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With the Wachowski Brothers serving as producers, it should come as no surprise that NINJA ASSASSIN ($36) is an unapologetic ninety-nine minutes of blood, gore and martial arts mayhem. If you have an appetite for this type of popcorn entertainment, you will find yourself quite sated. However, if you are looking for a whole lot of depth in both the characters and story, you will find yourself unfulfilled. In a nutshell, NINJA ASSASSIN is the kind of movie that offers up only enough plot for the creative team to string together the spectacle of their numerous blood-soaked action sequences. Of course, the virtuosity of said blood-soaked action sequences makes NINJA ASSASSIN the kind of film that can be thoroughly enjoyed for this aspect alone, despite its story and characterization weaknesses. A combination of stylish camera work, beautiful martial arts choreography and digital effects, NINJA ASSASSIN delivers genre fans all the expected entertainment value… and does so in spades.

The premise of NINJA ASSASSIN tells of Raizo (Rain), who as a boy, was adopted by the Ozunu Clan and raised by his "father" Lord Ozunu (Sho Kosugi) to become a ninja assassin. The ninja training is brutal, with Kiriko (Anna Sawai), a female ninja apprentice, showing Raizo the only kindness he is ever to know during his youth. As Raizo grows to adulthood, he shows the ability to be the greatest of all ninja assassins; however, his spirit is ultimately pushed to the breaking point and Raizo rebels against Lord Ozunu. Turning his skills against the Ozunu Clan itself, Raizo becomes both the hunter and the hunter- facing off against his "family" in one deadly encounter after another. Ultimately, the situation reaches the boiling point, when Europol agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) begins investigating recent ninja assassinations, thus making herself a new target Ozunu Clan. The cast NINJA ASSASSIN also includes Rick Yune and Ben Miles.

Warner Home Video has made NINJA ASSASSIN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. In my humble opinion, NINJA ASSASSIN features the kind of 1080p presentation that makes this popcorn movie into pure eye candy. Whatever faults that some may find with the movie itself, I doubt that even the critics of NINJA ASSASSIN can fault this gorgeous high definition presentation. Image sharpness, depth and dimensionality are all truly excellent. Fine details and texturing of objects are equally terrific, with individual hairs and imperfections in the actor’s skin being clearly visible. Even the CGI work looks incredible, and has been beautifully integrated into the image. Colors are fully saturated, especially the blood reds, and are rendered without noise or other flaws. Additionally, flesh tones always appear attractive. Blacks are pure, as are the whites. The image also demonstrates exemplary contrast and shadow detail. The elements from which NINJA ASSASSIN has been mastered show no noticeable imperfections. There is just enough grain in the picture to make the presentation seem organic.

NINJA ASSASSIN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. No surprises here, NINJA ASSASSIN sports a truly dizzying, aggressively mixed action movie sound design that perfectly complements the film’s over the top visuals. All the outlying channels are pumped up and pumping out sound effects, which zip, whip and ricochet all over the sound field. Swords cut the air (amongst other things), while ninja throwing stars seem to come from everywhere. Fidelity is truly excellent, with both the music and the sound effects benefiting from the lossless encode. The bass channel is deep, percussive and provides plenty of force for all the body impacts, not to mention gunfire, occasional car crashes and explosions. Despite the melee, dialogue is always crisp and easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Featurettes and other programs include the following: The Myth And Legend Of Ninjas (nineteen minutes), The Extreme Sport Of A Ninja (ten minutes) and Training Rain (ten minutes). Deleted Scenes and a Sneak Peek of 2010’s CLASH OF THE TITANS close the standard extras. NINJA ASSASSIN is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). A DVD copy and Digital Copy of the film are also provided, with both being housed on the second disc of this set.

If you love mindless, blood-soaked, martial arts popcorn entertainment, then NINJA ASSASSIN is the movie for you. If you are looking for a movie with deeper meaning… keep looking. However, if you have decided that NINJA ASSASSIN is the movie for you, then pick yourself up a copy of this demo worthy Blu-ray, along with a big bucket of popcorn, and enjoy.



Ninja Assasin (Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy Combo Pack) (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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