By Mike Hammersley
Walking into “Ninja Assassin,” I had a few items on my “wish list” of movie elements: good action scenes without overdoing the gore, a somewhat intriguing plot line or backstory and avoidance of cheesy, make-me-want-to-hurl themes.
Apparently I’ve been naughty, because I didn’t get ANY of those.
“Assassin” has two plot lines. The first is of an investigator who believes against all odds in the mythical theory of ninjas and ends up being right and getting her story. The other tells the story of a ninja, Ryzo, who betrays his father, the ninja master, for killing his first love and eventually goes back for revenge. The two meet up and go on daring adventure to accomplish each of their goals.
Now, back to my wish list. While the action scenes in “Assassin” weren’t terrible, the movie is up to its ears in gore. The very first scene of the movie involves everyone in the room being cut very literally in half, with everything you could imagine spilling out of them. And it was all downhill from there.
The gore really wasn’t necessary; the ninja weapons themselves are flashy enough. The fighting scenes are captivating, but they are ruined once the gore start coming in. At some points I could barely tell what was going on because there was so much red.
Another disappointment I suffered early on was the death of an interesting storyline. Right from the start I could tell what was going to happen in the beginning, middle and end. The investigator will have most people think she’s crazy, stick with her beliefs and end up correct all along, and the ninja will fight as hard as he can, face adversity and finally beat his evil father.
I can’t say that the entire movie was boring plot-wise; some of the scenes where Ryzo is a young boy in ninja training are pretty entertaining, and the strict code by which they live is fascinating as well, but the overall package is just way too predictable.
Last but certainly not least are those themes. I’m the kind of person who cannot stand those garbage lines that they repeat throughout the movie for effect, especially when they have to do with someone’s heart or willpower. Those sayings run rampant in “Assassin,” which relies on cheap themes to make it look like they have some sort of moral point, which I don’t understand. A movie as action-packed and gory as this one doesn’t require any moral themes.
So I didn’t get anything on my wish list, but at least the action scenes were decent. If you’re the type of person who wishes for action and nothing else, this is the movie for you. It’s jam-packed with fighting and weapons; even when Ryzo is by himself he’s practicing killer moves. But if you care about plot and storyline, do not waste your money on a movie like this.