Main cast: Rain (Raizo), Naomie Harris (Mika Coretti), Ben Miles (Ryan Maslow), Rick Yune (Takeshi), Kylie Goldstein (Kiriko), and Sho Kosugi (Lord Ozunu)
Director: James McTeigue
Ninja Assassin has a plot straight out of a stereotypical anime flick. Our hero, Raizo, is a mostly silent ninja who has been trained since young to be a very efficient killer. He was trained by Lord Ozunu, a man who didn’t spare his own children from the brutal training regime. His daughter, Kiriko, caught Raizo’s fancy, but unlike her brother Takeshi, she didn’t take too well to her father’s training. One day, she escaped (Raizo didn’t want to follow her), but she was soon captured and executed by Takeshi under orders from her father.
Raizo and the other students witnessed her execution, and he began harboring silent anger towards his master. He eventually turned against Ozunu, although his timing was wretched since he was surrounded by a gang of his (soon-to-be ex) ninja colleagues at that time. He barely escaped with his life.
That was then. Today, we have Europol agent Mika Coretti who is looking into a series of murder and their possible link to the Ozunu clan. It is only a matter of time before she bumps into Raizo, and she will be drawn into his path of mayhem and carnage as he seeks out his former master.
This movie starts out promisingly in a shower of gore, but it soon becomes apparent that the gore is the only thing it has going for it. Even then, it’s exaggerated gore that is more hilarious than anything. It does seem like a simple tap is enough to send a person exploding in a shower of blood, and limbs can be cut off with a single chop as if bones and cartilage were made of tofu.
The plot is so played out as it is composed of tired tropes without any interesting spin to them, and the characters are one-dimensional types, so there is little here to enjoy aside from the constant cartoon decapitations, mutilations, and disembowelment. Even then, the incessant carnage becomes monotonous and boring fast, and even those fight scenes lack variation to them to keep things interesting.
At the end of the day, this movie lacks the imagination and style to adopt a cool attitude that may help overcome its severe lack of substance. Mr Rain does his best to pout and look broody as everyone’s favorite dangerous emo action hero stereotype, but really, this movie is too lame to qualify as cool.