Asia super-sensation Rain stars as Raizo, an orphan raised by a modern day ninja clan. Trained under the ruthless Lord Ozunu (Sho Kosugi), the scarred Raizo turns against the only family he’s ever known to protect Europol agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) and dismantle the clan.
The movie is about as redundant as its title. Flashbacks show the young Raizo being tenderly cared for by female ninja-in-training Kiriko (Kylie Goldstein and Anna Sawai) which is important for Raizo’s character development as he turns against the very family that raised him. Kiriko’s execution for an attempted escape breaks the camel’s back as Raizo becomes the clan’s number one enemy, foiling their assassination attempts and leading a lone war to stop their villainry. When Europol agent Coretti gets too close, the ninja clan makes her a target.
In many ways, it’s similar to the better Batman Begins. Both movies are about an orphan trained by a ninja clan to become an ultimate weapon embodying the ideas and values of the clan. The main character goes rogue when their moral fibers are tested. Both characters wear a lot of black, terrorize those who don’t understand them, and throw sharp pointed objects while hiding in the dark. Ninja Assassin comes in a shiny package with expensive visuals, but while there’s a lot of flash, there isn’t much of a pan. Batman Begins took a premise and made the impossible very realistic with a deep backstory and a paced origin story that’s handled with care. Ninja Assassin breaks down the door with a spinning kick, but it’s been done before. In the realm of cool, ninjas are in, but this assassin doesn’t cut it.
Ninja Assassin (2009)
Directed by: James McTeigue
Written by: Matthew Sand, J. Michael Straczynski
Starring: Rain, Rick Yune, and Naomie Harris
Rating: 2 / 5