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Massawyrm says NINJA ASSASSIN commits seppuku right before your very eyes!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here. The ninja is dead. Long relegated to a protracted and no longer funny internet meme involving pirates, the concept of the legendary assassins once shrouded in mystery is no longer strong enough to support bad or even mediocre filmmaking. When I first saw the tedious and mind numbing ELETKRA I openly wondered how one went about making a boring ninja movie. After all, ninjas couldn’t be boring. They were awesome. And anyone who failed to capture that awesomeness on film clearly wasn’t trying. So when I heard that James McTeigue was setting out to make an A-budget B-movie about ninjas, I got all sorts of excited. I fucking love ninjas. A ninja movie with serious production values? What the fuck would that look like? Boring. Seriously fucking boring. NINJA ASSASSIN doesn’t start out dull, but it certainly spends an hour and a half working to get there. The opening scene is incredible; a bad ass, balls to the wall sequence of claustrophobic assassination evocative of a mix of modern horror and, more appropriately, Luc Besson’s THE PROFESSIONAL . But it rapidly becomes clear that this isn’t an intentional riff as much as it is that McTeigue shoots all of his fight sequences so close that it is damn near impossible to make out the action. After a while the bevy of too close and too-dark-to-see-what-is-going-on fights get stale and cease to pay off while the cartoonish levels of digital blood that is spilled fails to entertain once you notice that not a drop ever touches the floor or the fight’s participants. Oddly enough, the film’s biggest liability is at first its greatest strength. NINJA ASSASSIN goes all out and treats the Ninja not as highly skilled warriors, but as supernatural creatures. And the initial sequences in which the ninjas weave in and out of darkness, completely vanishing before your very eyes only to melt back into reality when they step into a light source is breathtaking. Truth is that it is just plain fucking cool. But this leads to a gigantic problem by the third act. McTeigue treats them as if they really are supernatural creatures and deals with them the way one would fight any swarm or infestation of evil creatures: by sending in the army with machine guns and floodlights. Once you begin to see these badasses foiled by something as simple as a mobile light source and readily mopped up by equally faceless troops, all the magic is gone. Every bit of mystical cool given these ninjas is sucked dry and left to rot onscreen. I see where McTeigue was going, but ultimately he takes a wrong turn towards the end and completely ruins all the work he initially put into building up such cool concepts. From there, the film just slowly begins to self-destruct. It doesn’t help that the script is as anemic as they come. A true throwback to the 80’s, NINJA ASSASSIN focuses around an Interpol agent who uncovers a web of intrigue surrounding ninja clans and begins to run into roadblocks uncovering things no one wants revealed. No one believes her wild theories of course, but when a mysterious rogue ninja begins to aid her she can’t help but pursue the case to its logical conclusion. We’re occasionally treated to the backstory of our movie’s heroic ninja (played by Asian superstar Rain) and it proves as humdrum as one would expect, completely devoid of the emotional resonance needed for the third act. At this point mentioning the acting seems like I’m just making fun of it. At its best moments, the acting is passable; but most of the time it’s pretty weak, if not altogether bad. Not that I expect top notch performances out of a ninja movie, but we’ve seen what McTeigue can do with genre and this doesn’t even come close to anything he did with V FOR VENDETTA. I was really digging on this at the beginning, but as things began to wear thin, my patience soon eroded and I was grumbling and disappointed by the end. And I didn’t let go easily. I WANTED to love this and held on to that love with both hands and duck tape, but as I walked out of this and the ninja lover in me tried to convince me that there was some merit to be found here I finally relented, unable to find a truly worthy excuse for any of the film’s failings. It is simply the epitome of big budget, uninspired violence lacking the artistry to make that violence itself worth seeing.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:13 a.m. CST

    CGI ninja stars

    by Chakraborty

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Mass is on fucking fire.

    by Kontarsky

    Seriously, only reviews I really enjoy reading on this site.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:14 a.m. CST


    by Forsakyn

    Oh well.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:20 a.m. CST

    duck tape

    by BrooseTheScharuk

    awww that sounds so cute. are they little yellow ones? xD

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Seriously, ...

    by Charlie_Brigante

    ... what did you expect?

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Ninja III:

    by shodan6672

    The Domination was always one of my favorites when I wasa kid.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:21 a.m. CST



    Yeah, what the FUCK is that all about anyway? Who dreamt of that concept? Is is something from Facebook?<p>Nice review Massa. Yet another movie I'll be sticking my middle finger up at as I drive past my local theatre.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Massa ...say it isn't soo...

    by mr dark

    Are you sure you wern't just having a bad day and this movie went down like a bad oyster? I had such high hopes for this..Is it even rental worthy?

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Massa, is it better than NEW MOON?

    by YackBacker

    Just tell me the truth, dude.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Crappily shot fight scenes

    by The_Ed_Carden

    If what Massawyrm says is true (and why wouldn't it be come to think of it) this pisses me off. I know I'm really sick to death martial arts and other action films that give us fight scenes that are either too dark or too closely shot for the viewer to get a clear view of what's happening. This kind of thing really has been a trendy thing to do lately. Even Batman Begins had some (thankfully just SOME) its fight scenes shot this way. This shit has got to stop. It's gotten to the point that I cringe a little bit every time I'm watching a film, and a fight scene is about to take place that isn't indoors or in the daytime. Let us see the fight dammit! Still, I will give Ninja Assassin a watch at some point just to see for myself

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:34 a.m. CST

    If you complain about the blood

    by estacado1

    then 300 was the movie that did it first. Blood was spattering everywhere, but none of it spilled to the ground. It's like the blood vaporized as soon as it is off camera.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:39 a.m. CST

    This makes me want to see it?

    by Series7

    Anyone else feel that way?

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST

    why NA sucked...

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    ...cuz they got a Korean to play a ninja...there aint no Japanese actors out there?<p> but not surprise by the review, I remember last year or so someone did a early review and said the same thing...oh well, at least the ninjetti was cool in Last Saumrai

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:42 a.m. CST

    time to dust off revenge of the ninja

    by KonkBob

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:42 a.m. CST

    But 300...

    by BrundleFlyboy

    was adhering to a very specific visual aesthetic outlined by the Graphic novel, the blood was not supposed to look realistic, it was 'Frank Miller blood'. What is this shit heap's excuse?

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:43 a.m. CST

    sho kusagi, coke, epic rooftop battles...

    by KonkBob

    whats not to like?

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Wow-An AICN review that I actually *believe*

    by Megan_Foxs_Tool_Box

    It's weird, but it almost...seems like...that review was an honest assessment of the flick's strengths and weaknesses. Amazing. Now let's see Harry's take...

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Without trying to be a douche here

    by seppukudkurosawa

    I tend to have the invert opposite opinion of Massa on most movies. And I know I'm not the only one who feels that way. So I'm guessing this'll probably be pretty cool.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:47 a.m. CST

    re: meganfoxs

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    lol it feels funny readin a possible honest review, huh? I just wish I could be a fly on the AICN office walls so I could see how they go bout givin bad movies rave reviews (due to set visits of course)... like does Harry fat ass roll in the room and say "hey, gi joe are sending us 6inch action figures in the mail on saturday... so lets start ravin bout gi joe"

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:47 a.m. CST

    Harry already said he loved it..

    by Uncle_Pooch

    and pussy juice and chocolate

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:47 a.m. CST

    This is the kind of movie

    by ballyhoo

    that depends completely on its action. If it's as Massa says, then game over.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Yes, but does it have child molestation done in good taste?

    by ZombieHeathLedger

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:57 a.m. CST

    All Hail Massawyrm

    by IAmLegolas

    Good job, buddy. I forgive you for even bothering with OLD DOGS.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:58 a.m. CST

    monkey fights

    by charlesbronsonLIVES

    do any ninjas fight trained karate monkeys as they did in the script? or do i have to wait for dvd extras. those karate monkeys with their tiny monkey throwing stars could be film gold, but im afraid i've been hosed again. also, do any solid tit rapes get thrown down?

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:01 p.m. CST


    by Meadowe

    With a cameo by Michael Dudikoff. It's not like he'd rather be doing VIPER conventions or something.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:04 p.m. CST

    BUT CAPONE LOVED IT!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    by manifestchaos


  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:06 p.m. CST


    by manifestchaos

    Anything with monkeys is worth seeing.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Can it be as good as NINJA TERMINATOR?

    by savagedave

    "Steamed Crabs?!" Seriously, I thought this looked like ass from the trailer. I don't remember who it was but the talkbacker who named it "METROSEXUAL SHIRTLESS ASSASSIN" was probably on the money.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:10 p.m. CST


    by porterdsgn

    I was really hoping this would be kick ass.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:14 p.m. CST

    yourSTEPDADDY Korean = Japanese

    by JettL93

    Gene roddenberry envisioned All the asins as one race, so there for anyone with squinty eyes and yellow skin can play asian, it's hollywood racisim at it's finest

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:24 p.m. CST

    DAMN! Part II...

    by Mrhazard

    I also had high hopes for this... Wasn't expecting Citizen Kane but I thought we would get a cool, modern ninja flick... I'll probably still d'l it tho...

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Re: Digital blood with no staying power...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...that's a damn shame. Hell, even video games get that right now. It was a huge step forward in intensity when shooters achieved the computing power to let blood, bodies, and bullet holes stick around indefinitely.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:28 p.m. CST

    nice review Mass

    by Stifler's Mom

    Clear, concise, free of hyperbole, to the point.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Massa, Scott Adkins looks like he has a better one

    by Scottadkinsfist

    Per my name, you guys know I had to toss Scott Adkins. Please, please, please all watch some stuff from his new movie Ninja. I swear it looks ten times better than NA with less than half the budget...

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Sho Kusagi

    by Omar B

    One of my childhood heroes, one of the reasons I started karate at 5, so I can't skip this no matter how many reviews say it sucks. I'm just glad he's in a major release.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Alright, a review written about the type of movie I would come t

    by moorE12

    I was midly interested in seeing this, but now it looks like I will wait until dvd or the movie network. Good review.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:30 p.m. CST

    last post

    by Scottadkinsfist

    I meant I had to "toss Scott Adkins in here." That last one sounded really fruity. lol

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:32 p.m. CST

    What happened?

    by sanzaru

    I remember watching clips of the training sessions for the fights in this thing and just being FLOORED at the coolness. If it's really as weak as Massa says, I'm more sad and confused with the world than usual. I'd love to see a whole movie about monkey fighters like charlesbronsonLIVES suggests, but somehow even that would get screwed up on the way to the screen, I'm sure. *sighhh*

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:33 p.m. CST


    by vettebro

    I was looking forward to this. I trust Massa's judgement, so it looks like I'll wait for the DVD and watch "The Octogon" again instead.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Scott Adkins' Ninja

    by Omar B

    Now that I'm excited about! It looks old school, not burdened with CG and from the Subway fight it looks well shot. Too bad it's not based on Eric Van Lustbader's novel of the same name, because that's one great series of novels about a really cool ninja.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:36 p.m. CST

    I wonder what that "Ask A Ninja" guy thinks of this.

    by Mr. Nice Gaius


  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:37 p.m. CST

    ...I really hate all digital gore...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...of all the crappy CG things to complain about, blood and gore are at the top of my list.<P>Hell, even DRAG ME TO HELL copped out...and that was Sam Fucking Karo Syrup Raimi.<P> Kept pulling me right out of the movie.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Massa's right, however...

    by chip2po

    It's not as terrible as he makes it seem. It's just mediocre. Saw this at a sneak peak last week, and it's definitely not the return to old-school ninja action I was hoping it would be. The fight scenes are shot too close with fast cuts and poor lighting. Everything is CGI, from the blood splatter to the weapons (CGI throwing stars that look and sound like machine gun fire). There was even a scene where the movie cuts to a close-up shot of a character putting ketchup on food, and I could have sworn that the ketchup was even GCI. It wasn't horrible compared to some of the stuff that's been released recently, but it wasn't great. Glad I saw it for free.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Ninjai was the best Ninja story on the 'Net

    by blakindigo


  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:43 p.m. CST


    by HaterofCrap

    stop the bullshit hollywood hype engine advertising campaign you bunch of fucking dumbfuck ad and print people. fucking rain. there's nothing badass about rain. rain is nothing but a annoyance.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:45 p.m. CST

    There's no Kusugi like Sho Kusugi...

    by Mrhazard

    ... like no Kusugi I know...<p>And that Scott Adkins "Ninja" looks crappy too. All I see is more cheap CGI blood and green-screen backgrounds...<p>The machines are destroying cinema...

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Can't say I'm surprised

    by jimmy_009

    The trailers look boring and unoriginal, like a high budget remake of some terrible 80's ninja movie. I would have been more interested if it was a period ninja flick rather than Ninjas riding Ninjas and hanging out in cool bars and crap.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Still think I'll love it.

    by knowthyself

    Funny you put WANTED in caps. An over rated wannabe fight club action film.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 12:59 p.m. CST

    So over the top

    by SmokingRobot

    When will movies stop being ridiculous? When will realism return?

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:03 p.m. CST

    try again

    by rodneyfaile

    sounds like you wnet into the movie with too high of an expectation. i am sure your appreciation will increase with subsequent viewings. this might be one of those movies you see again down the road and ask yourself "how could i have not loved this?" because later on you will not have unrealistic ideals built up.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Not being PC or anything

    by Handiana Jolo

    But i feel like a significant portion of the marketing/reviews for this movie say "Asian" superstar.<br><br>Why not say Korean? I think a lot of Koreans would take pride in seeing one of our own taking center stage on an "A-budget" american movie. And I think we all know where Korea is.<br><br>All I'm saying is we probably wouldn't say "European" superstar, it'd be "insert country here" superstar.<br><br>Again, I'm not being PC or anything, as what they're saying is perfectly accurate. just be nice to give each asian nation it's due when they market this stuff. I'm not offended by what's going on, just wish it was different.<br><br>Also, there is the possibility they could be talking about the fact that Rain is a superstar *in* all of Asia. Like they were saying European Superstar David Haselhoff.<Br><Br>All right I think I just argued myself out of my point.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:07 p.m. CST

    So, there aint shit to see at cinemas....

    by The Dum Guy

    ...this Thanksgiving.<br><br>Although, from the trailers I didn't have much hope.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:08 p.m. CST

    When will they make a computer

    by Megan_Foxs_Tool_Box

    that simulates movie scripts that aren't retarded? An algorithm that says-stop using so much CGI, you loser, hack directors

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:10 p.m. CST

    That Scott Atkins 'Ninja' trailer

    by Juggernaut125

    looks like it might be a half-decent reboot of 'American Ninja'. Although, I couldn't quite tell if the lead was american or something else. The costumes seemed a bit too 'Shredder' ninja, tho the action looked decent enough.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Training clips look awesome. What the hell happened?

    by jmn

    The youtube clips of Rain training the stuntwork looked awesome: Why the hell does Hollywood have to do such tight shots that are heavily edited with quick cuts and cgi so you can't see the action?

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Massas expectations were off the charts

    by MacReady452

    So let me get this straight...CGI blood bad. CGI Blue people good. Everything is disappointing when you expect it to change your life. The silver screen is starved for ANY ninja action. I'll take what I can get. So let me get this straight...CGI blood bad. CGI Blue people good.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:21 p.m. CST

    "Why the hell does Hollywood have to do such tight shots that ar

    by Shepard Wong

    Because it masks poor fight choreography and execution.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Ninja are JAPANESE

    by Chief Joseph

    Seriously Hollywood. Ninja movies are still coming out of Japan. (Not as much as the '80s I'll admit)<br> I suggest you guys go that route to get your ninja fix.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:30 p.m. CST

    yay another action movie where you cant fucking see

    by baaba_pappa

    the action. Thanks for the heads up, I'll miss this. I'm fucking sick of films that don't let you see the goods, it's a lazy cheat

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:33 p.m. CST

    I'm still holding out hope

    by sukmyboomstik

    Dammit, I was hoping this was gonna be like fucking Ninja Gaiden: The Movie (if you've played the recent 2 Ninja Gaiden games, you know what I'm talking about). Regardless, Massa always seems to be at one extreme or the other with his reviews so I'm hoping that at the very worst I will have to just shut my brain down when I go into the theater this weekend.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:35 p.m. CST

    DUCT tape

    by frank cotton

    it's DUCT tape. for sealing DUCTS

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:39 p.m. CST


    by sith_rising

    Can't wait to see this! My favorite ninja film is Shogun's Ninja with Sonny Chiba and Henry Sanada, and it had some downright awful moments.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 1:53 p.m. CST

    I have no dobt that this bites the big one...

    by Grandpa Bunche

    ...but how does it stand up to the worst ninja film of all time, namely the Swedish-made NINJA MISSION? Did anyone else out there also suffer through that boring motherfucker in the theater? If so, I share your pain.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 2:07 p.m. CST


    by imagin78

    I had a glimmer of hope for this. Will still probably rent it. <p> Am I the only one that enjoyed Lambert's "The Hunted"?

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 2:13 p.m. CST


    by Omar B

    Great suggestion man, a period ninja movie would be great. As for this Japanese/Korean thing you guys seems to be complaining about. Yes ninjas were Japanese, but Korea had the Sulsa which in every way is what one expects from a ninja. In fact some say the Sulsa were better trained because those selected to become Sulsa were the best of their Hwarang Warriors (the Korean version of the Samurai). m

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 2:26 p.m. CST

    I have faith this movie will rock me.

    by NinjaRap

    V for Vendetta? Love. Speed Racer? Love. Matrix Trilogy? Mostly love, and fuck the haters. Ninjas? Love.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 2:26 p.m. CST

    I don't usually say stuff like this but...

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    ...this is going to bomb. Hard. The title alone is an embarrassment. Shame on all those involved. Sho Kosugi deserves better!!!

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm was WAY OFF on Bad Lieutenant

    by Gwai Lo

    But he's right about Ninja Assassin. I seen it.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 2:33 p.m. CST


    by Scottadkinsfist

    Yeah, but it's that way because the bad guy is using a new experimental armor while Scott Adkins is wearing more traditional garb-the movie follows an old vs new as the bad guy uses pistols and sniper rifles while the good guy uses old school stuff. Mrhazard, I know I hate the digital stuff too, but it is cheaper than the real thing, evidently. I prefer this to NA because the fights are mostly without wires or other effects. BTW this is by the same folks who did Undisputed 2 and the upcoming Undisputed 3. Also Scott is an amazing martial artist from England who really deserves a fair shot at stardom. He also played the villain Boyka in Undispited 2 (and did the deadpool/Weapon whatever stunt work in Wolverine)

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 2:34 p.m. CST

    There is a period ninja flick this year

    by Gwai Lo

    called "Kamui", and it sucks just as hard if not harder than Ninja Assassin

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 2:36 p.m. CST


    by parabolas

    I think you're forgetting a lil flick called "American Ninja III"

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Despite this review, I'll have to see this one...

    by HarryCalder

    And if it turns out Massa's right, then I am done with the Wachowski Brothers. I think the Matrix sequels just drove them insane...

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 2:56 p.m. CST

    HA HA HA 25% at rottentomatoes!

    by standundermyumbrella

    The verdict is in and i am skipping it!

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 2:57 p.m. CST

    Fight scenes

    by Le Phantom

    Seriously...They really don't know how to choreograph, shoot and edit good fight scenes any more. For the last 10 years, they have sucked for the most part. It's all that shakey cam, cut every fraction of a second drivel and the Hong Kong stuff ALL LOOKS ALIKE!!!!!!!!!! Every HK fight scenes is cut from the same mold! Except now they add CGI and more wires to the equation to make things worse! Thank God for the like of Tony Jaa! Maybe Hollywood will wake up and re-learn how to do good fight scenes again...Naaaa

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 3:31 p.m. CST

    The best ninja movie was "The Last Ninja" . . .

    by afrayedknot

    ...and you can't get it on VHS or DVD!!!

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 3:36 p.m. CST

    by MikeTheSpike

    Isn't an AICN quote featured in the ad for this movie? Better add some choice blurbs from Massawyrm's review.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 3:42 p.m. CST

    What was that Irish ninja movie that just hit

    by MacReady452

    festivals? I forget, but that looked sweet. I saw all the demo choreography on youtube and it looked amazing. How can this suck? I will be the first to admit that over use of CGI for shit like blood is retarded but that is nit picking. CGI ninja stars I can get with. I mean what are you gonna do..?..hang em on a string and whip em around? I think AICN is just bitter cause I saw the chase sequence through traffic on (the ultra current and always out scooping)MTV and it was killer. I'll be here Friday admitting I was wrong if it is warranted. Real Ultimate Power.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Massa speaks the truth

    by SoylentGreenOnACracker

    and that sucks. Man I was looking forward to this.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 4:03 p.m. CST

    So the movie AICN has been hyping

    by Crooooooow

    for monthes tanks? Brillant

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Shinobi - Heart Under Blade

    by Dingbatty

    Is the movie to see.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 4:33 p.m. CST

    The Legend of Massa

    by Nabster


  • Nov. 24, 2009, 4:46 p.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    Thanks for the review, Massa. From the training sequences a few months ago, I too was stoked to see this film. James McTeigue did such a great job directing "V for Vendetta" that I was certain his take on modern ninjas would knock it out of the park.<p> I had no doubt.<p> But the "Ninja Assassin" trailers and tv spots never fired me up the way those training sequences did, and I was kind of wondering why. Now I know.<p> Too much CG. Too many close pans. Too many quick edits. Too much fight-time darkness.<p> And the big one: bad acting.<p> I hate bad acting. I don't care how ripped or cool-looking a ninja is, I want him to be believable in the context of the life he leads. I could tell from the trailers that the Korean actor they hired wasn't good. Which sucks, because I was looking forward to some brain-smashing carnage.<p> Maybe I'll still see the film. I'm such a fan of "V for Vendetta" that I can't imagine McTeigue will entirely disappoint me.<p> But it still leaves me lukewarm. Yuck.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 4:49 p.m. CST

    I'll wait for "Homicidal Killer"

    by MattmanReturns

    About a serial killer... who kills people.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 4:56 p.m. CST

    I'm pretty sure there's actual duck tape.

    by Pompoulus

    It's like cheap knock off duct tape. I'm serious.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 4:59 p.m. CST

    The success of New Moon is female revenge

    by MattmanReturns

    For countless dumbass movies like this that guys eat up.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 5:06 p.m. CST

    shodan6672 - NINJA III: THE DOMINATION!!!

    by spud mcspud

    I fucking LOVED that movie. Sho Kosugi! Lucinda Dickey (yes, the chick from BREAKDANCE 2 - ELECTRIC BOOGALOO!) playing a nightclub dancer who gets possessed by the spirit of a dead evil ninja! There's a FUCKING NINJA EXORCISM SCENE!! THAT is how relentlessly badass NINJA III: THE DOMINATION is!<P> I love that I'm not the only one who saw the greatness in that movie. All that juice, and Sho Kosugi too. And one of these days, I WILL get round to watching SAKURA KILLERS. Greatest VHS trailer of the 80s - FACT...

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 5:08 p.m. CST

    THE LAST NINJA - C64 game was fucking AWESOME...

    by spud mcspud

    And it was pretty fucking cool on the Playstation One, too. But until I see WAY OF THE EXPLODING FIST on the big screen, my martial arts movie fetish remains unfulfilled. No, not even NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER fills that position. FIST or nothing...

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 5:13 p.m. CST

    I want supernatural Ninjas, goddammit!

    by spud mcspud

    Fuck realism! I want ninjas that turn into smoke as they fade into darkness; that can cut bullets in half with their katanas and can split a human hair in half with a shuriken. And if Angelina Jolie can kill a room full of people by curving ONE FUCKING BULLET IN A COMPLETE CIRCLE, then as God is my witness I WANT A FUCKING SUPERNATURAL NINJAS MOVIE!!!

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 5:14 p.m. CST

    Hardly surprising.

    by I Hope You Die

    V for Vendetta was beyond awful.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 5:14 p.m. CST

    If New Moon is Ninja Assassin for females

    by Pompoulus

    then clearly, it's still bad.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Ninjas were the best part of GI Joe though.

    by Super Rabbi

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 5:22 p.m. CST


    by Johnno

    Did they pull a Bourne on us??? Damnit, everything else sounds fine, but when you fuck up the fight scenes there's just no point... fuck! I hope your theater was just dark Massa. I'll be catching this this weekend. The fight scenes looked awesome in the behind the scenes stuff, so let's hope they got it all on there. Otherwise kick McTeigue out and get the Wachowskis bck behind the camera! They know how to film action in all it's glory!

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 5:28 p.m. CST

    Same old stupid digital haters.

    by white_vader

    Try to process this, morons. It's not the fact that the blood is digital that makes it stupid. People make the decisions. These are the same idjits that would have given you ridiculous bright cartoony blood even if was practical. How many times have we seen laughable practical (as opposed to real) blood? Fincher did digital blood well in Zodiac, and for the right reasons. Stop being simpletons - it's not the tool, it's the user and whether they're taking due care and paying proper attention.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 5:35 p.m. CST

    I know the way now, so leave me alone all right!

    by Average Geek

    Not quite the right direction. The way to hell is,...right here!

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 5:55 p.m. CST

    Just give us a Dr. McNinja movie and be done with it

    by Spyhunter

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Sorry but I'm seeing this! It looks badass and until

    by HollywoodHellraiser

    I see it for myself, badass it will remain!

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 6:05 p.m. CST

    It is DUCK tape. Nerd-trolls are the worst.

    by Sixtyhurts

    Duck tape was developed in 1942 during World War II as a water-resistant tape for sealing ammunition cases. It's usefulness on DUCTS (and everything else) was discovered later. Thank you, Mythbusters. You spend so much time flaming on the 'net, you think you could spend 5 seconds to wiki it. Stupid nerds.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 6:06 p.m. CST

    Christopher Lambert's The Hunted is looking better and better

    by CodeName

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 6:11 p.m. CST


    by max314

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 6:29 p.m. CST

    by MattmanReturns

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Ninja's suck, knights in armor is the way to go. & Iguanas

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 6:43 p.m. CST

    Ninjas are JAPANESE

    by BranMakMorn

    Dumb Hollywhite.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Yeah, "duck tape"!

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    Apologies to frank cotton

  • Batman Begins & The Dark Knight.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 7:11 p.m. CST

    Fuck Matrix Assassin

    by ChiTownsBest

    And see Ninja with Scott Adkins. This was truly a throwback to the 80's Ninja movies complete with heads being chopped off and lots of non-cgi blood. It has a completely predictable story but the Ninja action is pretty good for a DTV

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 7:18 p.m. CST


    by Heitz

    Dwight K. Schrute would like a word with you!

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 7:55 p.m. CST

    This is NOT Boring!

    by ScottLott

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 8:01 p.m. CST

    Since Spartans and Ninjas were mentioned

    by Xiphos_2

    did anybody catch the episode of The Deadliest Warrior on Spike TV? Spartan beat Ninja convincingly or as convincingly as can be on that show.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 8:09 p.m. CST

    yes, i have seen DUCK tape at walmart

    by frank cotton

    and i am a GEEK, not a nerd. and on occasion, a troll

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 8:13 p.m. CST

    re: xiphos

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    the ninja lost? i saw it but dont remember... but since deadliest warrior on spike tv was mentioned... anyone see the pirate beat the knight convincingl or as convincingly as can be on that show?

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 8:24 p.m. CST

    Too bad about the film

    by white_vader

    (unless of course this is one of Massa's occassional spazz-outs like with Happy Feet). And I'm guessing Yuen Wo Ping didn't choreograph this one then? <p> I guess I'll just watch the almighty-cool Ninja episode of Samurai Jack again... it's like the Mad Max 2 of Ninja shows.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 8:48 p.m. CST

    Batman Begins and The Dark Knight

    by Forsakyn

    While I enjoyed both films (the second moreso), I didn't think the actual directing for the action scenes was all that great.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 8:48 p.m. CST

    And as a sidenote...

    by Forsakyn

    As much as I don't care for the two Matrix sequels, there's one thing those brothers can do - direct action so you can follow it. Sounds like this director didn't learn much there.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 9:03 p.m. CST

    Chief Jo and BranMakMorn

    by happyboy

    you 2 geniuses realize that ninjas are fantasy right? they dont actually exit in modern Japan. if the movie is fantasy what difference does it matter if they're Japanese or Chinese as long as it makes the movie cooler? you think any ninja movie is going to be grounded in historical accuracy? for the record China and Korea also had assassins very much like ninjas. in Japan ninjas existed for a short period during the Warring States period but most of what we think of Jap ninjas came from legend and myth during the subsequent Edo, Imperial and modern periods. Again masswyrm is afuckin tard. if you actually knew anything about Japanese history or literature you would realize that ninjas are actually very much mythologized and given mythical abilities like walking on water, invisibility, teleportation, prescience, and inhuman strength/dexterity/healing. that you out of american ignorance start bitching that they're supernatural beings... how about picking up a book there sport.. that's how they are in legend. what's next? looking for historical accuracy in vampire movies? bitching about historical accuracy in a ninja movie and bemoaning supernatural elements is like bitching about a King Arthur movie with supernatural and Christian/Pagan elements.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 9:09 p.m. CST

    Look no further than The Dark Knight

    by AxeEmAll

    Now that's how a ninja movie should be made. After all, he is a ninja with pointy ears.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 9:38 p.m. CST

    I might give it a rental then...

    by The_Crimson_King

    there's too many movies coming out in December that I want to see anyway, still this is a big disappointment

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 9:50 p.m. CST

    Good review. Seems like it's a bad movie.

    by kabong

    That's disappointing. <P> Did they go for ninjas as vampires? <P> Too much ninja may have overloaded it. (I'm talking about a movie I haven't seen. Nothing stifles me.)

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 9:52 p.m. CST

    I think there is a DUCK TAPE brand of DUCT TAPE.

    by kabong

    No? Is that backasswards?

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 9:54 p.m. CST

    The master ninja was "The Master."

    by kabong

    Lee Van Cleef.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 10:25 p.m. CST

    Ninja don't commit seppuku

    by Rocco Curioso

    That's a Samurai form of atonement/absolution.<P>SHIT!... I was afraid this movie might be lame, in spite of the pretty bunny trailer and TV spots. If Massa doesn't like it, I'm halfway dissuaded. If Vern reviewed it at his site and HE doesn't approve as well... game over, man.<P>Ya gotsta know who to trust on this site. Harry: never. Quint: no, Special Ed gets a pat on the noggin, but not a lick of trust. Beaks: rarely. Capone: sometimes. Massawrym: 90% of the time.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 10:28 p.m. CST

    YAY Someone mentioned The Dark Knight

    by lockesbrokenleg

    Finally someone mentioned TDK in a thread. Congrats.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 10:57 p.m. CST

    The ninja sequence in The Last Samurai kicked major ass

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    I know people have a hardon for hating Tom Cruise movies lately, but you have to admit...that nighttime ninja attack scene was worth the price of admission. And NO SHAKEY-CAM!!!

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:07 p.m. CST

    A few things ...

    by HongKongCavalier

    First, personally I thought the concept of Batman being a ninja was wicked (if not 20/20 hindsight obvious). Second, I thought this was a GREAT review. Never a need to even come close to a spoiler while still giving a great feel of the pacing and overall feel of the film. Kudos Sir! Last: I was REALLY looking forward to this movie, but it looks like yet another "Unintentional Hollywood Justification for Torrent Sites" (especially the R5 kind)

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:08 p.m. CST

    How do you fuck up a ninja movie?

    by criticalbliss

    You mean it's possible? Goddamnit. Since Massa is about the only reviewer on AICN I trust implicitly, then I guess it's a rental. (It IS about ninjas, so I WILL see it).

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:16 p.m. CST

    Ninjas historically were the worst fighers

    by Nabster

    They were cowards who hid in the night. This was the only way they could fight since they could not mount an actual fight against Samurai.

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:33 p.m. CST

    ^^^ true, they're not good with Taijitsu

    by mistergreen

  • Nov. 24, 2009, 11:47 p.m. CST

    Am I crazy...

    by greyspecter

    ...or was the best martial arts movie in the last 5 years Kung Fu Panda?

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 12:16 a.m. CST


    by white_vader

    You do realise what McTeague's relationship to the Wachowskis is, don't you? And that he directed some of the Matrix stuff you're talking about? It sure doesn't come across that way. Then again, you could be the master of deadpan irony...

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 12:29 a.m. CST

    Did you have to use "hardon" and "Tom Cruise"

    by kabong

    in the same sentence, Nasty? <P> The "hating" part was good, though.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 1:22 a.m. CST

    The more I read Massawyrm's reviews

    by Player_Two_has_entered_the_game

    the more he comes across like one of those annoying film students you never want to get stuck with talking movies. If I want angry movie nerd I'll just read the talkbacks all day.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 1:28 a.m. CST

    No way angry movie nerd is Devin Faraci of Chud

    by Nabster

    Massa is cool.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 1:28 a.m. CST

    Angry movie nerd is Devin Faraci of Chud

    by Nabster

    Massa is cool.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 1:43 a.m. CST

    oh is it, Nabster?

    by Player_Two_has_entered_the_game

    Then I'll just go there if I want that and skip massa from now on. Thanks.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 2:52 a.m. CST

    GI JOE had some nice Ninja action

    by lockesbrokenleg

    It was the only good thing about that movie.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 3:03 a.m. CST

    For a second

    by criticalbliss

    I thought lockesbrokenleg actually had something positive to say.... <p> Almost happened.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 3:24 a.m. CST

    GI Joe is terrible

    by masteryoda007

    Sorry for all the people who liked this piece of shit but G.I. Joe sucked harder than Pamela Anderson at an oral sex convention in blowjob-land.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 6:20 a.m. CST

    Everyone person on earth is Devin Faraci of Chud

    by liesandpicturesofalsolies

    And him, all of us.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 6:38 a.m. CST

    CGI Joe

    by Righteous Brother

    has anyone coined that phrase yet? If not, I'm bagging it, as its a good one.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 6:52 a.m. CST


    by Tumor_Binks

    Fighting is awesome. Don't let the review stop you. Still massively enjoyable, true the third act just leaves you thinking about what could have been but I loved it all the same.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 6:52 a.m. CST

    Go Ninja, Go Ninja, GO! Go Ninja, Go Ninja, GO!

    by br1947

    I think we all know that Vanilla Ice's homage would have saved this film, it's all about the soundtrack!

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 7:03 a.m. CST

    A video game movie that sucks?

    by Powerring


  • Nov. 25, 2009, 7:10 a.m. CST


    by BranMakMorn

    You won me over with "JAP Ninjas", continue impressing us with your ignorance.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 7:23 a.m. CST

    Hap Face "Making things cooler"

    by BranMakMorn

    How does using a Korean popstar make a badass assassin again? Even if we stay within your myopic premise, that's like Justin Timberlake playing James Bond. And keep the name-callin down, you're a pigeon chirping at eagles.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 7:48 a.m. CST


    by dauphin534

    I posted this on the other talkback, but figured the comment belongs here. This movie lives up to the title Ninja Assassin. it's violent as hell, and pulls no punches on the gore. The preview audience I saw it with loved it. Not since 300, have I heard a crowd whoop and holler at onscreen killings and decapitations. I don't know if that's actually a good thing for us as a society, but this was definitely an entertaining crowd-pleaser. If you like seeing limbs flying and heads and necks split in half by swords and ninja stars, see this movie.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Happy Boy and the rest

    by Slaphappy Slim

    who claim knowledge of what the ninja were/are need to look up Masaaki Hatsumi, the Bujinkan, and the Togakure Ryu for the real thing and a true historical perspective. Ninja certainly exist today, they just happen to be regular people, not cartoon assassins. And whoever it was who said the ninja's taijutsu unarmed fighting method was inferior is an idiot. It is one of the most brutally effective combat systems ever conceived.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Duct Tape vs. Duck Tape

    by Cobbio

    Duct tape is the type of tape that, going back to World War II, is wide and silver and useful in almost any rebuilding situation.<p> Duck Tape is one of the many companies that makes and sells duct tape. It's a name brand, which is why talkbackers here have seen it in their local Wal-Mart.<p> To sum up: duct tape is the proper noun, Duck Tape is a name brand.<p> You can now return to your day.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 10:06 a.m. CST

    seppuku was for samurai...

    by Mechasheeva

    just saying.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Cobbio is almost right on Duck/Duct

    by Massawyrm 1

    Duck is the original name and BECAME the name brand. Duct is now the type, and Duck the brand - but it didn't start that way. For the record, I say DUCT, but my fingers failed me in the midst of a reviewing binge. Sorry for the whole thing.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Revenge of the Ninja was the best ninja movie.

    by CreasyBear

    Sho Kosugi was the best. As a kid, I didn't even stop to think "How did the evil white ninja with a perm get up to the penthouse and rig a mechanical fake arm into the hot tub?" I guess I just subconsciously understood that as a ninja, even a white one with a perm, he foresaw the steps of the unexpected battle inevitably leading to the hot tub on the Salt Lake City skyscraper's roof.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Still gonna see this shit!!

    by Dreadlock Holmes

    I don't give a fuck what you say Wrym!

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 10:46 a.m. CST

    American Ninja 1-3 BEST NINJA MOVIES EVER!!

    by Dreadlock Holmes

    Long live Michael Dudikoff!

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 11:20 a.m. CST

    The last Samurai's ninja assault on the village...

    by Ironhelix

    ...was pure fucking awesome. Best part of the whole movie.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 11:54 a.m. CST

    DucK, DuCt--- Goose! Ass,ass,ins=Ninja FAIL

    by ToMonicker

    Ahhh, the 80's and good ol' ninja exploitation: Sho Kosugi, Ninja magazines, Ninja How To books, and just like on that South Park episode, Ninja weapons at the local flea market or travelling gypsy hustler. Who gives a crap what you call Duck tape... Say Duct or Duck, and most people know what it is anyhow.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 1:06 p.m. CST

    Slaphappy Slim

    by Omar B

    I'm glad somebody here knows who Hatsumi is. I'm not apart of Bujinkan, but rather Genbukan and I'm always surprised at what people (mostly because of Hollywood) think of ninjas. When people ask me what style I do, I usually just say Kyokushin, since I've got a 2nd Dan in it and it's easier to explain than the long conversation Genbukan and taijutsu is.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 1:46 p.m. CST

    While we have some martial artists up in here...

    by spud mcspud

    And without you having to get into a big long discussion, I'm a complete non-martial artist so I have no clue what means what. What I WOULD like to know is: isn't ninjitsu the main martial art that's always associated with ninjas? And if that's wrong, then which martial art IS the one most used by real historical ninjas?<P> Hey, if the experts are here, why not pick their brains??...

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 2:34 p.m. CST

    Ninjas know ninjitsu? Thats just silly mcspud!

    by br1947

    Of course the method of choice for authentic ninjas of today is live-in-mom's-basement-watching-anime-pretending-to-be-a-ninja-fu. Usually these masters of the ancient arts can be found hunting elusive pokemon cards and are easily identified by Japanese tattoos which actually say "spicy tuna roll"

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 2:43 p.m. CST

    spud mcspud

    by Omar B

    The name ninjitsu is a western word made up to describe what ninjas do. Ninjas train in a variety of arts (usually 9), each separate and dealing with a certain combat range. Taijuitsu (body arts) is for hand to hand combat, Gyokko-ryu (muscle attacks) pressure point fighting, Koppojitsu for grappling, etc. Calling it ninjitsu is a gross oversimplification of a study of many arts. It's like assuming a doctor goes to college to study a class named "doctorin'."

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 6:48 p.m. CST

    Holy shit I remember this video game

    by lockesbrokenleg

    I remember playing this, and I got stuck on one level and never finished. The controls were a bitch.

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 6:57 p.m. CST

    I was actually referring to ...

    by afrayedknot

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 6:58 p.m. CST

    I was actually referring to ...

    by afrayedknot

    "The Last Ninja" movie released in 1983 starring Michael Beck and Mako. It was a great made-for-television movie!

  • Nov. 25, 2009, 7:47 p.m. CST

    Saw it for Free cuz of some tickets my buddy had

    by T 1000 xp professional

    pretty boring, guys. Massa was right on the money. You really do stop caring as the movie goes on until it gets to the point of you wanting it to end. My friend thought the same way. :/

  • Nov. 26, 2009, 12:25 a.m. CST


    by Jed

    I think most theaters use shitty projection systems and the movie is dark, because, um, ninja. when I saw it at a test screening it was *much* easier to tell what was going on. I submit that this will not look so funky on dvd. This guy has given a pass to countless irredeemable pieces of shit and he's just taking a shot for street cred. I thought it was probably the best-paced ninja movie imaginable, and the darkness served a specific purpose, so to did the absence of darkness. Yes, I do have a man-crush on Rain. He's Dreamy.

  • Nov. 26, 2009, 12:36 a.m. CST


    by Jed

    at no point does the movie explicitly state that the titular character is Japanese. Ninja were orphans. I'm not going to front like there's not boring not-ninja shit in this movie. EVERYTHING THAT'S NOT NINJA SHIT IN A NINJA MOVIE IS BORING. The fact that what's there was remotely as well-paced as it was makes this a high water-mark of ninja cinema.

  • Nov. 26, 2009, 1:14 a.m. CST


    by Cruel_Kingdom

    Weirdly enough, I just had a conversation about this film with R.A. the Rugged Man today. It was simultaneously cool and weird to find that the man absolutely knew his fucking ninja movies.

  • Nov. 26, 2009, 1:16 a.m. CST

    Sho Kosugi is one bad mofo

    by Cruel_Kingdom

    That is all.

  • Nov. 26, 2009, 2:18 p.m. CST


    by Omar B

    Sorry man, you are wrong. Ninja were not orphans, in fact their arts were refereed to as Family Arts because they were grown and refined through many generations within a family. Their lineage of succession was based upon family too. In fact the grandmasters of Bujinkan and Genbukan schools are cousins.