The best thing about ‘Ninja Assassin’ is the stylized fight scenes. The worst thing about ‘Ninja Assassin’ is the stylized fight scenes.
The fight scenes are interesting, because they’re awash in computer-generated blood flying everywhere, and they also include some impressive moves by Korean pop star Rain (who plays the movie’s hero, Raizo). But the lighting is so bad in some of them that you can’t tell what the heck is going on.
With the filmmakers involved, ‘Ninja Assassin’ should have hit it out of the park. It’s produced by ‘The Matrix’ creators Larry and Andy Wachowski, directed by ‘V For Vendetta’ director James McTeigue, written by Matthew Sand, and rewritten by ‘Babylon 5’ creator J. Michael Straczynski.
All good, right? Well, no. Straczynski did the re-write in 53 hours, and you can tell, because some of the plot makes no sense at all. The basis is that the orphaned Raizo was raised by a group known as the Ozunu – ninjas for hire – but he turned away from them. Basically, he escaped from their compound, and now they’re trying to kill him.
Meanwhile, a Europol agent (Naomie Harris) who’s investigating the Ozunu connects with Raizo, and they work together to bring down the bad guys. Or something.
Back to the fight scenes. I get that they’re supposed to be overly stylized, but all the swordfighting and blade-and-chain duels and kung fu moves are overly staged and choreographed. It’s more like performance art than fighting, to the point where it just seems fake, which doesn’t help the movie at all.
On the other hand, after seeing Rain’s awesome body, I did have a moment where it seemed like a good idea to start working out. Then it quickly passed.
Image: Warner Bros.