Fabulous Fantasy Fighting

image by Veronica V. Jones

The Fantastic Truth of Ninja Assassin

Raito (Rain) fights Lord Ozunu (Sho Kosugi) to the death. Rain as the renegade ninja avenger Raito. Naomie Harris as Europol agent Mika Coretti.

With all of its explosive combat, deadly weaponry and grievous injuries, it’s easy to see how moviegoers could mistake Ninja Assassin for a martial arts movie. Yet the superhuman acts of acrobatics and recovery, and a liberal application of shinobi magic throughout, place this raucous action adventure firmly in the world of fantasy.

Ninja Assassin was born of Korean pop star Rain’s martial prowess in the psychotropic Speed Racer‘s big-screen venture, and sits atop a frenetically rewritten script from Babylon 5‘s J. Michael Straczynski. This goes a long way to explain not only the beautifully stylized combat, but the occasionally awkward dialogue and groan-inducing plot devices as well.

When a rogue ninja turns traitor on his clan and teacher, everyone knows that there’s trouble ahead for all involved. Rain performs admirably as the killer with a conscience Raito, and Naomie Harris does as well as can be expected as a Europol agent targeted for assassination by Raito’s clan for discovering the Global Ninja Conspiracy.

Those who leave their history books at home and seek a mindless romp into flashy fantasy violence will be richly rewarded.

Written by in December of 2009. Last edited September 2014.


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