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Review Ninja Assassin (2009): Excessively violent but fun!

genre: action, adventure, martial arts

Ninja Assassin is more like a live action adaptation of a manga or anime about ninja's. The real bloody ones where ninja's don't mess about. The first time you watch Ninja Assassin certainly is an extraordinary viewing experience. Especially if you view it in the cinema like I had back in 2009 when this was released. On a second viewing though some flaws become apparent.

So what are these flaws? As much as I love ninja's and to see them portrayed as these almost super human beings who can kill without being seen and even sort of fly. There is one aspect that bothers me a little. That the ninja's haven't adapted to modern society. Even with all of their super human skills they can be overpowered by guns very easily. I don't know, if I happen to be a ninja and I was living today I sure would make sure I was protected by some kind of armour. Or some kevlar ninja suit of some sorts. Or learn the art of avoiding or dodging bullets like in Remo Williams. Also if you think about it how is it possible for one man to be so good that they can't beat him even when each of them at least are equal to him. And why aren't they lightning fast and super deadly all the time? Sure ninja magic is awesome but come one what is the point if it so inconsistent. 

Perhaps I am a little influenced by Sho Kosugi in his early films and how he has portrayed ninja's. While his ninja's were capable of a lot they were all grounded in a sense of realism. In his films it's shown what is conceived as magic usually is just magic and that their is a limit to their abilities. Even when the choreography is slower it's more exciting. One other problem I have is the lack of plot. For a first time viewing this is not a problem. But for multiple viewings it definitely is. It's cliche after cliche. Usually in an action film like this I don't mind that. In this case though it does detract from the action. If you want me to be invested in the main character or other characters you have to do a little better and at least give them some depth. What exactly makes Raizo so exceptional and morally right? Of course I am not blind and can see that Sho Kosugi's character is a terrible foster father. He takes in kids when they are at their most vulnerable and exploits them.But none of them have been able to withstand his terror. But somehow Raizo has the courage to do so.   

Fortunately the excessive violence makes up for most of these flaws. You are basically shown what can happen when a skilled sword fighter is able to slice and dice you. I also can't emphasize enough how cool the ninja's are. They truly are monsters to be feared. So yes certainly a must watch for fans of the genre. 

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