Isaac Florentine never fails his audience when it comes to giving them very satisfying fight scenes, and Ninja (2009) is one testimony to this. But of course half of the credit goes to the guy who really does the job, Scott Adkins. His ability to do his own stunts makes it possible for Florentine to produce brilliantly captured action.
This movie about a ninja’s mission to protect a valuable possession from a villain is like your typical 80’s movie: Story doesn’t deviate much from other action flicks; you can very well predict the ending. However it is an A++ when it comes to the fight scenes.
First of all, Yumi Takada made a very good choice with the casting here. Scott Adkins who played the main character Casey has a martial arts background, and Tsuyoshi Ihara – portraying the villain Masazuka – is a member of the Japan Action Club. So one can see why these actors can obviously use the katana like a natural.
Fans of Scott Adkins will not be disappointed watching Ninja because he has given a lot of epicness to this film. His acrobatic skills can be seen over a car and inside trains – and that’s just some of it. Audience will also see his fighting skills that prove why he is one of the best action stars in the industry of this generation.
Another factor to be admired about this movie is its cinematography which also serves as Florentine’s signature. It is as if viewers are watching an animated film or a video game through the manner in which shots are taken. Zooming and slow motion shots and setting add to the coolness of this film, aside from the CG effects.
However there are also a number of loopholes and negative points coming from the other aspects. First is the character played by Mika Hijii, Namiko Takeda. She is not supposed to be the typical damsel in distress given the premise that she is the daughter of the sensei Takeda (portrayed by Togo Igawa), and one who knows martial arts very well, most probably living in a dojo all her life. Movie viewers might be a little frustrated to see how helpless this girl is, and would agree with the thought that producers could have presented her differently. Perhaps a stronger and skilful love interest would have given the audience a fresh sight and even more action.
The story was not able to establish some elements in the film properly as well – the movie lacks character building. For instance the audience are left wondering with the identity of the cult in the movie. The film was not able to tell enough about both protagonist and antagonist too, which leaves the viewers hanging in terms of knowing the characters.
Lastly, the movie was not able to drive away from the unrealistic scenes that most action lovers would want to get rid of nowadays, like the characters being able to dodge bullets from a close range. The oldest flaw in action films – police involvement only after someone has died– is here in this movie. It was also cheesy to have included a wingsuit to end a good action scene.
The story needs a lot of polishing but nevertheless the fight scenes are one of the coolest, thanks to Scott Adkins. Tsuyoshi Ihara deserves to be applauded as well for being the best ninja in this movie. Yes, the villain has most of the qualities needed to be a ninja here.
This is better than Rain’s Ninja Assassin in the sense that it contains minimal camera movement which means clearer movements from the fighters. If you want an 80’s themed flick with good action, this one is for you.