Ninja Assassin Movie Review
Saturday, April 17 was a day of blood. Shortly after watching Kick-Ass, where Hit Girl runs around and chops off arms, legs and heads, I invested two hours of my time into the equally gory, albeit much less satisfying, Ninja Assassin. Despite its flaws - plot, script and acting, namely - no one can argue that the movie doesn't do its name justice.
Ninja Assassin is about an undercover society of - yes, exactly - ninja assassins who are so good even the slightest semblance of a shadow allows them the opportunity to kill. One day, a government analyst stumbles onto a pattern that could confirm the existence of this mythical group, but her search simply causes her to be targeted for death. Enter Raizo (Rain), a former ninja assassin, who vows to protect her and take down his former mentor.
Ninja Assassin is a fairly routine action movie, albeit with a ton more action and violence than expected. Limbs fly, cartoonish, over-the-top blood sprays and bodies pile up - all an action fanatic really needs. And really, Ninja Assassin is satisfying on a rudimentary level for just that reason: it's stupid, but entertainingly so.
Still, one can't help but expect something more. The movie could easily be from one of a hundred run-of-the-mill directors who get hired to helm movies titled Ninja Assassin or Samurai Solder or Kung Fu Coke Dealers, but it isn't: it's from James McTeague, the director of V for Vendetta, a legitimately slick blockbuster. I wasn't blown away by V for Vendetta, but it was uniquely alluring. Ninja Assassin, on the other hand, feels like a lesser version of the Crazy 88 scene in Kill Bill Vol. 1.
Ninja Assassin's biggest problem is that the film just is taken way too seriously. The movie relies on ridiculously over-the-top moments, but never cherishes them. Instead, the film has a very standard, drab and dark feeling to it, which prevents it from being anything more than a B-grade action film.
Still, as action movies go, Ninja Assassin does have some good sequences. None are particularly noteworthy - especially since several take place in extremely dim lighting - but they are long enough and bloody enough to get you mildly excited. Ninja Assassin thrives on its action, but its lack of a clever script keep it from becoming something more.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.