Director: James McTeigue
Cast: Rain, Naomie Harris, Ben Miles, Sho Kosugi
I wasn't planning on watching this, but I got a free ticket for it, so I thought, why not? It may be a good way to waste 2 hours.
Ninja Assassin tells the story of Raizo, a former member of the ruthless ninja clan Ozunu. Through a series of flashbacks, we watch Raizo being raised by his master and put through rigorous and brutal training methods in order to become the perfect killing machine. Raizo endures it all, every beating, every painful torture until he becomes a ninja, then he turns his back on his clan after refusing to kill one of his own as proof of loyalty.
The main plot focuses on Raizo attempting to protect Mika, a Europol agent investigating the killings carried out by the Ozunu, and subsequently becomes a target herself when she gets too close. Raizo has to face off against his master and the clan to keep her alive.
Ninja Assassin is brought to you by the same guys who gave you V For Vendetta: director James McTeigue and producers Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers. As far as action films go, it doesn't disappoint in the action department. McTeigue gives us plenty of nasty hand to hand combat with bloody results. You'll get to see lots of blood, which is obviously CGI fake blood, but it's still fun anyway. Korean superstar Rain, who plays Raizo, excels in the fight sequences, and he should, considering he trained long and hard for this film not only to be able to do the action, but look the part as well.
However, Rain isn't a good actor. His acting is wooden for the most part, it's the kind of style that would give Summer Glau from the TV Terminator series a run for her money. If they ever needed an Asian terminator, Rain would be a shoo-in. Sho Kosugi, who plays the merciless master Ozunu, certainly looks the part of a classic action villain, but he gets mostly B-grade lines to spout. My only favourite line from him is after Raizo turns against him and he goes "Killlllll hiimmmmmm!!!!!" Very B-grade, but very spot on.
And that's the main problem. The B-gradeness of the film. In essence, it's a B-grade film trying to pass off as something more. It borrows elements from The Replacement Killers and Ong Bak in order to look cool, but pales in comparison to those films. And then there are the plot holes, like the ninja clan not being too discreet about their assassination activities when they're supposed to be professionals. I mean, I've seen killers from other films being more secretive and effective than these guys. And why do they speak English to one another? Aren't they Japanese?
Ninja Assassin is a nice action film to watch and forget later. That's all it is. (3.5/5)