• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Ninja Assassin

TITLE: Ninja Assassin

YEAR: 2009

GENRE: Kung Fu and Action/Adventure

When Enter The Dragon arrived in theaters in 1973 there was a rush by almost every Hollywood studio to find the next Bruce Lee. For about ten years the kung fu action film ruled the drive-in theaters and downtown movie houses until the days when all action heroes had to carry a machine gun a la Rambo, Commando, and Invasion USA. Despite this, there has always been an interest in the traditional kung fu film and there has been a resurgence of late in these kinds of films such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Forbidden Kingdom, and Hero. Ninja Assassin falls into this category, but it is different in the fact that the violence is so over the top that it makes it an entertaining albeit at times ridiculous kick to the head.

Raizo (played by Rain) is an orphan who is kidnapped by the Ozunu clan and is forced to learn how to be an assassin through the art of being a ninja for hire. The hardship of the training camp is taxing enough, but when his best friend is killed in an act of discipline in front of his eyes Raizo has seen enough and flees the dojo. Ever since Raizo has sought revenge and is actively killing members of the Ozunu. A federal agent named Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) is investigating the Ozunu and is saved by Rain from a ninja assassin. Together they team up, but as a team are they enough to take out the clan?

Ninja Assassin is most famous for its stylized violence and fight scenes, and I must admit that they are amazing to watch. The kills are especially interesting because the Ozunu have such control over their bodies that they can heal themselves, so the deaths are a lot more than a stab in the chest and usually involve a couple gallons of blood and other bodily goop. The over the top nature of the violence is interesting enough and the kills are fairly creative at times. Much of Raizo’s early life is told in flashback scenes, and they are done quite well and do not detract from the current day storyline. The cinematography is very well done and the CGI blood is gratuitous and plentiful in nature; the fight scene between Raizo and a small army of ninjas in evening traffic was especially stylistic in nature. As with all revenge films the plot is a bit thin, but the combination of quality directing by James McTeigue and well choreographed action sequences make Ninja Assassin more entertaining than most kung fu films.

Just about everybody I spoke to about Ninja Assassin raved about the violence and fight scenes, but I found the film to be a little deeper than that. Ninja Assassin is about a tortured soul who is seeking retribution for the sins against him though bloodshed. This is not a new concept in action and kung fu films, but Ninja Assassin does stand out beyond the crowd through telling the revenge story better than others and giving memorable fight scenes while being a bit creative in their execution. Rain is no Bruce Lee and the storyline is no Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but Ninja Assassin does add to the genre in an effective and memorable way.

* * * *

–Mark

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