Burning curiosity and lingering question marks have been hanging over James McTeigue’s geek wet-dream epic “Ninja Assassin” for some time now, with early critical response sharply divided — as if by katana blade, waka waka! (I’m here all week, folks!) — between chest-poundingly ecstatic and vengefully bitter.
Personally, I just hope that the flick can deliver some well-shot and cut action. With the majority of recent martial arts pictures looking and feeling like monotonous drunken rides on the Blur-a-Tron 2000, stuffed stupid with epileptic camera-work and incomprehensible editing, it would be refreshing to see an American chop-socky effort match the “Holy crap! I can’t believe what I’m seeing!” clarity and execution of the superior Asian exports.
I also just really want to live in a world where a dude named Rain is a Hollywood superstar. (I’m a simple man with modest dreams.)
Thanks to your friends and ours over at Trailer Addict, we can now hem and haw over four new clips featuring the film’s titular ninja assassin Raizo (Rain) kicking mucho ass. Whether he’s out of bubble gum or not is left ambiguous.
Personally, I’m really digging on the first clip and the last clip, depicting the character’s nifty training regiments. There’s some wonderful sound mixing, with the sharp swishing of the swords and the whooshing of the bladed-chain brought front and centre in the mix to emphasize Raizo’s ultra-heightened senses, and the footage is elegant and appropriately shadowy.
And you’ve got to love random scenes in which ripped men braver than I work beds of nails into their workout routine. Geez, how great a party trick would that be?!
The other two clips, which allow us a peek at the flick’s gruelling ninja vs. ninja combat, I’m a bit iffier on. The choreography is smooth and fluid, and that shot of the gaggle of masked killers hangin’ out on the ceiling is beyond cool, but the inky blackness of the night-time setting makes the unfolding chaos somewhat difficult and frustrating to follow.
But who am I kidding? No amount of quibbling is going to deter me, and likely you, from rushing out to see “Ninja Assassin” when it stealthily drops into theatres on Nov. 25.
Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.