Friday, April 02, 2010

Ninja's Assassination Averted Due to Dull Blade

Ninja Assassin


Dear Marvel,

How have you been? I see you just signed Chris Evans to be the new Captain America. As an avid Cap reader I am still not quite sure how I feel about the choice. I know you are thinking about the long-term Avengers franchise but I always pictured Captain America being played by someone closer to Robert Downey Jr.'s age. I just can see the Human Torch...err...Chris Evans giving orders to a much older Iron Man. Oh well, I am getting off topic...the reason I am writing you is because I would like to pitch a movie idea to you. I think it is time you seriously think about making an Immortal Iron Fist movie. Now I understand that Iron Fist is a fringe character; but so was Blade and look how successful that franchise was for you. Plus Iron Fist would be a far more interesting character than the Ant-Man movie you are currently making.

The idea for an Iron Fist movie came to me when I was watching John McTeigue's film Ninja Assassin. I will not bore you with all the plot details as the title pretty much tells you all you need to know. Raizo (Rain) is trained to be a ninja assassin from a very young age. After the girl he loves is killed by the Ozunu clan, the same clan that trained him, Raizo teams up with agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) in hopes of bringing down the ninja organization for good.

While Ninja Assassin has its moments, I could not help but think how much better the film would have been if it had the gripping story arcs and character depth that can be found in superior works like Iron Fist. If you really think about it, with the films over-the-top action sequences and relentless gore factor, Ninja Assassin feels like a comic book movie more than it does a martial arts film. Which is not surprising considering that J. Michael Straczynski , who wrote Clint Eastwood's Changeling as well as the recent Thor comic reboot, was one of the writers behind Assassin. Now I am not saying that you bring Straczynski into the fold if you do take me up on my suggestion. I believe that Ed Brubaker, who wrote the first Immortal Iron Fist story arc, should be in charge of adapting the material. Though I would suggest that you use several of the elements that worked well in Ninja Assassin.

The first thing I would keep is the way McTeigue had the ninjas spawning out of the shadows and communicating in whispers. Not only was this a cool touch, but it also created a creepy atmosphere at the same time. When you consider how large the Ozunu clan is, there are times when you genuinely wonder if the characters will make it out alive. I also like that the film actually had a villain that was more than just a figurehead for evil. Lord Ozunu (Sho Kosugi) dishes out the lethal blows with such ease that you secretly hope he will come out on top. Sure the overall ending is poor but at least the final fight scene provided some creative moments. The last positive thing I would use from this film is Naomie Harris, who would make a perfect Missy Knight by the way, as she seemed to be the only credible actor in the entire cast.

Feel free to scrap everything else. If Ninja Assassin is supposed to be Rain's big Hollywood coming out party, then he may not want to blow out the candles just yet. There is very little in the film that sells Rain as a plausible leading man. While he does show brief flashes of charisma, the lack of a proper script really exposes the limitations of his range as an actor. This is probably why the film relies so heavily on the excessive death sequences. Sure the opening scene was fun to watch but after awhile you realize that there are only so many decapitations a person can sit through before it gets stale.

As mindless entertainment Ninja Assassin is passable at best. Yet it lacks an engaging story, like the ones in the Immortal Iron Fist comics, to keep you interested after the twentieth limb goes flying across the screen. Anyways, the ball is now in your court Marvel. You can make an Iron Fist movie and rake in a Blade-style haul. Or you can sit by and watch lesser works like Ninja Assassin steal the comic-style martial arts market.

Your pal,
CS

5 comments:

  1. Rain, I think, is adorable. But I do no buy him as a deadly ninja. It is put best by one of the cops in the film: "He looks like he should be in a boy band."

    Ahem.

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  2. Good review but I haven't seen the film yet so I cannot comment. But I will say that I am very dissapoited with the casting of Chris Evans as Captin America. It's bad enough that Evans is an uninteresting actor but has he ever even been in a good movie? I'm too lazy to look it up but I can ever remembering seeing him in anything I've liked.

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  3. @Simon - I will need to see Rain in some more stuff before I can make the final call. So far this and Speed Racer have not been the best introductions for him.

    @Mike - Evans is better suited to play Cap's sidekick Bucky. I think an actor like Chris Pine would have been a good choice if he was not already in the Star Trek franchise. I guess we will have to wait and see what Evans does with the role.

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  4. I haven't seen Ninja Assassin and part of that has to do with the poster (as silly as that may sound). Come on, we don't get to see the top of that dude's head?

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  5. @Edgar - Any poster that gives the weapon more love than it does the actor should be considered a warning sign. Trust me, you are not missing much.

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