Monday, November 30, 2009

Ninja Assassin (**1/2)

Ninja Assassin. 99 mins. R. Directed by James McTeigue. Written by Matthew Sand and J. Michael Straczynski. Starring Rain, Naomie Harris, and Stephen Markus.

Look, you already know whether you want to see this movie or not. One has to tip their cap to the brains behind the title for Ninja Assassin. Blunt and unassuming in its simplicity, Ninja Assassin has the potential to be the greatest movie ever made. Or the worst. What a shame then that the movie falls somewhere in between. Produced by the Wachowski Brothers and directed by protege James McTeigue, who previously helmed the much better V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin plays out over a series of flashbacks. We watch as Raizo (Korean pop star, Rain) undergoes brutal training to become a highly sought-after "ninja assassin." Imagine the training sequence in Batman Begins, and then add a lot more blood (and a lot less quality). When McTeigue isn't focused on the action elements, the movie becomes a giant bore. In fact, apart from the gloriously over-the-top first five minutes, Ninja Assassin is a drag - a repetitive, poorly lit buffet of fake CGI blood and lots of inane dialogue about hearts. There is a certain B-movie charm to some of it, but Ninja Assassin aims to be trash and it achieves exactly that.

- John


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