30 November, 2009

Who is Sho Kosugi?: "Ninja Assassin" Review

I think there's a commercial in front of this clip, let it load.

This Thanksgiving (2009), after binge eating turkey to fill the entire year, me and the family needed to work it off, so what did we do...watch "Ninja Assassin"! This movie was highly entertaining. Yes, the movie is predictable, we know what's going to happen to the star (Rain), that he's going to survive an attack and you know what's going to happen in the end. But still, regardless of the predictability, it was still engaging, kudos to the group who were able to put this movie together.

For those of you who have seen the movie, I included a clip with this post that shows some of the training and timing involved in creating some of the action shots. I thought it was nice to watch after watching the film. Oh yeah, and if you are a visual effects fan, you'll be happy to know that the special effects shots were directed by John Gaeta of "The Matrix".

Seriously, lots of serious movie goers and critics are not giving this film good reviews, but we're talking ninjas folks, they don't care what you think, they just want to kill you.

Here's what I liked about "Ninja Assassin":

Great timing:
We are used to action scenes in movies, and the timing of the scenes in "Ninja Assasin" were well executed and edited. Good job.

Ninja Supernatural Ability:
Going back to my experience in watching ninja movies back in the 80's, it was interesting to see how this was portrayed, we really haven't seen this before. We see ninjas appearing out of shadows, and disappearing and reappearing in the fight scenes to trick your senses. I thought this was a nice upgrade. Also, add to this, the supernatural, heavy duty, turbo, shuriken throwing skills and you get lots of fun. After seeing this, I really believed that ninja stars can pepper the outer shell of a BMW. Wow!

Story Variety:
I liked how we trained with the young assassins in an old Japanese temple and how we followed them until present time. The timeline jumps back and forth in time which is a nice attempt to make things interesting. It works.

CG Animation:
The CG animation of the main character's weapon was well done. There is also lots and lots of CG blood splatters and decapitations. Although, in my classes, as we discuss the film perhaps, this took away from the film. Lots of people would have liked to have seen more elaborate squib work. Okay - point taken.

The lead actor in the film is believable in serving up some major wup ass. Some girls also think he's good looking (that's for you Athena). He looks like lots of asian guys I know, that's a great conversation starter at parties (Brandon?).

And the best part...

Sho Kosugi:
Sho was the original actor who starred in many of the ninja films in the 80's and I thought it was awesome that he played the father of the ninja clan in this movie. The movie pays homage to his contributions and his appearance was fitting, who else would be the father of the most dangerous ninja clan in the world?

I hope the success of this movie opens up more opportunities to explore the ninja genre in film. In video games and anime however, its always going to be popular, we love ninjas.

Now for a history lesson for all the kid ninja maniacs. The original trailer to "Enter the Ninja" starring Sho Kosugi...I know, you may the white ninja is Stormshadow, but he's not. There are some caucasian ninjas too you know. Enjoy and check out the movie.

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