By: William Goss, reprinted from Fantastic Fest '09
One can't ask too much of a film called Ninja Assassin -- that's a given -- but James McTeigue's proper directorial follow-up to V for Vendetta does its damnedest to take that insta-pulp title and weave around it a worn-out tale of forbidden love, family betrayal, and government conspiracy. Complete with some hard-to-see fight scenes and some harder-to-hear dialogue, all delivered with a poker-straight face and capped off with some super-splattery kills, it's like a graphic novel adaptation with comic book punctuation, a film so flagrant in its fakery that it almost forgets to have any fun.
Raizo (Korean pop star Rain, of Speed Racer and "Colbert Report" fame) was once an orphan, raised by a secretive clan to, um, assassinate as, well, a ninja would. One forbidden fling and one shamed father later, and our pariah protagonist is off to Berlin in order to save Europol* agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) from the grisly fate that her criminal investigations have inevitably drawn.