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Ninja Assassin needs a high kick 

If we're going to play this dumb, we want more hedonistic escapism.

The main reason to like the good guys more than the bad guys in Ninja Assassin is that they're labelled that way. It probably won't stand up in court, but Raizo (pop superstar Rain) falls in the good side because he once fell in love. The fight scenes unleash disposable villain after disposable villain with the relentlessness of a video game. The only satisfaction in their defeat is the creativity in the money-shot deaths, with which Ninja Assassin is more sadistic than most horror films. But it doesn't even live up to that base pleasure.

Its lighting is incredibly dim to obscure the cheap CG blood effects. And director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) and his writers (including the Wachowski Brothers) dilute the movie's frenzy with a dry secondary story of two detectives on the case. The dialogue is exposition-heavy and too direct in articulating characters' emotions, and the haphazard flashback structure actually has Raizo trigger the memory of his ex by staring at a grate. If Ninja Assassin wants to play this dumb, it needs to take its hedonistic escapism to another level.

Ninja Assassin
Rated R (MPAA) · 99 min. · 2009
Official Site:
Director: James McTeigue
Writer: Matthew Sand and J. Michael Straczynski
Producer: Grant Hill, Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski
Cast: Rain, Naomie Harris, Ben Miles, Rick Yune, Sho Kosugi, Numan Acar, Richard van Weyden and Togo Igawa


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