Review: Ninja Assassin
PLOT: 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.
REVIEW: I had high hopes for NINJA ASSASSIN. I love a good ninja flick, having grown up on a steady diet of them as a youngster. When I heard the Wachowskis were re-teaming with V FOR VENDETTA director James McTeigue, for a modern ninja flick, I expected great things- especially once I heard Sho Kosugi (star of such eighties Cannon classics as ENTER THE NINJA, and REVENGE OF THE NINJA) was on-board as the villain.
Sadly, NINJA ASSASSIN is just another overblown, CGI filled, weak excuse for an action flick. The biggest mistake is that, instead of making the ninjas simply skilled assassins, they`re given strange, supernatural powers that allow them to heal wounds through meditation, and travel at the speed of light. At one point, this film started to feel like another ELEKTRA, and I was half expecting Rain to transform into a wolf or something by the end of the flick.
Another big problem is that, perhaps to compensate for the poorly choreographed fight scenes, every major action sequence is shrouded in darkness, making it almost impossible to figure out who`s fighting who. Couple this too much quick cutting, and too many closeups, and you`ve got an action flick without any good action.
Probably the only good thing about NINJA ASSASSIN is that, in the lead, Rain does a fairly good job, although perhaps they would have been better off with a more a more experienced martial artist (Rain`s a dancer) like Wu Jing, or Donnie Yen in the lead, who might have given the fights a bit more pizazz. I also liked the fact that NINJA ASSASSIN, like it`s Cannon Films predecessors, was a hard-R, and featured bucketfuls of gore (although it has to be said, the CGI blood is rather fake looking). It was also nice seeing Kosugi back on the big screen, but his final fight scene is mangled by crappy CGI- which is a shame as he`s still got enough moves in him to make a worthy adversary.
Chalk NINJA ASSASSIN up as a major disappointment for hardcore action fans like myself, although if you want a cartoonish action flick, and don`t really care about fight choreography and just want to see some slicing and dicing, this may be up your alley. The rest of us will have to wait for Scott Adkins` NINJA, which hopefully will get right some of the things this gets wrong.