Friday, January 13, 2012

Ninja Assassin

  Everyone has their own concept of what an ideal ninja movie would be.  Set in modern day? Or in the past?  Slow burn character study about honor and betrayal? A cheesy mystical fantasy take? Or perhaps a balls-to-the-walls slaughterfest?  In case you couldn't tell by the picture above, Ninja Assassin was made by a bunch of dudes who shared in the mutual idea that the perfect ninja movie would indeed be a gory slaughterfest. And, while I think its lacking a few elements to make it the quintessential ninja movie of all time... its certainly a perfectly awesome slaughterfest.

  Ninja Assassin is about Raizo, a trained killer who defected from his clan, and now they're out to kill him for vengeance. Its pretty much just like that more or less.  Eventually an Interpol agent gets caught up in the whole thing and Raizo has to save her life because she knows too much and now they're trying to kill her too.  There's a wealth of detail I'm leaving out, but since these reviews normally feature a plot synopsis, I had to put one in even though its inclusion is pretty irrelevant. The movie's title generally speaks for itself...

  Well, Ninja Assassin speeds ahead at a breakneck pace, only stopping when absolutely necessary to deliver essential backstory, character motivation, and plot details. All of this is handled well. Especially the backstory.  The overall plot is rather thin, but if you stayed past the opening sequence, than you're probably part of the demographic who in this case, just doesn't give a shit how thin the plot is.  Even though, typically, I do give a shit, in this instance, it really isn't necessary...

  This movie coasts by on, and boasts about two things... Lots and lots of ninjas.  Which we get. In spades. And endless loads of gore.  Which is awesome.  Buckets and buckets of blood flash across the screen in each spectacular action scene which all evolve into awesome set pieces that keep escalating and escalating until its time for more story.  Each action scene is bloodier and longer than the last. And they keep coming at an insane rate.  This is why I love this movie.  It sounds incredibly two dimensional and shallow... but its a perfectly ideal gory ninja movie.

  Its a massive slaughterhouse full of bloodthirsty ninjas and anyone who gets in their way is just more meat for the grinder. The bodycount in this movie... is ridiculously high. I don't think anyone in their right mind could keep track.  Its just brutal.  Its incredibly graphic in its swordplay and such, which results in many many MANY dismemberments, decapitations, impalings, and the like. Is it weird to say this is what I've always wanted to see ninjas do? Eviscerate anyone in their path?  Its a nice word. Eviscerate. Very appropriately used too.

  In conclusion, if you're looking for something intelligent, mature, and emotional... stay away. Please. The people who love this movie are tired of hearing the same complaints from all the haters. Yes, it hits all the pitfalls of your standard action fare, but it pulls off its meal ticket: the action scenes, with style, and skill. And in something like this, that's all I signed up for. Action. And I got it. Lots of it.  Thats what this movie does well. Taking some pretty standard concepts, putting a fresh spin on it, and delivering a stylish, intense, blood soaked action flick. If you're not super freaking eager to watch an hour and a half of nonstop graphic sword fights with legions and legions of ninjas... then don't bother. However, if you're like me, and never tire of seeing such awesomeness as this, please go ahead and treat yourself to this epic piece of cinematic junk food.

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