Ninja stars Scott Adkins who is actually a pretty intimidating figure. The plot is fairly similar to Kung Fu Panda as that the time is present day, and a dojo carries on the tradition of the Ninja by training students in the ninja arts. The head of the school, is nearing retirement age and must choose his successor. His top two are rivals and both are leading candidates to inherit the title of Soke. Of course the villian disrespects the traditons and gets banished while the good ninja stays to protect it. Exiled villian comes back some odd years later to wreck havoc, pretty standard stuff. Violence runs rapid in Ninja, but the blood looked overly cartoony to me. Your tolerance of these effects will vary depending on how much of a gorehound you are.
Sure there are no superstars, but the acting is far from terrible. Scott Atkins delivers the goods big time as the hero ninja Casey further cementing him as a go to action guy. For those of you who might want more story detail, don’t expect any twists here as it’s a simple story of two men. They just so happen to be at odds, and one of them has something the other wants and wont stop at nothing to attain. But like any red-blooded man, sometimes I just need an adrenaline-pumping action flick. The simplicity of the story isn’t actually a negative in this case. There are some definite clichés and cheesiness to remind us of the good ol’ glory days, but far from paying homage to the golden era of ninja movies.
I noticed this movie really puts an emphasis on the actual martial arts/hand-to-hand combat aspect. Even with the mediocre visual effects, I think the movie especially excels in the fight choreography department. Now the bad, the low production quality of the film overshadow any positive attributes of this film. After all, this is a direct to video film, so what do you expect? Dialogue is the worst and sometimes feels like it was written by a little kid. Also another point is, the film is titled Ninja but its more about guys that know karate. The only ninja that fights during the entire film is the bad armored ninja that kills a couple of good guys with his stealth sword and pistols. I guess what I am trying to say, is that the low budget diminished the scope of the film and really limited what could be done.
I also think that Isaac and Scott successfully portrayed the sense of honor and purpose that was central to the storyline. What saved this film was the camera work by Issac Florentine, and putting his characters in great position to succeed in their roles. To conclude, Ninja, despite having couple of shortcomings was an excellent entertaining movie for me. Sure it has it’s flaws, but as a ninja movie fan, I found a lot to like here. You should be safe if you’ve been thinking about checking out this film, as it comes slightly recommended.