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Ninja brings buckets of blood to the holidays
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Ninja brings buckets of blood to the holidays

by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Ninja Assassin
opening November 25


In one scene in the new martial arts spectacle that is Ninja Assassin, the action is so fluid that it almost seemed like a gory ballet. My partner, who went to the movie with me, agreed, and also commented on the buckets of fake blood used in the film's grimmer scenes. The mayhem starts in the opening 10 minutes, when some Yakuza baddies get sliced and diced by quick and deadly ninjas. The plot - what there is of one - resembles any GI Joe type of film. A spunky government agent (pretty Naomie Harris) tries to get her boss (Ben Miles) to listen to her concerns about a gang of "invisible" clans killing people. He pooh-poohs the idea at first, but as orders from up top start showing up via "men in black" types searching his office and seizing files, he starts to change his mind and begins to worry that his co-worker might not only be on to something, but that they're both in grave danger. Oh, and there's a muscled "rogue ninja" (Rain) getting ready for a showdown with the ninja clan he betrayed years ago when he refused to follow orders to kill a runaway ninja female warrior/trainee.

Mostly though, there are singing katanas, body parts being flung through the air as sword and bodies meet in gruesome, but almost beautifully violent clashes in one battle after another between our rogue ninja and his former cohorts. One can recognize the work of the Wachowski brothers (makers of the Matrix films) in the choreographed fight scenes that very much resemble Neo's battle with the Mr. Smiths in the last Matrix film. James McTeigue directs Ninja Assassin, but the Wachowski brothers produce, so this film is more action than good dialogue or plausible plot. Still, even though there's enough blood flying around to fill four bathtubs and very little other interaction between the characters, Ninja Assassin is fun.

Even if you like your action fast, furious and full of bloody fight scenes - which, I have to admit, I do - some of the scenes may make you put your hand over your mouth in horror and astonishment. That the movie is opening on Thanksgiving is a bit macabre, but this seems to be a tradition Hollywood is sticking to; introducing movies that cater to the dark side in the dark time of the year, rather than giving us loads of sticky-sweet holiday fare.

Bottom line, this is not a film for the timid of heart, but ninja fans and action fans will love it. Just don't take any little ones (as some stupid person did on the night of the screening), as this will undoubtedly give them nightmares for weeks. While it won't win any Oscars, it is one helluva thrill ride.

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