Tuesday 26 January 2010

Ninja Assassin

Ninja Assassin
James MacTeigue
Warner Bros

In Cinemas Now
Review by Blake Harmer

There are a lot of strange things about Ninja Assassin. Such as...why is it so dark in places? Or why is Patrick from Coupling kicking large amounts of ass towards the end of the film? However, these questions pale into insignificance with the strangest thing about Ninja Assassin. Why did I come out of Ninja Assassin loving it, and now consider it to be just another average Kung-Fu action movie?

Ninja Assassin has lots of violence, and most of it ends with the victims having limbs cut off and large buckets of blood being thrown at the screen, which is always awesome in The E14 Handbook. The opening scene deserves special mention for having several triad members being killed in all manner of cool ways, without the assailant being seen. The choreography of the fight scenes are good for the most part as well, despite being a bit too dark at times, but I will get to that later.

Chuck these two factors in together, and you have some great fight scenes that result in lots of ninjas being killed in incredibly cool ways. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen ninjas being killed in so many cool ways since I first saw Shogun Assassin. The plot is pretty standard for most action films with the lead wanting revenge against his clan of ninjas for killing the love of his life, but it does seem to have been put there as an excuse to string together a load of fight scenes so they can come up with more cool blood shed.

So now you know why I came out loving it. However, it is only after the initial “Wow look there’s legs and heads flying everywhere!” moment had worn off that I started to realise the film had some serious flaws. Firstly, the special effects are terrible, a lot of the blood is computer generated and it can be quite clear at times that it is. Also, the use of special effects to show the use of “ninja skills” shows shadows flitting around rooms or sliding into windows, and to be honest, I think the effects of the Shadow Monsters in Ghost were better than this.

So how do they get around the fact that these effects are quite terrible? They make the scenes dark so that it’s hard to see how bad they are. Whilst this does work occasionally, with one particular scene where a fight leads to the ninjas flitting throughout a darkened room and appearing in different places whilst they were fighting looked pretty cool, the overall use of the dark made things difficult to see at times and thus made a few bits of the film a bit confusing as you couldn’t see what happened.

Secondly, the plot (whilst paper thin) disrupts a large part of the action at the beginning of the film by showing past events leading up to the reason for the revenge story, so it feels like a long time before the action really starts to hit it’s stride. That and some of the Ninja Skills such as being able to heal yourself through meditation is complete rubbish, even if the thought of it sounds cool. But as long as you accept that this is “magic” then it doesn’t interfere too much with the film.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Hundreds of ninjas and soldiers being cut, shot, diced, having limbs removed, or being filled with hundreds of shurikens. In a word, awesome!
Sex/Nudity: None to my recollection, if there was it was very brief…and probably severed in two.
Swearing: Quite a bit of swearing, but the focus was put more on killing ninjas than insulting them.
Summary: An enjoyable gore fest that it’s let down by poor special effects and a paper-thin plot. At the end of the day, the reason I ended up liking this film less and less was that I actually thought about it. If you take your brain out before going to see this film and focus on the endless killing then you will love this film. If you think about how stupid the plot is or how crap the special effects are then you will end up hating it. Just focus on the Hot Ninja Death Rampage and then you’ll probably think that this is the most Emotionally Fourteen film you have seen since Commando. It is because of this E14 factor, that this average film gets a couple of bonus points. 7/10

“Your son Michael is a very disturbed young man...”

Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake of Halloween was a massive success and horror fans embraced the film at box offices around the world to the tune of 80 million dollars. Now, Zombie’s much anticipated and equally terrifying sequel is to be released on rental and retail DVD and Blu-ray by Entertainment In Video on February 1st.

Halloween II sees the return of lead cast members Tyler Mane as the evil Michael Myers, Scout Tyler-Compton who reprises her part as Myers’s sister Laurie Strode and Malcolm McDowell (Tank Girl, Fist of the North Star) who plays the part of Dr. Samuel Loomis.

Picking up where Halloween left off, Laurie Strode is taken to the local hospital after supposedly killing Michael Myers, the man responsible for the deaths of several people in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois. However Michael is very much alive and as the anniversary of the massacres approaches, he returns to Haddonfield once more, with a family reunion planned that Laurie will never forget.

Unleashing a devastating new trail of terror Myers will stop at nothing to bring closure to the secrets of his twisted past but the town has an unlikely new hero …if they can only stay alive long enough to stop the seemingly unstoppable.

Thanks to our friends at Entertainment In Video, we've got two DVD copies of Halloween 2 to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to halloween2giveaway@rocketmail.com with your name and postal address before midday on Tuesday 2nd February (UK time). The first two names drawn out of the electronic hat will win free copy!

1 comment:

  1. I always had a feeling that N.A was going to be a brainless ass-kicker movie, but isnt that all what we need from time to time? I suppose these kinds of movies balance the ying n yang of the cinema world. to every shawshank redemption.. theres a zombie stripper.. for example.

    its nice to see that cinema that is particularly shonky is still in existance, not only does it give us ranting ammo, but also something to watch on shony film nights. i think we'd all be slightly upset if we lost such gems from the cinematic world.

    I still plan to go see N.A.. and if it gets really dark in the cinema due to the lack of lighting on the film, then it gives me the chance to steal the malteasers of the person sitting next to me.