Cutting edge: Ninja Assassin Review


The red carpet has been drawn and we’ve all seen the blood and gore, and now we’re left with one conclusion about Ninja Assassin, starring Korea’s very own Rain: It’s a KILLER movie. The question is, does it mean “killer” as in it’s-damn-kick-ass-good, or did it leave audiences feeling assassinated after watching? *edited*

Let me begin with an explanation as to why I’ve been MIA in this blog a lot lately. The reason is that well, not only because I’ve been terribly busy, but more importantly, the company where I’m working at is making a huge CRACKDOWN of websites such as Twitter, Facebook, wordpress, basically every site that allows us to have a life. IT SUCKS. Before I could sneak in a post or two when I’m on breaks, but now… nada. Oh well, I’ll try my best to keep the fangirl in me alive, ‘coz I’m seriously starved and craving of hot idol eyecandies LOL.


***

Rain in Training



On to the review! For those who haven’t seen it yet, here’s a rather simple breakdown of the plot: Ninja Assassin is about Raizo (Yoon Sungwoon, Joon Lee, Rain) who was kidnapped at a young age and trained by the Ozunu clan to become a killing machine in exchange of gold. In other words, he was in a ninja-producing factory where the outputs are buckets of blood and decapitated bodies. He was one of the most promising students and does not know life and love outside their closed quarters, until Kiriko (Anna Sawai), a female ninja showed him unconditional kindness. But when Kiriko was killed because she tried to escape, Raizo wages war against the clan. On the other side of the fence, a Europol agent, Mika Coretti (Naomi Harris) begins investigating the secret world of the mythical ninjas to find out—is Raizo really a ninja assassin (a ninja who is an assassin) or one who assasinates ninjas?


Before we answer that question, let’s first ask, “Just what exactly IS a ninja anyway?” Urban Dictionary gives hilarious definitions: Ninja’s tears cure cancer. Too bad they never cry. Bullets dodge ninjas. Ninjas created the Internet. Ninjas invented the wheel– twice. Ninja don’t smoke, but they do use smoke bombs. Ninjas put pants on 2 legs at a time. When ninjas do push-ups, they don’t push themselves up, they push the world down. LMAO.

***
The young Raizo

Played by a familiar kid who appeared on Star King as the little Jaejoong!


I swear, I cried a lot when his feet got slashed and whipped! How can you do that to a little kid??!

With the real Jaejoong and little Yunho. LOL how very fitting

***

Being his first-ever leading role in a Hollywood film, Rain carries with him tremendous pressure, despite having had a bit role in Speed Racer. Critics wrote: “The performances do little to help matters. Korean pop star Rain doesn’t display any of the magnetism that presumably made him a star in the first place, instead turning in a performance best described as Keanu-esque,” and “And our action hero moves well, although he’s more Mist than Rain when delivering dialogue.” Ouch. I’ve seen one too many Keanu movies and no matter what character he portrayed, he always had this surfer dude monotone, almost emotionless voice. Considering English is not Rain’s first language, this might have hampered his delivery of the lines. BUT I think his style was just fine. I mean, you can’t have a ninja with a piped up/cheery voice, right? It’s all part of his mysterious aura. Then again, there were some parts where his lines seemed garbled and his lines were so limited you can almost count them all. In this case, Raizo would be better of as a man of action instead of words.

As for Joon Lee as the teenage Raizo, I have to say, even with all my MBLAQ bias, he was real good. He was able to express emotions with just one look of his eyes, and you can see he brings something fresh to the screen. His acting conveyed fear, wonder, confusion and resentment—you can tell this guy is on to something.

***

Brothers separated at birth?


Yes, this is Lee Joon. I had to do a double take because he gives off that vintage Rain feel.

Like I said before, I never saw the resemblance between him and Rain, but their mannerisms and acting style are quite similar. Though Rain acts better in his home base, and somehow, Joon seemed just a little more at ease. Perhaps he didn’t want to disappoint Papa Rain. I’ve never heard anyone say “Liar” so sexy!

Then there’s this issue about blood splattering everywhere, almost every other minute of the story. When you watch a movie with the words “ninja” and “assassin” thrown together, that’s to be expected. But personally I’m not fond of a bunch of guys in a catfight where one ends up with a limb detached while the other swims in a pool of blood. In this movie, the fight scenes were artistically done, especially the one where Raizo battled a ninja in Mika’s room, and the final score between him and his master. That was literally hot. I would say that the hottest fight scene would be the one where Lee Joon had his eyes blindfolded, but I’m thinking about another scenario where I spank him while he screams for more. heehee.

In one of the rare humorous scenes in the movie, Mika was caught lying about her size. I would too if Rain was buying me clothes!! Add a lingerie to that please! ROFL


Despite these “cool” action scenes, the movie has garnered a reputation of being “brainless,” a movie that requires no thinking. A word from the critics: “As a viewer, your only task here is to watch, eat popcorn, and laugh, jump or shriiek—whichever works for you whenever you see heads roll, limbs fly or or hemoglobin spurting,” and “This movie knows exactly what it is: Gonzo silliness about bodies turned into human salsa.” Lastly, “Turn your brain off and turn up the blood splatter.” While I agree about not overthinking, there is more to this movie than throwing up blood.

Here we can see the question of freedom, oppression and of course, the proverbial battle between good and evil. How can one be “good” when your methods include slashing someone dead with blades or make a human slushie using washing machine? Can you still consider it good to fight using the same method of violence your enemy is known for? Then again, Raizo was doing the only thing he knows, and that is everything he was taught as a ninja. About the topic of freedom, it was expressed in a witty way by Kiriko when she was put inside a bamboo cage: “Why am I in here? Or… Why are you out there?” *is jealous when Joon fed her water with a straw* *raises fist*

For me, the film just lacks a little fine tuning and some fight scenes fall flat. Though I love the effects when ninjas come closer and Raizo hears their thoughts. Very Harry Potter dementor-esque. One thing’s for sure, I agree with what this critic had to say, “the audience is treated to lovingly photographed training sequences in which a glistening, shirtless Rain performs, for example, handstand push-ups on a bed of screwdrivers. With his long hair and matinee-idol looks, he cuts quite a profile in Ninja Assassin.

***

Too fly for the red carpet!


Here’s to wishing Rain being the star of Hollywood red carpet events!


P.S. To kindhearted people out there, please help me Tweet this post ‘coz I can’t!!!:)

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2 Responses

  1. LOL I love:

    “The question is, does it mean “killer” as in it’s-damn-kick-ass-good, or did it leave audiences feeling assassinated after watching?”

    and

    “…is Raizo really a ninja assassin (a ninja who is an assassin) or one who assassinates ninjas?”

    lol

    Anyway, love your article! Although I watched it with a very very biased mind, I think the story line is a bit … er cheesy? Like a very typical Asian movie made in the western (isn’t that the case?). There are quite a few scenes that made me roll my eyes (due to my poor memory I can’t remember what ^^;;), like something out of a movie from 20yrs ago.

    I was just so so with MBLAQ but Lee Joon was FANTASTIC!!! (Had to ask around afterwards which MBLAQ’s member plays young Raizo! haha). I agree with everything you say about him! *lol that sounds bias* –> “He was able to express emotions with just one look of his eyes” *nods head* 😀 And on a side note, I too would love to hear Lee Joon’s heartbeat xD (I went raiding MBLAQ’s files after this movie haha)

    The fighting scenes at the end was whoah niceeeee …. totally love it … but I wish they didn’t fight at such dark places *lol* Damnit I wanna see Rain’s ninja moves clearly ! *itching to turn on the lights* But then again it might be too bloody if all the chopping-body-parts scenes were done in a bright setting *lol*

    Random thought: I can totally imagine this movie as a comic^^

    Whew I think this is the longest comment I’ve ever made on a post haha~ *goes off to find more MBLAQ’s files*

    • Hii! Thanks for the long post I do agree some of the fight scenes were too dark, but I guess the director wanted to give it more mystery, or it was probably bad cgi effects lol. And I also would kill to lean on Joon’s chest—or better yet, have him lean on mine! LOL! Damn that boy’s got a huge chance of surpassing Rain someday, given enough time and practice. I’m sure there’s a reason why Rain chose him, he probably saw himself in Joon! And I agree, some parts especially the dialogue were too cheesy, like the zen sayings by the master “betrayal begets blood. ” Something’s always lost in translation when an Asian aspect is done in a Westerner’s eye.

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