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WARNING: Contains spoilers for Ninja Assassin. Don't read this if you think that you want to be surprised by--

No. Calling them plot twists is seriously unfair to all the quality plot out there getting honestly twisted. I've seen episodes of Blue's Clues with more surprises. (Particularly the episode where you find out Steve is going to college, never to return. Since I believe Blue's Clues is a sort of complicated metaphor for an insane asylum, watching the lead inmate leave to live a normal life was quiet touching. Look, I'm a nanny, I've seen a LOT of Blue's Clues; I had to think of SOMETHING to keep from going mad.)

I'm going to be honest, I went to see this for Rain and violence. If you, like me, are a fan of Rain wandering around a set being sex-on-a-stick while in various stages of not really dressed, then I heartily recommend this movie. If you, like me, are a fan of violent scenes that are so over the top they wander into the Looney Tunes world of falling anvils and scattered limbs? Then I recommend this movie.

If you prefer meaningful films with deep, well-rounded characters, violence, good acting, sculpted abs and rad effects...

Go watch Fight Club. I'll wait.


Still good, isn't it?

On a side note, in the previews there was a review for a movie called Youth in Revolt, which looks like a Fight Club you don't have to watch twice. Since it is probably both Norton and Pitt-free, and instead has two Michel Ceras, I'll let you do the math there.

Anyway, Ninja Assassin. The movie starts out with a group of punk-ass Yakuza. We know they are punk-asses, because we see them snorting cocaine, drinking from the bottle, using the word fuck, and of course, disrespecting their elders.

The elder is played by wizened old tattoo master, who at his age should know better than to go and do in-house tattoos anyway. Does the man not have a studio? Must not have much of a reputation if he's working for those assholes.


While being tattooed, Head Jackass is given an envelope filled with black sand.

Wizened Elder widdles himself a bit, makes a sad noise, and instead of running off home, stays and tells Head Jackass how long ago he survived an attack by ninja that was heralded by an envelope full of black sand, because his heart is in the wrong place.

This bit of foreshadowing was inserted with all the subtly of moonshine to punch at the prom.

Anyway, his heart is in the wrong place. So is his brain, because, as I mentioned, he just sort of stands there when the ninja shows up and the limbs start to fly.

Which was FUCKING AWESOME. The CGI blood splatters were kinda cartoony, but the half heads and spontaneous limb loss....Yeah.

My personal favorite was the guy that just got yanked up into the rafters all Batman-style, but fell down in bits (which I suppose is sorta more Wolverine-style.)

Wizened Old Man Who Should Have Known Better got decapitated, because the ninja heard his doomy little story about his misplaced heart, and decided that the same mistake would not be made twice. I spent a good ten minutes wondering if, had Mr. Tattoo Artist kept his mouth shut, he might have survived this attack as well, by getting stabbed in the not-heart again. Way to sacrifice some poor old guy in the name of foreshadowing, writer dudes.

Then we cute to Berlin, where we see Urbane Europol Guy (because Interpol is a LONG WORD to write in a screen play, Oh Em Geeeee) and Perky Europol Girl, who has a THEORY. About NINJAS. And how for centuries the going rate for an assassination was a hundred pounds of gold, and it is STILL HAPPENING if you just translate into modern currency. As you can see in this bank statement showing that a fuck ton of dollars equivalent to EXACTLY one hundred pounds of gold was paid out by Some Shady Organization following A Notorious Assassination.

Nezu pointed out afterwards that in ancient Japan they did not USE pounds, so, what the fuck?

Anyway, kids get abducted and made into NINJA. By the Nine Clans. Who are still around, being paid one hundred pounds of gold for the dead bodies they generate.

Then we cut to Raizo Rain doing laundry. I think. After this point, I kinda lose track of what scenes happened when. I'm hoping desperately that Movies In Fifteen Minutes does a write up of this.

Anyway, Raizo. Rain. Whatever. Sexy, sexy (Asian, so you know he's a ninja) man inserting quarters and so forth at the laundromat. They could have showed half an hour of this and it probably would have contained as much, if not more, drama than the route they choose. Picture it! Will he use bleach? Oh no! A red sock! The tragedy of pink shirts! Is he manly enough to pull off the pink? (answer: yes.) I imagine five minutes in he would decide to wash the shirt he was wearing, in which case, well. Yay!

Hollywood, if you're reading this, we demand more RainXLaundry movies. They'll probably be cheaper to make.

A cute (Asian, so you know she's a ninja, too) girl asks for help with sheet folding.

Rain: What Clan are you from?

Cute Asian Chick: I have ho idea why you'd even ask me that (in English at a laundromat in Berlin, where we are the only two Asians around.)

Shock! She is, in fact, a ninja assassin! They fight. Cue dramatic Muzak! Who will win? (Guess.)

Cut scene to the laundromat owner/night shift guy watching some King Fu movie on TV. Wait, what's that sound? One of the machines is out of balance?

I think a great opportunity was lost when they didn't show A) Dead Ninja Girl's face pressed to the inside of the washing machine window, or B) her head toppling out when Owner/Night Shift Guy came out to see what the commotion was and found blood leaking from the machine.

Rain must have broken the seal with his awesomeness, because most washing machines don't leak like that, and I assume that even ninja blood in not corrosive. He's Korean, not an Alien Hybrid.

Blood on the laundromat floor is used as a 'clever' way to segue into catsup being spurted onto french fries.

Yes. Really. They must have gotten the CGI blood splatters on sale because THEY USED ONE THERE.

Back to Europol Guy and Perky Girl, eating lunch. More Europol things are discussed.

Moment of coolness: The last Europol guy -- a Stone Cold ex-KGB Spy -- who started to investigate the Nine Clan theory of assassination went a bit insane. He surrounded his house with floodlights, installed a million deadbolts, and probably walked around muttering 'damn ninjas better stay off my lawn!' while fondling his pistol. Then was apparently surprised when they managed to cut the power right before they ninja assassinated him. I would have gone full bore paranoid with a generator, myself, but that's just me.

Anyway, it's just kind of a neat touch.

Cut to random scenes of Raizo Rain working out in his apartment, waving swords around, having flashbacks to ninja training academy at the drop of a hat (here's a spoiler, TRAGIC SHIT HAPPENED), and generally being well-oiled, lean, and lick-able.

Note: In the flashbacks we see one of the abducted kids fated to be ninja is a little white boy with big blue eyes and reddish blond hair. You never see him again, but it was kinda neat. Actually they had a moment where they COULD have used that detail, and made one of the somewhat sinister Europol guys turn out to have been The Whitest Little Ninja, but nope. That would have been, you know, artful.

Back to Raizo Rain. I wish he'd been attacked in his little apartment, because he apparently had gear stowed everywhere: shuriken under drawers, swords in the paneling, a kusuri gama inside the false seat of a chair. The generally impression is that he's also a handyman of sorts, though of a specialized nature.

More Europol stuff: Perky Girl goes to visit the widow of Crazy Dead ex-KGB Guy and reveals that she is a Forensic Researcher. (I have this image of the writers going 'people like forensics, right? That shit's popular! Yeah, make her a forensic something or other!') She gets some photocopies of photocopies of Secret Ninja Documents that Dead ex-KGB Guy would have wanted Perky Girl to have according to Tragic Widow, even though she's only just met her. Then, back at Europol HQ, the heat is increasing on our agents! Whooo! Here's where creepy Internal Affairs guy who Nezu desperately hoped would turn out to be the Whitest Little Ninja comes in. But nope, he's just creepy. Although probably working for the ninja. Maybe. It's confusing.


Raizo Rain gets a note somehow (this is NEVER EVER EXPLAINED) that tells him Perky Girl Forensic Researcher (even she admits that this is sort of like a glorified librarian) whose name I can't really recall but who I actually kinda liked, is going to be ninja assassinated.

So Rain goes and saves her ass, and it's worth noting two things. Well, three.

One, she DOES try to shoot the guys. It's established that it's not her gun and that she doesn't really have one of her own, and she still figures out the basic principle of pointing the damn thing and unloading.

Two, when the gun gets knocked out of her hand, even thought she's freaking out a lot, she tries to retrieve it.

Since women in movies seem to think that guns are there for the men to use, and tend to wave them around a little feebly (with the exception of the warrior!Women) it's nice to see a female giving a go at firepower. I could write a whole other post on my issues with women and guns in movies, but I won't. It was just surprising to see it not sucking in this one.


Three, he doesn't really save her to save her so much as to piss the other ninja off. Which I liked. There wasn't a huge Must Protect The Innocent vibe so much as a 'man, fuck those guys!' feeling.

There is driving, she demonstrates the ability to put big border bits of the puzzle together. (Wow, they must really be pissed off at you, they tried to kill me just for being nosy).

She's also shaking when they get into the car, giving off a good shocky sort of reaction (I'm going to go ahead and dub her performance 'doing the best she could with what she had'), while Raizo Rain is very calmly folding up his little ninja ski cap thing and generally being relaxed about the guy he just stabbed in the brain to death.

It worked. We (Nezu and I) intend to steal that.

(Stabbed in the brain to death is the leading cause of death in cannon-fodder ninja, please call 1-800-SHINOBI to pledge as little as a dollar to help find a cure.)

More flashbacks happen. The inevitable end of his tragic backstory is told. Well, the tragic bit is told. Which is not actually the whole reason he Turns Against the Clan. I maintain he hit the breaking point not because of the thing with the girl, but because he couldn't stand another minute of bad diologue from Big Daddy Ninja.

(I took a break while writing this review to watch a DVD of a movie with a plot line and acting in it. Oceans 11. It's derailed me somewhat. Give me a minute here to contemplate the Abs of Rain, and we'll resume the rundown.)

Oh yes, by now Rain semi-trusts Perky Girl Europol Lass (she gets a better name now, since she was sort of bad ass with the gun), so when she wants to meet up with her boss, whom she trusts, he goes with her. (Note: ironic double crossing and unclear loyalty issues ahead.)

When they get there he sort of sighs, tells the man he's being stupid and a lot of people will probably die now, and then gets the FUCK tazed out him. Like, thirty swat guys to drag him in.

Which I approved of. I like seeing threats taken seriously.

They chain his feet together, strap him up with seat-belts and locking carabiners, then chain him to a wall and point bright lights at him. It's kinda hot, kinda amusing, and came across as a bit of a kinky photo-shoot. (This is Nobiki's fault, as Raizo Rain sort of made me think of her Iruka. Although Nezu thought so, too, and she's not writing with Nobiki. Anyway we approve of kinky bondage!Rain. Ahem. Moving on.)

E-Lass apologizes for the whole double cross thing. Raizo Rain informs her he can hear her heartbeat (and he is therefore Daredevil only hotter than Ben Affleck and with, you know. Sight.) Vague additional references to tragic ninja childhood go here.

NOTE: When you first get to see the image of the little ninja training academy (which produces a fucklot of ninja cause the little bastards SWARM Berlin, and it only looks like maybe two acres) don't bother looking for Bruce Wayne scaling the cliff side with a little blue flower. He's two movies and one peak to the north of Ninja Assassin..

ALSO! Ancient secret orders: What the hell, man? Are the lowlands too good for you? What's with the snowbound hells? How tough is a ninja missing three toes? Oooh, watch out for the four toed tiger of the east! Whoooo! Maybe land is cheap there, but it seems tricky to get enough bunks in.

Minor seventh chord! Bondage!Rain tells her the ninja are coming!

The power goes out!!

Ninja come!!!


I sense a theme. GENERATORS, PEOPLE.

There is a fucklot of carnage, and some really good visual moments of shinobi just popping out of the woodwork like angry bees. Plot-heavy it is not; the brainpower was clearly spent on the most awesome ways to make ninja look bad ass.

E-Lass get into the cell to unlock Rain.

E-Lass: I have the keys! Also your jacket and your weapon! (The weapon I knew you'd want, and the jacket that looks really good on you.)

Raizo Rain: E-Lass, I like you more and more.

E-Lass: I shall drop to my knees now!


Raizo Rain: You might want to go faster, they're coming in the door.

E-Lass: Tell that cackling pervert that I'm unlocking your feet!

Rain: You are? Damn. I mean. Of course. Well, I guess I'm free enough to kick this guy's ass though. Ah well, it's not like I'll be tied up like this for your pleasure again soon...

To be fair it wouldn't be the first action movie to have sex at an inopportune moment. It was just hilarious how FAST she dropped. And, c'mon, feet? The keys? Give the man a free hand and a pocket knife, and step the hell back.

Blood happens. Someone had FUN running around that set with a squirt-gun filled with red syrup, 'cause there were arterial spurts everywhere, and big sticky puddles that they both stepped around.

She runs for the car, gets in. It's a VW. (Cause they're in BERLIN, right? So it's got to be a German car.)

Bad Ninja Number, like, 230, drops on top of the car and goes stabby stabby in the window and through the roof. She romps on the gas and shoots him in the foot through the moon roof.


She drives like a bit of a madman and manages to run one more over (I think) and doesn't get her dumb self killed. In fact, she manages to save Raizo Rain's ass.

The more I think about it, the more I like her. Which is slightly weird, and makes me wish I'd noted her name.

HE, meanwhile, has had a HUGE and AWESOME bad-ass fight and chase scene with about a hundred more ninja. Insanely rad, culminating in them chasing him across a rather busy looking four lane turnaround-roundabout thingy, jumping over cars, and more stabbity stabbity damn, those CGI shuriken do a LOT of damage.

At one point Vindictive Bastard Nin that had fun being a major player in Raizo Rain's childhood angst squares off with him, and they both get hit by a car.

Well, I thought it was cool.

Ass saving happens.

Rain is at this point a bloody fucked up mess on a cheap hotel bed, and out like every other damn light in this movie. E-Lass scoots closer and for a few horrible seconds it looks like it's declaration of love time.

"I know you can't hear me, but--"


"Thank you for saving my life, I'm sorry I'm not being more helpful but I'm not that good at this."

Except for the one she took out on her own, and the one she whacked with the car to save Rain's ass with.

"And I'm sorry."

I do forgive her the kiss on the cheek, 'cause even with a gut wound, he's dead sexy. I mighta licked him.

Then she activates the little GPS thingy--

Oh. yeah. The plot thingy. Look, don't worry about the how, she has one, okay? Europol Man gave it to her as a token of love as an OH SHIT button.

And goes and has a smoke in the parking lot while the ninja come and haul Rain's ass away. By the time the EuroPolice arrive, he's been gone ten minutes.

Meanwhile, in a metal crate somewhere getting Fed-Exed back to the secret mountain dojo (Fed-Ex can deliver anywhere) Rain learns how to make his gut-wound heal with hand seals and flashbacks. Also, the fact that the universe wants the man to look good and it's harder for him to do that with a gash in his belly.

None of the ninja notice that he's in better shape when they get him out of the box than when they put him in. This is because there were apparently about seven hundred ninja, and when you do things in shifts some details get lost.

I'd like to mention now that only fifty or so were visible standing around to watch Big Daddy Ninja tear out Raizo Rain's heart for disloyalty. This is either because the rest of them were being really good at being ninja, and I couldn't see them, or because the ranks were suffering from erosion by Rain.

OR there just weren't anymore flights from Berlin on ClanAir, where your sword rides free!

Berlin must just be cheap to live in, or something.

Anyway, they're getting ready to gut Rain by poking him VERY hard in the navel, when on the third heave of blood he pukes up...

The GPS thingy!

Then tanks show up.

Well, Humvees. And helicopters.

But still. It's a tiny little dojo up a mountain. How did they get there? And why?

They should have just bombed it. Really. They didn't KNOW he was still alive.

Eh, fuck it.

Ninja that have been startled die really fast. Twenty bite the dust in the first hail of gunpowder.

E-Lass gets her knees dirty again freeing Rain's feet, which is making me think she must have a fetish of some sort. Maybe she loves being at eye lever with his belly button (understandable), or she likes to fondle ankles. I'm not here to judge. Much.


Well, first yet another awesome fight is had.

Big Bad Daddy Nin is hunted down, a few symbols of childhood abuse are crushed to splinters, and Rain... Raizo. Whatever...

Gets spanked.

Well, not literally. I assume that'll be the director's cut, but he's beaten all the way to the 'Flat on my face with no weapon going to get killed' by Big Bad Nin Daddy's super-rad shinobi shadow skillz: totally screwed

When E-Lass puts five rounds in Nin Daddy's back.

I think the score is one to three, there, Rain. Oh, sure, you've saved her a few times, but she seems to get into the most shit going back to save your perfectly sculpted ass, buddy.

Big Bad Nin Daddy stabs her in the heart.

Rain has some sort of emotional/stress induced epiphany that would have been nice for E-Lass like, tensecondsagothanks, and kills the hell out of BBND.

Did I mention how time works in the Dojo dimension? It was sunny when he was tied to the pillar, then it night when the attack was in full swing and the dojo was in (dramatic against the night sky) flames, and now as he carries her (lucky actress, there) limp body out, the sun is rising over the ashy ruins.

She is, of course, going to be fine.

Can you guess why?


Go read the start of this bloated monster of a review again and SEE if you can try to guess!

She probably won't wander around telling people stories about her misplaced heart.

Roll credits.

It was AWFUL, but it was awful the way deep fried jalapenos and Krispy-Kreme hamburgers are bad. Tasty, tasty empty calories.

Nezu and I recommend going to see it, because Rain should be allowed to do more shirtless laundry in movies, and we don't care how much it costs to hire a crew to follow him around with a mister bottle full of oil.

We REALLY recommend smuggling in a bottle of your favorite spirit and liberally spiking your four-dollar soda with it. For starters, with a liberal amount of mental lubrication, you won't mind paying as much for a snack as you would for a meal at Burger King.

Secondly, the drinking game'd be easy.

Dead guy, take a drink. Black sand, take a drink. Limb hits the ground? Take a drink. Gouts of CGI blood? Take a drink. Rain's abs? Take a drink. Flashback? Take a drink. Every time the OMG SO BAD dialogue makes you snort? Wait till you calm down, and take a drink.

You should probably just pick, like, a few of those though, or you'll drink yourself to death.

(Real life notes: Thanksgiving was VERY good, it's been a fun week.)

(Other note: Also posted at [ profile] guntotinglesbo )
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messypeaches: speech bubble froot loops (Default)

February 2012


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