(Rain, Naomie Harris, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (2009) 2010 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Taken from the streets as a child, the orphan Raizo (Korean pop artist Rain, in his first leading role) is molded into a deadly assassin through methods that might make even the strong of stomach wince. The story flows from present-day Berlin to Raizo's brutal training by the Ozunu, one of the mythical Nine Clans that perform political assassinations around the world. Refusal to follow an order by the clan leader forces Raizo into a life on the run.
DVD Verdict: If you want some extremely bloody ninja action, you'll get enough for three movies with 'Ninja Assassin.' I can't think of a film that has as many limbs being cut off or higher body count than this one. Maybe the first 'Kill Bill' flick and that's really saying something. After reading a lot of reviews from the critics, I expected a horrible story and acting to go along with the carnage, but neither were that bad.
I never heard of the lead actor, played by Rain, but he is suppose to be a big singer and martial artist in Asia. His performance was on and off, but his physicality stole the show. I felt the scenes that showed the main character's training from a young boy to a man at a secret assassin fortress added some depth. That sensei doesn't mess around!
Even though ninjas prefer to engage in combat in the dark, I like how you can still see what is going on in most of the fights. The many action scenes are the highlights for sure. They are brutal beyond belief, but some of the blood was a little too CGI for my tastes. Still, there were many creative kills using various slice and dice weapons. The opening scene has the most memorable kill, setting the tone for the rest of the film. And how can you not love seeing massive ninja stars being thrown at a machine gun rate of speed?
The story is your typical martial arts fare and the acting ranges from pretty good to mediocre, but you should know better than to watch this for either of those elements. I remember a couple of weeks ago saying how the destruction of the Earth, as seen in the movie 2012, won't likely be surpassed. Well, I doubt there will ever be another ninja film that throws as much violence, gore and action into just a little over 90 minutes. If there's a sequel, you can count me in!! [MD] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with Special Features of: