Usually, the cinematic offerings available over Thanksgiving weekend mark the beginning of the "Holiday Movie Season", flooding screens across America with Award hopeful pap, family friendly nonsense, and heartwarming (or tugging) formulaic dramedies (drama + comedy, keep up people).
Ninja Assassin is none of these.
Destined to win no awards, warm few hearts, or be heralded as the "Family must see of the Holiday season"- Ninja Assassin is a fast paced and ultra violent film from James Mc Teigue and those wacky Wachowski brothers (same people behind the underrated 2005 flick V for Vendetta).
Staring Asian actor Rain, Ninja Assassin follows a Europol investigator, Mika (Naomie Harris), probe into a series of unexplained, bloody, high profile deaths which seem to inexplicably point to the involvement of 9 legendary clans of ninja, whom for thousands of years did the dirty work for the world's governments. But as evidence begins to come up proving the existence (and involvement) of the ninja clans, so too do the threats against Mika, putting her in the middle of one disgruntled ninja's (Rain) personal war with his former clan.
Fast paced, violent, and hip- Ninja Assassin hopes to deliver an entertaining death blow to holiday moviegoers. But how does it measure up????
- - With a 99 minute running time, Ninja Assassin does just enough to keep you. A compelling enough story and adequate acting do enough to compliment the ultra stylized ninja combat.
- - From the opening scene until the closing credits, someone loses a limb at least once every two minutes. While the action is very much like a well produced video game, it does not change the effect of what you are seeing. Cool enough to keep action addicted males fist pumping throughout the film, while cartoonish enough to keep their dates from puking in the popcorn.
- - At no point does this movie attempt to take itself too seriously. It fully understands what it is intended to be and achieves its goal with ease. Smart and fun to watch, Ninja Assassin is an edge of your seat kind of movie that will do for ninjas what 28 Days Later did for zombies (reintroduce them to the more sophisticated 21st century audience).
The Not So Good:
- - You get bored with the CG enhanced blood splatter featured prominently throughout the movie. Not enough to make you leave or affect your overall experience, but enough that I (and others I saw this with) made a note of it.
Ninja Assassin does in 99 minutes what Kill Bill was too self indulgent to do in two three hour long films. Fun, fast, and furious- Ninja Assassin is a for sure must see this holiday season.
Overall, Ninja Assassin is a solid four flusher; nowhere near a perfect film but far too entertaining to care about its flaws.