Hollywood Product: Ninja Assassin
Action overkill takes this movie down for the count
GENRE: Super-violent martial arts action flick
THE PITCH: One-man army Raizo (RAIN) exacts revenge against the Ozunu clan who taught him his deadly craft while simultaneously safeguarding Europol agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) after she uncovers its existence.
MONEY SHOTS: It’s a toss up between the CGI-heavy kusari gama fight sequence and the movie's cumulative carnage. During the final fight sequences, Raizo battles two of his former clansmen with a katana sword while they attack him with their long-chained kusari’s in an all-out brawl. There’s no way to describe the various methods the ninjas used to kill their targets without spoiling the murderous highlights that make this movie fun to watch. I can mention, however, that explosive blood splatters are punctuated in most of the various kills scenes in the film.
BEST LINE: While trying to come to grips with her morbid circumstance, Coretti notes, “I’ve taken a Tae Bo class, that’s the extent of my martial arts training” to Raizo.
WORST LINE: Any of the predictable one-liners delivered from Raizo. Think Terminator Schwarzenegger puns mixed with Jackie Chan cutesy lines while staring at open flesh wounds.
PRODUCT PLACEMENT: The obsessed special agent Coretti quickly connects all the dots of her investigation using an Apple Mac Book. While Coretti is discussing the red flags in an assassination case over lunch with confidant and co-agent Ryan Maslow (Ben Miles), she and her partner sip on Pepsi Light soda from tall, classic glass bottles.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST NINJAS: Buy a BMW. When Coretti attempts to flee a horde of ninjas seeking her and Raizo’s head, she jumps into a company BMW and heads toward the open street. The windshield alone was strong enough to stop multiple shurikens, a couple of katana blades and, after a headlong crash into a parked car, started up without a hitch — now that’s quality engineering.
DID I JUST SEE XIAOLIN NINJA SEX? In a flashback sequence, a pubescent Raizo (Sungwoong Yoon) lies in bed and listens intently as he matches his heartbeat with female ninja-in-training Kiriko (Kylie Liya Goldstein), who does the same from across the room. After a couple of minutes, they both slink contently into their covers with a satisfied grin, never muttering a word.
BODY COUNT: It was hard to keep an accurate tally due to the sheer amount of carnage. I lost count around 80, which was prior to the climactic bloody ending. I suspect an additional 30-40 bodies were mangled in the final fight sequence.
BOTTOM LINE: James McTeigue and the Wachowski Brothers pull out every trick in the book to make Ninja Assassin one of the bloodiest, action-packed films to date. This movie is 10 percent story and 90 percent violent action. Look at it like a rollercoaster ride — you'll need a strong stomach to handle the two-hour bloodletting. Upon leaving said ride, you walk away with the excitement the coaster provides but don’t recall much of the twists and turns it takes.