Ninja Assassin – A Review

So, we meet again, Ninja Assassin. We spoke of you here and very briefly here. I, for one, didn’t really give a shit about your existence, and now that you have finally graced my cinematic dojo, I REALLY don’t give a shit about your existence. Why’s this? You have no honour and you’re already dead (fuck yeah, got a Fist Of The North Star quote in somewhere).

Seriously, guys, if you love your OTT ninjitsu violence then you need to be looking elsewhere, for I found this to be abysmal. Directed by James McTiegue, and produced by Joel Silver with the Wachowskis (isn’t one a chick now?), you’d have thought this might have some standing merit. Wait, wait, Matrix Revolutions…yes sorry.

One point that saddens me most was that J. Michael Stracynzski was credited as being a co-writer of the screenplay with Matthew Sand. JMS is someone I’ve always admired in terms of writing, his comic work especially, yet I’m wondering how much of his vision was actually used here. The plot is thin and completely messed up. It’s also rather cliched as we find our main character, wanting out of his clan and having to fight to take a dump or exacting revenge on somebody. Do I care? No! Question begs, as a ninja is supposed to be ever so stealthy, why was he aiming for the noisiest way possible of dispatching his enemies? Noooo not here, let’s pop as many lamps as we can, throw large boxes everywhere, make sure we miss with our heavy shuriken and grunt like a large boar when moving! Ninja win!

That’s just, in a nutshell,  how the opening scene is played out. Don’t expect this action throughout by any means. Once this is over, we take a stroll down Tedious Avenue for a bit, fleshing out what little story there is. Someone in the clan is dead. Okay let’s talk for thirty five minutes about how one exacts his revenge until we decide it’s time for our lead to take his shirt off! As we venture towards the fight scenes, to the movie’s credit, they’re really well executed. In fact, the movie could have benefitted greatly from absolute zero dialogue and non stop scraps. Sadly, people were allowed to talk, and talk they do for a lot longer than necessary. Also, in another case of sad flu, there emerges a new pox amongst the movie community.


I’ve seen it on two occasions now. This and Romero’s Survival Of The Dead (and I’m sure a review of that is coming soon) are the guilty parties who have used it recently. Both films have displayed it correctly. Correctly, as in, “don’t do it“. Doesn’t it cost more to make blood splatter via awful CGI than to throw ketchup everywhere these days? Is it necessary? No! Stop it. Two examples of movies that have used it already should be at the forefront of a “Just Say No” campaign. It really does disrupt the images you see, and to a point, cheapens the movie.

To summarise, despite being a claret filled ride, Ninja Assassin is, what I think, a movie made to make people appreciate The Matrix even more (yep, people are still using Bullet Time effects), a movie hoping that it’ll become a cult on the hi def home market (and in fairness, it probably will look good on blu ray, but remember CGI BLOOD) and a movie that’s dying for schoolkids to talk about in the yard about how awesome it is. If our curriculum was any good, the kids would be watching Drunken Master IV: I Kick Your Ass. We’re writing that. Tomorrow.

Ninja Assassin scores a 1.5 extending nunchaku out of 5.

One Response to “Ninja Assassin – A Review”

  1. I just don’t understand how people make a dull movie about ninjas. Like adding cheese to a meal, the presence of ninjas can only make your movie better. Elektra too… an incredibly dull movie about ninjas!!! There is however a DTV movic just out called Ninja which actually pretty frickin sweet…

    McTiegue also did CGI blood in V for Vendetta which again took the polish off the action sequences.

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