For those of you looking for a well-balanced and heck, even well- thought out and conceived review, please head over to Rottentomatoes or IMDB now for a review of this movie, because you will not find that here. You also won’t find a RainxSoy-Saucyx4ever kind of fangirling here either (at least I sure hope not!). You will find, however, my insights on the movie that many of us here at Seoulbeats have been waiting for and that has been advertised on every bus, billboard, and pretty much anything flat and city-approved, as well as all over youtube, in the last eight months or so. Ok, and I’ll probably talk about Mr. Bad Boy Bi turned “Ninja Assassin” himself at some length too.
As I exclaimed upon exiting the auditorium after my “Assassin” viewing ( and pretty much as I was thinking inwardly when we made our post-Thanksgiving dinner movie selection), “What better way to make you thankful for your life than a movie pervaded with stealthy black-clad ninjas waiting to kill you at every dark corner!” Indeed. Nothing says “thankful” like an inordinate amount of the red, corn-syrupy stuff and violence and gore galore.
I’m not going to touch on the plot much, because well, to be honest, who cares about the plot? This is not some drama or period piece up for an Academy Award and overwrought with diverging plot lines or epic monologues. C’mon people-this is “Ninja Assassin”. I am sure you have all seen the many trailers by now (and if not, what rock have you been living under?!), but for those of you who haven’t a clue as to what “Ninja Assassin” is all about, please go here and see the following:
Back to the plot- it wasn’t terrible. Although not wholly realistic-and what is when you are dealing with ninjas-it keeps you engaged and entertained. Or at least it kept me engaged and entertained. But maybe that was the post-Thanksgiving food coma talking… I’ll let you be the judge. Plus, an excellent plot wasn’t the driving force behind my somewhat irrational desire to see the film anyway. But I sure was hoping for the best from Rain and for him (or better-than-Speed Racer at the very least).
And although I awaited this movie with great anticipation (for months thanks in part to Rottentomatoes for putting it on their “Most Anticipated” list earlier this year), I sadly (being the cynic that I am) did not have hopes of the lofty variety for it. Luckily for me, I can definitely stomach some violence and gore (although I will not go anywhere near the “Saw” films or the like), and a whole lotta Rain. Even though I was well-prepared for the movie in that sense, I certainly was not ready for just how much violence, gore and Rain, there would be.
So for those of you who can’t stand the sight of gory violence and bloodshed, or Rain (it’s OK, non-Rain fans-no one is going to force you to see this), this movie is just not for you. Even with a stellar plot, soundtrack, and cinematography this movie still wouldn’t be for you. And considering I can’t remember a thing about the music (what-no Rain?!), all you soundtrack elitists should stay far away too.
But, for those of you already considering seeing a movie for purely entertainment purposes (read: not for profundity or inciting thought-provoking discourse), and somewhat inclined to spend an hour and a half indoors watching a very slick and modern take on the legendary ninja tradition, some remarkable martial artistry and CGI, or just Rain, I say, why not? It’s not like you have anything to lose and it is the only ninja film out at the moment…
Onto my insights! Like the many passings of flatulence after consuming a Thanksgiving meal, Rain’s ninja Raizo was just as “silent-but-deadly”. He didn’t say much, but when he did it was always important- it would most likely be saving your life or ending it. The other thing about Rain/Raizo’s limited dialogue- less room for bad Engrish! As you all know, I have lambasted poor Rain for his less than perfect English in the past, but he redeems himself in this film-I can’t say whether it was due to his few lines (thank goodness for the lack of Shakespearean monologues here) or many hours spent studying, but Rain delivers each and every one of his (I don’t know, 50?) lines extremely well and with some pretty convincing acting. Moreover, he delivers not only great lines, but also some dead serious butt-kicking!
Inasmuch as we like to poke fun at Rain, and as often as he is on the butt-end of our many jokes, every now again he shows me why he is the sensation and phenomenon he is. And, ladies and gentlemen, it isn’t his good looks, amazing body, or resume that do it-but it’s his due diligence, dedication, and passion that are so impressive.
For him it wasn’t enough to be a K-pop star or to have acted in one of the most massively popular Korean dramas; he aimed to reach beyond the shores of Hallywood to Hollywood. And though his first foray into Hollywood was a complete and utter FLOP, he was resilient and landed his second role in Hollywood as Raizo, our tall, dark, and stealthy (and sexy!), ninja assassin. And like his ninja character, Rain is committed to seeing his goals through to the end, while fighting away any obstacles that try to stop him, and to come out on top. I can’t say now whether his second strike in Hollywood is a certified success, but in my book, his ambition, drive and improvement-on his English, his crazily chiseled body (there is an incredible scene involving a bed of nails and Rain’s body) and his acting, to name a few- make him anything but a flop.