The Only Review of Ninja Assassin You’ll Ever Need

I’ve declared the last half of March, and the first half of April is to be Ninja Month here at Str8 Gangster, No Chaser. For no real reason other than that’s what needs to happen. Let’s get down to business…

Ninja Assassin
Director: James McTeigue
Released: November 24th, 2009

Back in the 80’s, the ninja had a massive piece of the pop-culture pie. Getting their hands on everything from movies, to TV shows, to a mass appeal from Children’s products. Once the 90’s hit, the ninja went back to being for the truly initiated. Now, as we head into a fresh decade, it seems the ninja is back. And not a moment too soon.

Ninja Assassin is the first step towards bringing the world’s most ultimate-bad-asses back into the lime-light. Is it a step in the right direction?

I do say it is.

This may be rumor, or something I completely made up, but on set Sho was told to tone down his bad-assery. It was making too many of the male actors cry, and too many of the females crippled from orgasm.

The story is pretty easy. A young child, known as Raizo, is abducted at birth and raised by a ninja clan headed by the very firm and harsh master, Ozunu. Who, thankfully, is played by the Godfather of ninja, Sho Kosugi. Ozunu takes the child under his wing, seeing much promise in him and sees to make him his most promising son, through rigorous training, and punishment for any faults.

This is how my friends and I decide who gets shotgun. How do you pussies decide?

Due to a tight friendship, and budding love with one of the female students, Raizo starts to resent his family and upbringing. After being told to kill a female who tried to escape them, Raizo can’t stands no more, and breaks free of the clan.

He now spends his current days trying to thwart any of the clans planned assassination attempts, as well as take them out, one ninja at a time. As it so happens, there’s a girl working for a European version of our Home Land Security, and she believes that ninja still exist in this day and age, and are still killing people. However, the ninja aren’t digging on that, and plan to kill her.

The beginning to this movie is so f’ning bad-ass.

There’s a group of Yakuza hanging out, while the leader is getting an old school tattoo. One of his lackey’s comes in and hands him a letter. It’s on old parchment paper, and sealed with a wax crest, like in the old days. When he opens it, it’s nothing but black sand. They all wonder what the hell it is, but the old man knows. He gets a look of total fear, and tries to explain what the hell is about to happen. However, he’s afraid to utter the world. They scare him so badly, he won’t even say it. Once the boys realize it’s ninja he won’t say, they mock him. That is, until a guy get’s his head cut in half, which is awesome.

I just loved how much the ninja was feared here. The old man was so terrified, he couldn’t even utter the word, which is exactly how it should be.

It was well played that the ninjas would become the shadows, then all of a sudden creep out of it like a mist. The whole while, you’re hearing whispers, and taunts, almost like ghosts.

The fight scenes were great, a nice mixture of hand-to-hand and weapons, with fantastic scenery to serve as their backdrops. And although the fire in the end for the big fight is a massive Hollywood cliche’ in martial arts films, it shows just why with how great it looks, as it amps up the scene.

I didn’t like the CGI shit, to be honest. I would have enjoyed more realistic killings, not such an over-the-top style, like in Kill Bill.

I thought the whole invisible/vanishing thing was pretty stupid too. I mean, if they have such mental ability then they should never be shot, and should be able to pick up a double cross real easy like.

The ability to heal themselves like Wolverine was unnecessary too. Ninja are real things, we don’t need to make them super-human.

I also didn’t understand how a ninja’s katana can cut guns, and steel and such, but not the chain on Rain’s kama.

But like I said, it’s minor gripes, really, with the one major gripe being the CGI, and almost supernatural being of the ninja. Oh, and the fact Sho never put on the ninja mask, I wanted that so, so badly. It’s been years since I’ve seen him don it, and it’s all I wanted.

Regardless, he was the true star of this movie, and at 62 years of age he’s better than ever. I really hope we’ll get to see him again.

I’m giving Ninja Assassin 3 and a quarter star out of 5. A worthy successor to the legacy laid out in the 80’s. Here’s to hoping we get another.


~ by Caliber Winfield on March 23, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Only Review of Ninja Assassin You’ll Ever Need”

  1. And let’s not forget, this film has uber-famous and oh-so-sexy Korean pop singer/dancer/model sensation RAIN in the film’s lead role. This guy is the very definition of badass: a fashionable teenybopper icon by day, and cold-blooded, MFing ninja assassin by night.

    I’ve sadly yet to see this, even though I’ve been meaning to watch it since it was released, and have the computer file on a disc and ready to stick into my DVD player. I think I must have been waiting on your approval. So.. I heretoforth vow to watch the film before the end of Ninja Month. There.

  2. Haha, yeah, I was pretty bummed to find out that Rain had no previous martial arts experience before filming.

    I thought, really? There’s no other guy out there who’s Asian and has a martial arts backround? What about Kane or Shane Kosugi? They’ve been rocking it since Revenge of the Ninja and Pray for Death.

    See, if only people were smart enough to wait for my approval, or dis-approval, they’d save so much time.

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