Ninja Assassin


How much would you expect from a movie titled “Ninja Assassin“?  Either not much at all, or way too much – depending on two things: whether you saw the trailer for this film and whether you lived and loved every ninja movie that was released back in the videotape days.

I loved ninja movies.  Most of them got to me exactly at the age when a boy thinks he is becoming a man.  That’s the time when you are romantic and want to feel the power and have way too much time on your hands and you are still a kid who haven’t forgot how to imagine things and how to play with toys.  How could anyone not love those movies was beyond me.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) ninja movies are mostly a thing of the past. They are not mainstream any more and even if they are released at all somewhere – you don’t hear about them.  “Ninja Assassin” was an exception, I think, for two reasons.  First, it was way too long since we saw a ninja movie.  There are many people out there who miss them.  Nobody would watch one ninja movie after another these days, but an occasional nostalgia is very welcome.  Second reason is the trailer.  It was visually awesome.  Even those who saw it once a long time ago still remember it.

Now, to the movie.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It was better than any other ninja movie that I have seen (or remember) and mostly that is due to a huge leap in visual effects and movie martial arts since the time I last saw a ninja movie.  I mean the graphics and choreography are breathtaking sometimes.  It was all post-processed, of course, to give it a fake look – similar to the massacre of Crazy 88 gang in Kill Bill.  The blood is too red, too liquid, too gushing, and too much.  But it’s fun to watch.  Sword fights are awesome.  All the ninja accessories are there.  And, probably, for the first time we are shown the most terrifying ninja skill properly – hiding in the shadows.  Ninjas in this movie appear out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere.

There are plenty of fights and action and the story is deeper than in many other ninja movies. In fact, I think they slightly overdid the setting – there are 1000 year old clans, governments and corporations using assassins, code of honour, and all those billion other things, which unfortunately never get used.  They just mention them but they are either totally or mostly irrelevant for the happenings in the film.

Regardless, I had fun watching this film and it brought a whole lot of awesome memories.  And, being biased towards the ninja stuff, I feel empowered to give it a 4 out of 5.

V for Vendetta

I just watched “V for Vendetta“. Back when it came out in 2006, I was a busy parent, and used any excuse I had to hate the movie.  Just so that I didn’t feel very bad about not going to the cinema to see it.  I saw a brief trailer of this film on TV and thought that it was yet another comics-based movie about another superhero or somebody like that.  Definitely, not something I wanted to see, especially back then.  So I passed.

I have to say that I am really glad that I rented it yesterday.  I picked it up just by chance.  I already had two other movies in my hand, and when I saw this “V” thing, I thought maybe I’ll grab three movies today, since the weekend is upon me.

Brilliant movie!  It has all the easy parts – the photography, acting, directing, special effects, etc.  Many films do these days.  But, this one goes beyond that.  It has a really good story.  An interesting one.  And the one that needs more attention. I’d go as far as call it a political movie.  It is about the role of government and mass media in our lives, how it used to be, and how things are changing, and how they aren’t changing for the better right now.  It’s a brave story too – not that many films are willing to risk the ensured profits of the entertainment industry by bringing in strong political discussion into a film.  But, as it has been proven many times, Wachovski brothers aren’t afraid of risks.

I really enjoyed how this political story was prepared and told.  It’s interesting, and it’s very human.  If I had to describe it in terms of other movies, I’d say that “V for Vendetta” is a very good mix of “Brazil” (think George Orwell’s “1984” ), “The mask of Zorro“, and “Invisible Man” (any version you like).  Yes, something like that.

This is also a film that can be watched over and over again.  The photography is beautiful, the soundtrack is great.  There are plenty of small details all around.  And there is this sense of style and class to it.

10 out of 10 (I know I’ve been giving away too many of high ratings recently, but it appears so that I missed a lot of really good movies)