Let me be frank. I would love to eat steak, duck, lobster or some other fine cuisine each day. The reality is, I settle for much simpler fares like burgers or grilled chicken and enjoy it quite a bit. To follow this theme, Ninja Assassin is an “In-N-Out burger” of a film. It’s fairly quick and semi-digestible, yet satisfying on a Saturday night..and, yes, there is cheese.
Korean born actor/dancer/martial-artist, Rain (Speed Racer 2008), plays Raizo, an orphan taken in and trained by a deadly ninja Clan. Raizo rises to the top of the class of killers but when his friend is brutally murdered by the clan, Raizo abandons the group and plans to exact revenge. Later, in Berlin, Europol agent, Mika Coretti, played by Naomie Harris (28 Days Later, Pirates of the Caribbean), traces a series of political murders to the ninja clan that was supposed to be a myth. Mika becomes the target of the Ozunu Clan and Raizo comes to her aid. Together, they try to stay alive long enough to bring down an enemy that operates in the shadows.
This was a fun film that wastes no time giving audiences what they’ve come to enjoy in martial-arts films; fast paced, choreographed violence, enhanced with oceans of bright red, Tarantino-like, Hollywood plasma. The first half-hour of the film lulls slightly, but like many action flicks, the final hour rolls along until the final stand-off. The lead actors in this film don’t have much chemistry (tragically normal for martial-arts films) but they deliver good performances for a film centered around action. The director makes a good attempt to make the fight sequences unique but he seemed to over use CGI to depict the shadowy movement of the ninjas.
The body count and gallons of blood are excessive, and the throwing stars pop off like bullets from a semi-automatic weapon, but that’s all part of the charm of this movie. If you can check your gray matter at the door, this film can be pretty entertaining. It’s head and shoulders above Ninja Cheerleaders, so I give Ninja Assassin a good but not great, 2.5 babbles out of 5.