This movie has all the CGI blood, action and cheese that was expected, but also supplied a surprising amount of depth. (Note: some terms are used in a relative nature)
The backstory follows Raizo, played by Rain, as he extracts himself from the warped “family” (the Ozunu Clan) that took him from the streets as a child and raised him to be the killing MA-chine that he is today. As an adult, Rain is pursued by the aforementioned clan that he has forsaken. He is joined by Mika (Naomie Harris) after he saves her life from the Ozunu. Mika, a Europol agent, is investigating a financial trail that parallels historical assassinations carried out by the near mythical Ozunu.
The depth comes from Rain’s growth from young urchin to nearly unstoppable force. It appears that time was taken to make sure some characters were given a modicum of personality. Young Raizo exhibits the coldness and skill that forces him to become the favorite son. He also proves that killing machines can fall in love, even if they do not stop said love from being slaughtered.
Ninja Assassin borrows heavily from the “classic” stories that we grew up with. When boosted by the hyper adrenaline that is known as the Wachowski Brothers, you get a wild, over the top, action flick that would make Kung Fu Theater shrivel up and become sterile.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this movie is that it took the Ninja folklore that we (ok, I…) imagined as a child and gave it credibility on a supernatural level. Ninjas literally emerge from the shadows, track you by scent, and heal themselves. Granted, this does sound farfetched, and it is. Where else can ninjas hurl shuriken with such hurricane ferocity and ridiculous accuracy they pulverize humans and embed deep into sheet metal of cars.
Take this movie for what it is… A bad ass man, with some bad ass weapons, that kills the bad guys. It exists along the same lines as Kill Bill, but gets to the point a lot quicker, and no Tarantino-esque dialogue. There could have been more dialogue with Raizo as an adult, as he spent too much time being the troubled, waaay silent anti-hero.
As incredible and fanciful it sounds, this is definitely NOT a movie for children… The R rating is definitely earned. It is for adults who don’t quite want to grow up.