Ninja Assassin Blu
Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Ryu Hayabusa and Pvt. Joe Armstrong are the extent of Ninja characters that I know about. Joe cartoon series, comic book and r hermes ecent film. Ryu is the lead character from Ninja Gaiden, one of the greatest Nintendo games of all time, whereas Pvt. Joe Armstrong is my shame. Yes, I once watched American Ninja while trapped at my grandparents house on a snowy Sunday afternoon. Ninjas and their moviesjust don have a lot of options. Whether it is quality, quantity or just straight up availability Ninja movies are hard to come by. The days of Kung Fu Theater are long gone but these trends seem to be changing. So when Ninja Assassin came my way from Warner Brothers I leaped at the chance to see a modern take on this genre.
I was completely ready for subtitles. I was actually looking forward to it. What I got was Ninjas and an international cast that spoke English better than most people do. The story unfolded as a Europol forensic researcher, Mika (Naomie Harris), unveils to her superior her theory that international gangs, businesses and governments are using Ninjas to eliminate the competition. It would seem almost out of left field if this wasn hermes paralleling how Ninjas are trained and prepared to serve their clans. We meet a young orphan named Raizo (Rain) and we see that the only thing in his life is his clan. They are brutally trained to fight and be perfect killing machines. There is of course a young woman in Raizo life who makes him learn that he has a heart. She has lines such as, heart of a tree, knows which way it grows which is said with such fluidity that you can actually see a life clock ticking down to her death. We know this is coming because we learn haphazardly through our forensic researcher that Raizo left his clan and is now looking to bring them down. This is straight up good ninja versus bad ninja movie. I was prepared for this because I knew I wasn going to see the likes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Kill Bill. What I didn expect to see was a Hammer Film.
Now for those of you that don know Hammer Films or Hammer Horror Films ran red with blood. So much blood in fact that they once called it the studio that dripped blood. Imagine if you will Hammer Studios of old making a Ninja movie. Body parts go flying, guts are spilled and there must have been a river of blood flowing every time they shot a scene. There was a lot of blood that was CGI. At times this did add to the style of the fight sequences and the scenes. If anything this film doesn lack style, if you can call a meat grinder a form of style.
Imagine my surprise when I saw that J. Michael Straczynski shares a screen writing credit. Straczynski shaped one of the best runs of Amazing Spider Man in decades. He returned Thor and Asgard to Earth. Let us not forget he also created one of the most beloved science fiction shows of the modern era in Babylon 5. The man clearly knows how to tell a story, let alone finish one. Ninja Assassin plays out like a comic book with double crosses and uneasy alliances. However there are several occurrences where I felt as if full chapters from the story were missing, as if I missed as issue or two. There is one character in particular that addresses Raizo as if they had a connection deeper than the one we are shown. If this was a subtitled film I might have thought it was lost in translation but it was not. By the end of Ninja Assassin all I could think of was, how were the Ninja clans ever going to be a secret again? After all, the Ninjas throw stars like bullets from a machine gun and there had to be literally millions all over the streets.
As far as my Blu ray experience went the 1080p only highlighted the CGI blood. It also pointed out the CGI blur that the Ninjas would use to move in and out of the shadows. On real film and in darkened theater this probably looked better. The sound was also extremely inconsistent. The dialogue was often too soft whereas the explosions were just too loud.
Ninja Assassin did not deter me from seeing another Ninja film. Actually, I am looking forward to something a littleless Americanized and not watered down. I asking you Maniacs for help. Give me your best Ninja movies below. I want subtitles. I want incredible stunts. Then again a good plot and great characters would be cool too.
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
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