I love martial arts film. My understanding is that Rain will be making an Enter the Dragon-style film coming up, if not the actual remake.
Ninja Assassin was released in theaters over a week ago. I saw it, because I read that Naomie Harris (who plays Mika) was starring in this film. She was definitely, a critically necessary element of this film. Why? Rain (as Raizo) doesn’t say much. I suppose the director, James McTeigue, felt it was better to go with the stoic, inscrutable, stereotypical Asian male character and run with it.
Naomie spends a sufficient amount of time conducting a near-narration and summation of events. She has to. In this movie, Rain isn’t up to the level of speaking English where he could explicate himself proficiently. Although the basso level of his voice is nice.
He’s getting there though.
What Rain does do well is marital arts. Since it is a form of nimble and sophisticated dancing, our Korean Pop Star has the magnificent physique (dude has a banging body!), grace, and stamina to carry it off.
There is plenty of CGI created gore in this film. In some scenes I cover my eyes, because there is only so much blood (fake or otherwise) that I care to see.
Plot summary: Raizo is a member of a Ninja clan who kidnap children and train them to become deadly fighters. His childhood true love is killed by order of the Ninja master, Ozunu. She tried to run away. Death was her punishment. Ozunu is a very sadistic and cruel man, who delighted in torturing Raizo to make him the best of the Ninja clan. When Ozunu asks Raizo to kill a girl who escaped and was re-captured, he rebels, attacks the old man and gets away.
This movie is all about vengeance. Mika’s angle is that she works for Interpol, and as she starts to investigate the Ninja they come after her. Raizo saves Mika. She saves him. Raizo saves her. Mika saves him. You get the point.
I was sorta hoping for a bit more chemistry between them, like a few hot kisses. It’s almost there when they share a bit of funny banter. I felt their interaction was somewhat stilted, because Raizo has to be so stoic, unemotional, and calm. I think Rain was trying. I’ll give him that.
There was so much that could have been gained if he was allowed to crack, release, change, and show some emotion, heat, lust – you name it. It does happen, but not where I would have preferred. It didn’t need to be dramatic. This film was not about subtlety, so I know I am asking for too much in this kind of macho kick-all-’em-asses type of film.
Alas, they did not (lip lock) kiss.
I think the last time a black woman and Asian male starred in a film together was Romeo Must Die with Aaliyah and Jet Li. At least with Naomie and Rain their ages are closer togther.
If there was another big film release of a black woman and Asian male starring together, someone tell me. That was the only film I know of.