Australian Director James McTeigue’s (V for Vendetta) latest big screen offering Ninja Assassin falls short of expectations with decent action scenes marred by a cluttered storyline, quite a number of plot holes and uninspiring acting.

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Raizo (played by Korean pop star Rain) is one of the world’s deadliest assassins.  Abducted as a child by the secretive Ozunu clan, Raizo spends what could have been the carefree years of his life training to be an assassin. It’s not all doing push ups on a bed of nails or getting the soles of his feet sliced open as punishment for failing to walk silently however, as a slight hint of romance between the adolescent Raizo and a fellow assassin blossoms.

The romance is cut short however as she is caught attempting to escape the dojo and is killed before the members of the clan.  Haunted by her death, the budding ninja escapes from the clan and lies in wait to seek his revenge. While Raizo waits, Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris), a Europol agent in Berlin, connects a series of political assassinations to the Ozunu clan. Ozunu’s head honcho, Takeshi, sends his band of assassins to silence her. The rogue ninja rescues her from becoming minced meat and they form an unlikely partnership bent against the destruction of Takeshi and his ninjas.

Produced by the Wachowski Brothers, Ninja Assassin, makes use of A-grade CGI graphics to enhance its numerous fight scenes.  The scenes are reminiscent of what you would find in those ninja inspired video games coupled with a graphic novel feel to it. Strikingly fast visuals that once amazed audiences in the Matrix Trilogy similarly captivate the audience in this movie. If there is one reason to see this film, it would be for its action packed, blood spurting, and flying ninja scenes.  

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The storyline should have been pretty straightforward for an action movie like this. Instead, it is peppered with too many flashbacks that slices (pun intended) the plot into bits and pieces.  There is a poor attempt at putting the pieces of the story together and the mishmash of scenes from the past and the present has a tendency to make viewers feel as if they’ve been taken on a roller coaster ride then immediately spun around a few times on one of those teacup rides.  There are quite a number of plot holes as well and these worsen the already cluttered storyline.

The acting of the cast members, save maybe for the numerous stunt people – bless them, was wooden and uninspiring. The cast is not to be blamed however as it is most probably the lack of substance in the plot and the poorly written dialogue that contributed to the far from stellar acting.

Ninja Assassin is not a terribly bad movie. The fight scenes are decent and can still render a significant number of the audience speechless. However, the cluttered storyline, plot holes and wooden acting lets down the audience who expect more from this Wachowski produced film.

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