100 Min. | Action – Crime – Thriller | January 2010
IMDB Rating: 6.4
Director: James McTeigue
Staring: Rick Yune, Naomie Harris, Rain
Ninja Assassin Review: Bloodthirsty doesn’t even begin to describe the level of splattery carnage found throughout Ninja Assassin. If the body count is proportionate to how “cool” a ninja is, then the unrelenting slaughter makes sense, but the supernatural elements and camera tricks seem an unnecessary enhancement for the already believably elite killing machines. At least the creators know that nonstop action is what fans of the genre desire and the brutal combat barely lets up for the few snippets of plot to squeeze their way in. The equally relentless flashbacks hurt, though not as much as razor-sharp throwing stars to the face. Trained since childhood to be a deadly killer, Raizo (Rain) has since turned his back on the Ozunu clan that raised him and now seeks revenge for their numerous, heartless murders.
Forced into becoming a cold-blooded executioner, watching his friends die at the hands of the barbarous teacher (Sho Kosugi), and being mercilessly tortured into resisting all human emotions, fear and pain, Raizo has years of pent up rage to unleash on hordes of betrayed ninja assassins. Teaming up with Europol investigator Mika (Naomie Harris), Raizo steadily butchers his enemies while inching ever closer to the long-awaited bloody reunion with his former master. If there’s anything impressive about Ninja Assassin, it’s the violence. Shockingly gruesome, starting with a nauseating improvised tattooing opening sequence and graduating to no-holds-barred limb-chopping bloodshed, Ninja Assassin prides itself on inventing new ways to savagely dice up the human body. Definitely not for the squeamish, the swordplay doesn’t retain an exaggerated feel often enough – occasionally it’s borderline realistically appalling.
Extreme, gratuitous and oftentimes comical, the action is intense but the story is weak and the characters are very thinly drawn. With overdone, cinematic fire garnishing the best fights, chases through heavy traffic, thundering noises, annoyingly superhuman skills and more slicing, cutting and stabbing than could ever be considered reasonable, Ninja Assassin is exhaustingly awesome. A lethal monster trained to avoid feelings is difficult to sympathize with, but some clever editing fixes the issue with surprising uniqueness. Comparable to the fourth Rambo film in the level of pure, wanton bloodletting, (but not as realistic) Ninja Assassin brings edged weapon gore to all new heights. Ninja Assassin is a worth watch.