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NINJA ASSASSIN_worst movie ever (not really)

November 30, 2009

Okay, remember when I said all those good things about director James McTeigue?  I take it back.  All of it.  I found myself at the cinema this past weekend and I, rather inexplicably considering The Road is out in theaters, choose to see Ninja Assassin.  And the movie was terrible.  It was beyond terrible.  It might be the worst movie of 2009… but since I will never see 2012 that is something I will never be able to say.  I will say this, however: Ninja Assassin is the worst thing I’ve seen since that five-minute preview 20th Century Fox released for 2012.   That says a lot.

Where to begin?

The actors. I guess Rain was okay as Raizo, our ninja hero… as long as he didn’t talk.  Fortunately, he didn’t talk much so I’m cool with him.  Wait… my opinion of him is quickly waning.  Moving on.  Naomie Harris plays the film’s leading lady.  Well… she just shouldn’t be a leading lady.  Ever.  How the hell did she make it through the audition?  You’d think somebody would have noticed, sometime during the production, that she simply can’t act.  At all.  I actually found myself dreading the moments she appeared on screen.  And then there’s Ben Miles as a good-guy/bad-guy/good-guy-again detective.   He should never have more than two lines of dialogue per film.  At least he has a British accent but even that lost its luster after three lines of dialogue.  Put the three of those C-list actors together and you get some of the worst chemistry I have ever spent money to see (along with some of the worst delivered dialogue added for good measure.)

The plot. Yes, I’m including spoilers – because you should never see this movie for yourself.  Understand?  Okay. So the movie opens with a gory scene in which a man tells us about ninjas… and that he was once stabbed by one (fortunately, his heart is on the other side.)  Then through some flashbacks we learn there’s a secret clan that kidnaps little children (kidnapped children are always so eager to learn) and trains them to be the world’s deadliest assassins.  One of these ninja assassins goes rogue and exacts revenge on the clan.  Some chick, played brilliantly by Harris, is randomly investigating the clan at the time, never mind she’s an American working in Germany (whose commander is British.)  Since she’s snooping too deep, the clan tries to kill her (there may have been a “curiosity killed the cat” line in there somewhere.) For some reason Raizo saves her (it’s hinted that he has a thing for chicks.) Then the agency she works for captures them both.  Because they knew about the ninjas all along.   Then the clan tries to kill Razio.  They fail, awkwardly.  Then they try not killing him, instead returning him to their master (back in the mountains of who-knows-where Japan.)  Luckily this gave Raizo time to heal his mortal wounds (super powers, hurray!)  And, of course, the girl planted a homing device on him (technology, hurray!) so just as Razio is about to be killed, the chick arrives with an army at which point the ninjas, who most of the movie were more ghost-like mythical beings (faster than both bullets and flashlights) become completely incompetent and are machine gunned down (note: the ninjas also showed difficulty avoiding on-coming traffic.)   During the massacre heroic rescue, Razio battles his master.  But only after the chick is pseudo-killed (her heart’s on the other side too, hurray!) does Razio finally get angry enough (it’s important ninjas be angry) to defeat his master once and for all.

So… well… that’s it.  That’s the plot.   What would ordinarily fill about 21 minutes of content on a Saturday morning cartoon is bloated to about 100 minutes of crap cinema.  I’d like to tell you the film’s style is cool… but its not.   I’d like to tell you the film’s fight choreography is top-notch… but its not.  I’d love to tell you the access blood and gore is mildly entertaining… but it’s more annoying than anything.   And, like every terrible movie, the audience is left with some puzzling questions: Why the hell can governments (most likely agencies) contact and hire this clan of ninjas to do their dirty work but this government agency, the one the chick works for, can’t find them to save their butts?!  Who the hell is helping Razio before he meets this chick anyway?!  Somebody is.  Somebody freaking calls him and tells him the clan’s next target.  But we’re never told who. Where the hell are all the ninjas-in-training (i.e. kidnapped children) at the end of the movie?  I’d of liked to have seen them gunned down as well.  And how the hell did they drive those Hummers and SUVS all the way up to the clan’s hideout at the end of the movie anyhow?!  This is a secret monetary, right?  Hidden high in the mountains.  Like Shangri-La, right?  Sigh.

What the f*ck happened?

James McTeigue (and the Wachowski Brothers.) I had really high hopes for McTeigue.  V for Vendetta was, and still is, one of my favorite films.  I guess I should feel fortunate to now know that it wasn’t McTeigue who made V for Vendetta so enjoyable but the ever-present, ever-watchful producing (read: forced direction) of the Wachowski Brothers that made that film so cool.   What baffles me though is that the Wachowski Brothers also produced Ninja Assassin.   It must have been in name only because, comparing V for Vendetta to the Matrix, and V foe Vendetta to Ninja Assassin, the film has much more in common, in both direction and style, with the former.  Watching Ninja Assassin, their presence was completely missing… unless, of course, this is just the next step in their downward spiral (Matrix 2 and 3…. Speed Racer.)  I guess only time will truly tell but, in the meantime, I know with absolute certainty that I can’t wait will never spend another dime to see a James McTeigue film.

And that’s that.    Thoughts?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2009 3:54 am

    Man, are you fickle. Fool Kugler once shame on you, fool Kugler twice… Kugler won’t see your stupid films anymore. Though I won’t blame you except to say when I saw this trailer it looked terrible. Now go see 2012 and really lay into a film.

  2. cklockwork permalink*
    December 1, 2009 4:00 am

    Ha. I’m scared to see 2012. I might go Ninja Assassin on them… whether that means a bad review or I exact serious revenge on the filmmakers I don’t know. At least it would give me purpose.

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