The reason you see so many books on ninjas in the self-help/datingsections is because they're so damn good at keeping secrets.
Everyone knows the key to success in love is communication. How canyou expect to sustain a long-term relationship without being able toclearly express to your partner how much better you are than them? Isthere anything more important than being able to forcefully andrepeatedly remind your love how if he or she ever left you, they wouldhave no hope of ever finding anyone as great as you again?
Ninjas can't do that, and that's why, as glamorous as all thenunchucks, masks and shadowy meetings with imperial viceroys may be,it's a royal pain to date them. Ninjas are so hopelessly secretivethat even in Ninja Assassin, a movie that's about nothing butninjas, we still come out of it knowing almost nothing about them — andwouldn't want to, given what we've just seen here.
For a 1,000 years, the ninja clans have secretly trained theworld's deadliest assassins, offering their lethal services for ahundred pounds of gold. Their activities have remained hidden, butInterpol agent Naomie Harris finally has evidence of their existence.
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Threatened with exposure, the ninjas come for her. Her only hope ofsurvival lies in the protection of Rain, a rogue ninja in a one-manwar against his former clan.
And I do mean "war." It's a well-known fact that, alone, a ninja isthe most perfect killing machine on earth, but when they attack inpacks, they better hope they can get a group rate at the local funeralhome. As one against many, it should thus come as no surprise thatRain kills a lot of ninjas. He kills so many ninjas that broodingteenagers will have to dress in navy blue because of the sudden globalshortage of black cloth. He kills so many ninjas we're not likely tosee another ninja movie during this generation because all the availableninjas are now dead.
So Ninja Assassin is kind of violent. Director James McTeiguesplashes around so much CG blood his choreographer must have been DeepBlue's cousin Bright Red. Severed arms fly across the screen like aflock of geese with watches around their necks. The fights are nothingspecial, but all that spattery crimson is enough to snap you out of apost-turkey torpor.
Thing is, the script is just schizophrenic. Writer J. MichaelStraczynski was brought in late to brush up Matthew Sand's script, andthat's precisely how it feels.
Some lines are honestly funny while others, like every single linespoken during the youthful romance that serves as the story'slinchpin, are so stupid that by the time I left the theater my brainwas so hammer-mashed I no longer knew the alphabet. (Fortunately, allit takes to bribe a teacher is a flat of ramen. I was back into akindergarten class that same afternoon.)
As for the plot, if you took out all the scenes where ninjas dice eachother into sashimi with throwing stars, you would be a very saddenedviewer. I may have been too busy wiping blood from my eyes to notice,but it seemed as though all Rain did in the first act was stand around hisapartment flexing. If this sounds like a treat, let me direct you tomy very reasonably priced webcam address.
The big defense for this movie will be "Don't listen to what anyonesays, it's a lot of violent fun." Well, duh it's fun! It's about ninjaskilling ninjas with sweet ninja-weapons!
But with no depth to its plot, characters, or world, Ninja Assassin consistently throwsaway every chance it has to not suck.