. Personally, I loved every second of it. Most of the blood, guts and blades were CGI, but during the fast paced action scenes, it doesn’t really matter. Not to sound cold, but the over-the-top gore was just plain fun to watch and never really got old. Some people may be offended or disgusted, but in this day in age where we’re all desensitized by the demons in our televisions, I don’t think there will be much of a stink about it.
Don’t expect this movie to be winning any Oscars with the acting, but I can’t say that all of the acting was completely awful. Rain and Naomie Harris do a decent job, along with some of the supporting cast. I have to say, I loved hearing the cliché ninja voices throughout. It really felt like watching one of the campy 80’s ninja movies. The characters are generic, but still fun to watch. One of the main “bad” ninjas pulls off some epic Darth Maul moves, using his double-bladed sword. It’s laugh-inspiring fun to watch all of the ninjas facing off with “guns blazing” special agents.
The environments that the movie takes you to are very aesthetically pleasing. There are fight scenes that take place in a dojo filled with dangling fireballs, dark, city streets and the temple that the ninjas are trained in looks pretty nifty. I think that if they hadn’t had such dramatic environments, the fight scenes wouldn’t have had such a great vibe. It was a blast seeing the great scenery while a bunch of ninjas fight to the bloody end. I mean, what could be more fun?
Another interesting thing about this movie was how they portrayed the other ninjas. Instead of them being men in pajamas with shiny toys, they did a great job of making them seem like monsters. Occasionally, I’d forget that I was watching an action movie, because they made it seem like a horror movie with evil creatures lurking in the shadows. Imagine the movie Aliens, but replace the aliens with ninjas. I really liked this unique take, because just seeing guys sword fighting was a very tired method of making ninja movies.
I’ll admit, this movie isn’t “technically” good: for some reason, all the ninjas speak English, the music is a generic blend of metal/techno/old Japanese strings and flutes, the acting is not particularly good, the story is weak, etc. The list is long, but I can honestly say that the entire movie is redeemed by one quality. It’s fun! Sometimes, movies don’t have to be deep or well done, as long as they accomplish the goal of entertainment. People were cheering and applauding throughout the entire movie when there would be memorable kills or ridiculous action scenes. So what if people are dual wielding desert eagles and blowing off ninja’s legs?
I know that this movie isn’t going to win any awards, but isn’t it enough to just be entertained for an hour and a half? I would be willing to go see this one again with my friends, just to see all of the fun fights and kills. I don’t think that anyone is going into this movie expecting much other than ninja’s killing each other in brutal and beautiful (brutiful?) ways. I know that some critics will just throw this movie aside because of it’s flaws, but I say that Ninja Assassin delivers on the fun, the laughs and the entertainment.
I give Ninja Assassin 3.5 “Gruesome Scenes” out of 5