It's so bad, it's good.
With a surprise introduction by director James McTeigue, the Vancouver Film Festival premiere screening of Ninja Assassin, was met with an excited audience, who knew exactly what they were in for -- pure entertainment.
Your typical martial arts revenge formula: Renegade assassin, check. Hordes of disposable ninja goons, check. Head villian with nasty facial scar, check. Chick trying to investigate secret ninja clan, so check! And if you didn't know better, you'd probably think this was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the movie, something I couldn't stop thinking about during the entire length of the flick.
Amped up on high tech graphics, cartoony, over the top violence, and structured in a way that could be broken down into mangas, animes, or videogame levels, (or videogame titles, for that matter), the movie hits all the high points, in between the bits of story that the audience could care less about.
What more can you expect from a movie titled "Ninja Assassin"? Ninjas trying to kill other ninjas, of course. With the backing of the crew who worked on The Matrix series, the movie is a visual effects feast, with some padding of events to move the plot, Ninja Assassin, is an entertaining film, that really isn't anything else.
More videogamey than The Matrix, Ninja Assassin is like watching a videogame play out on screen. Any gamer would be able to pick out bits of Ninja Gaiden, and Mirror's Edge, in the film. It also has a feel of old 90s martial arts B movies, where the fight choreography takes center stage, while the rest is filler. The bad acting, and attempts at making the actors seem intelligent, and the supposed drama between them, are cheesy at best.
The fight scenes and stunt work are top notch, fused with lots of visual effects, lots of blood, limbs, and the Bullet Time style to really drive the point home. There's even a roof top scene, in which our main character has a neo-dodging-bullets moment, only thing is, he doesn't dodge them.
This film of course, has bigger, slicker production values to camouflage lack of any real depth. Not that the movie needs it, because that's not what Ninja Assassin is trying to be. If you're looking for an over the top, VFX heavy action flick, this would be it.