Movie review: Ninja Assassin

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The title of director James McTeigue's Ninja Assassin doesn't leave much room for ambiguity. It's primarily about a clan of ultraviolent ninja assassins who would more easily decapitate someone than give a reason why.

Their newest target is Mika (Naomie Harris, too good for this material), a low-level Europol researcher unsuccessfully shopping around her theories regarding clans of ninja assassins.

Although it seems like the quickest way to confirm her theories would be to brutally massacre her with throwing stars and katana swords, the Ozunu Clan wants her dead. The only person who can protect her is rogue assassin Raizo (South Korean pop singer Rain).

Written by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski and newcomer Matthew Sand, the film's plot reads like an afterthought, as though McTeigue (who previously directed the underappreciated V for Vendetta) needed an easy excuse to jump between fight scenes. To be fair, they are well-choreographed and full of tension, even if they're a little poorly lit.

Fans of the blood-soaked side of the martial-arts genre (or simply those who enjoyed the Crazy 88 massacre in Kill Bill) will probably get a kick out of the flick, especially since the CGI weaponry effects are top-notch.

It isn't likely to appeal to anyone beyond that, as the rivers of blood and excessively violent deaths lack any semblance of crossover appeal.

"Ninja Assassin"

Now playing

Grade: C