Ninja Assassin (2009)

Genre(s): Action / Martial Arts
Warner Brothers || R - 99 minutes - $28.98 || March 16, 2010
Reviewer: Kushmeer Farakhan || Posted On: 2010-03-15


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: James McTeigue
Writer(s): Matthew Sand (story), Matthew Sand and J. Michael Straczynski (screenplay)
Cast: Rain, Naomie Harris, Ben Miles, Sho Kosugi


Theatrical Release Date: November 25, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Deleted Scenes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Ninja Assassin is the story of Raizo (Korean pop star Rain), who as an orphan is raised by a clan of ninjas. Through a series of flashbacks, we see that Raizo eventually left the ninjas due to the only girl he's ever loved (a female ninja ironically) being killed for refusing to follow the clan's ways. Since that time, Raizo has been both proactively hunting them down and coming to the defense and aid of any people targeted by them as well. Two Interpol agents (played by Ben Miles and the gorgeous Naomi Harris) set about tracking down the ninjas and Agent Coretti (Harris) ends up chumming around with Raizo on his adventures. During this entire “plot", there's a sh*tload of NINJAAAAAAAA fighting.

Is the movie any good? Well... not really but it's not horrible either. The biggest strike I have against it by far is the overdone use of CGI blood. Every time someone gets shot, stabbed, or slashed (and in this movie, that's every 5 minutes), we see a river of really obviously CGI blood. What happened to squibs? Or Hell, even ketchup? It was really fake-y and distracting looking and I question why this was allowed to be constantly. Another strike against it is it's seemingly (but quite possibly unintentional) sense of misogyny. There are only a couple of female ninjas in the film (one the love of Raizo's life, the other a simple undercover laundry assassin) but both die in very dramatic, excessively gruesome ways and I didn't care for it (especially the laundry one).

The other problem with the film – the bland story – was often forgivable because of the constant action scenes. Let's talk about those a minute. Director James McTiegue (V for Vendetta) is very good at filming/orchestrating some cool ninja fights. At times, McTiegue goes a little over the top with the ninjas being so invincible (almost supernaturally so at times) and the violence is so gratuitous that it's kind of cartoonish but you can't knock the hard work so obviously on display. Acting wise, there's nothing here but Naomi Harris who is simply serviceable with everybody else being one note action caricatures. Rick Yune shows up as Raizo's rival at some point but it almost feels like he was only present during the couple of scenes his character has his mask off. I'm pretty sure he was a stuntman most of the film.

Ninja Assassin is just an average, run of the mill action-er.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All we get are a handful of deleted scenes that are fairly irrelevant. There's a lot more stuff with the Interpol agents (including stuff where Naomi Harris is speaking in her native English accent as opposed to the American one she uses in the final film). There are also a couple more Raizo training flashbacks that we don't need.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Video is very good overall. I'm glad that we're still getting widescreen on dvd and everything hasn't moved to fullscreen. I found a little artifacting during some of the more shadowy scenes but it wasn't a lot or often.

Okay, here's where the disc excels. Ninja Assassin is gifted with a 5.1 Dolby digital surround and you feel like the action is coming from you at all sides. The ninja star effects are heavily centralized and feel like they're coming directly for you. The music/sound effects sound magnificent throughout.



.::OVERALL::.

Ninja Assassin is a very average film with above average action scenes, subpar special features on the DVD, but phenomenal video/audio presentation. If you're just a fan of ninja B-movie level action, I think it's an easy buy but for everyone else, rent it first.