WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A UN investigator (Naomi Harris), becomes the target of a deadly Ninja clan, when she threatens to expose their existence. Her only hope is a young, rogue ninja, Raizo (Rain), who breaks with the clan after his master (Sho Kosugi), kills the woman he loves.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I hated NINJA ASSASSIN when I saw it in theaters. I had been looking forward to seeing it for months, as I had hopes it would be a fun, cheesy, throwback to the Ninja/ Cannon Films I grew up with, like ENTER THE NINJA, and the Sho Kosugi classic, REVENGE OF THE NINJA. When Kosugi himself was signed to play the villain, I was ecstatic, and I predicted that NINJA ASSASSIN would be THE bad-ass action ride of the year.
I was wrong. Instead of being a hard-core martial arts flick, NINJA ASSASSIN was just another overblown, CGI filled action flick with very little actual martial arts prowess on display, with a lot of the action flicks being staged with either over-the-top wirework, or very obvious CGI. The film didnít have many memorable action scenes, with the ninja action paling compared to the Cannon Films of my youth, which- truth be told, were never that good to begin with.
Funny enough, Blu-Ray actually improves NINJA ASSASSIN. With my expectations in check, I decided to give it another spin, and sure enough, I enjoyed it a lot more that I did theatrically. It has a fun vibe throughout, and some of the gore effects are great. Helping matters enormously is that the Ninja action is a lot easier to decipher on blu-ray, with many of the shrouded in darkness action scenes being ruined in theaters by what must have been some sub-par projection work from the theater I saw it in.
Surprisingly for such a new film, NINJA ASSASSIN is somewhat lean on the extras. All we get are a handful of featurettes, and none of them have any input from the notoriously press shy Wachowskis. First up, The Myth and Legend of Ninjas which is a look at the historical basis of ninjitsu, and is a somewhat interesting piece. This is followed by
The Extreme Sport of a Ninja which details the martial arts involved in this world, and is matched up by another featurette, Training Rain which details the insane training Korean pop-star Rain went through after signing onto this film (it's worth noting that Rain does not have a martial arts background, but is a dancer).
Finally, we get some rather talky Additional scenes which were wisely taken out of the film, as it was talky enough for a Ninja flick.
Overall, NINJA ASSASSIN is not a particularly great action flick, but its fun for what it is. If you like your action films coated with a heavy dose of fromage, you could do worse that check out NINJA ASSASSIN.