Friday, November 20, 2009

NINJA ASSASSIN - Chopsocky & Cheapsocky

NINJA ASSASSIN (action drama)
Cast: Rain, Naomie Harris, Ben Miles, Rick Yune, Sho Kosugi, Guido Foehrweisser, Stephen Marcus, Randall Duk Kim and Sung Kang
Director: James McTeigue
Time: 98 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: Somewhere after the middle of this movie, someone commented that Rain's character, Raizo (pictured), looks more like a band boy than an assassin. And I laughed out loud because those were my sentiments exactly. The pop singer-turned-actor is just eye-candy here.

Indeed, Ninja Assassin is a dry (despite the presence of Rain), no-brainer of a film aimed at action-flick addicts in need of a fix. It is a chop-socky effort and a cheap-socky one at that.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? There's this ancient Ozunu clan which had for hundreds of years been killers for hire not only in Japan but throughout the world. Its fee? One hundred pounds of gold! (No wonder they invented suicide bombers).

Raizo (Rain) is a member of the clan who has a change of heart when he witnesses the murder of the girl he loves. While on a job in Berlin, Raizo teams up with Europol agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) to go against the brutal, sadistic clan leader (played by veteran martial arts icon Shu Kosugi) and expose the hired killers.

HITS & MISSES: If you are looking for violent blood-splattered sequences, you get them here. If you want classic Ninja-styled action with flying blades and supernatural stunts, you get them too. Under the direction of James McTeigue, this effort looks like its made from a comic book on 1,000 Ways To Cut Up Your Victim.

However, if you want a decent plot and storyline, sorry, you won't find them here. If you want wit and humour, good acting or even proper dialogue, wrong movie. As the hero, Rain has the charisma of a sourpuss - even if his Raizo is trained to show no emotion at all. Harris, however, supports him well.

THE LOWDOWN: Only if you like bloody brainless flicks.


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