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11.24.2009

ninja assassin in theaters tomorrow


All right. So Ninja Assassin, starring South Korean mega-popstar Rain, opens in theaters everywhere tomorrow. I had a chance to watch it a couple of weeks back, and basically, it's a big-ass, bloody action extravaganza. Lots of flying sharp objects, severed limbs, and abundant blood splatter. It's also really, really ridiculous.

Hey, the movie is called Ninja Assassin. That should be adequate indication of what you're getting into. If that doesn't do it, the opening scene definitely will. It's not often you see someone's hands get chopped off on the big screen. And as far as I'm concerned, there aren't enough movies with guys swinging around a blade attached to a long-ass chain.


As action movies go, it delivers. If you go into the theater with a desire to see copious amounts of asskicking and decapitation, this is the movie for you. Remember all those awesomely bad ninja movies that came out in the eighties? Ninja Assassin is bringin' back, only with a budget for CGI special effects.

Hell, they even brought in Sho Kosugi for this movie.

The movie goes to great lengths to show how much one should fear the ninja -- mystical, stealthy, lethal. The opens with an old dude who fears their legend so much, he dares not even utter the word "ninja." Ninjas are the like the boogeyman... with throwing stars. Look, I like ninja action as much as the next guy, but this movie is damn silly.


So we've got this big budget Hollywood movie starring an internationally recognized Asian in the leading role. Hooray for Rain, who is not a martial artist by training. He's got moves, but as we know, they're of the dancing variety. But if you want to make it as an Asian actor in Hollywood, you best some learn some martial arts.

And I guess that's my overall problem with the movie. You've got a large number of Asians in the cast. This only happens every so often. But when it does, it's usually just another excuse to bust out samurais, or geishas, or in this case, ninjas, with all the usual exotic, mystical Asian nonsense.


Don't get me wrong -- it's cool to see a strong Asian male protagonist kicking ass. And Rain ain't half bad at standing there and looking badass. This is a good role for him -- very physical, and mostly silent. You just wish Asian actors didn't have to jump through these hoops to have a decent chance at breaking through in the industry.