Bullet Points: Ninja
In this installment of Bullet Points, I take a look at Scott Adkins’ first starring role in the 2009 movie, Ninja.
- Wasting No Time: In the first 12 minutes of the movie, we get a ninja history lesson. We learn all about the Yoroi Bitsu (a chest that contains weapons of the last Koga Ninja). We learn that Casey (Scott Adkins) was an orphan after his mother abandoned him and his father the drunk killed himself. We learn that there is some romantic tension between Casey and Namiko Takeda (daughter of the Sensei). We also learn that there is a rivalry between Casey and Masazuka (Tsuyoshi Ihara) and that rivalry escalates quickly after a sparring session between the two almost turns deadly with Masazuka going for the kill. This moment of rage gets him kicked out of the dojo by Sensei Takeda and forces him to find his own way. Again… all of this happens within the first 12 minutes of the movie.
- The Premise: With all the back story out of the way, we move on to what the movie is all about… Masazuka, who felt he was next in line to become sensei of the dojo and possess the Yoroi Bitsu and the weapons inside it, did not leave the dojo on good terms and basically threatened everyone on his way out. Knowing trouble is coming, Sensei Takeda sends Casey, Namiko and the Yoroi Bitsu to New York, where an old friend of Takeda’s (Professor Garrison) will keep the Yoroi Bitsu safe and prevent it from getting into the hands of Masazuka.
- The Ring: As luck would have it, a secret society/criminal organization known as The Ring calls New York City their home base. Since his dismissal from Takeda’s dojo, Masazuka has done jobs (like killing a Russian oil baron) for The Ring using his ninja skills of assassination. Now he’s calling in a favor to the head of the ring, Temple. Masazuka wants The Ring to find Casey and Namiko so he can then have the Yoroi Bitsu. By the way, Temple is played by Miles Anderson and the guy has a great bad guy voice. I was shocked when I saw he only had two voice credits on his IMDb filmography. He could be getting a lot more voice work in my opinion.
- Wanted For A Crime They Didn’t Commit: When The Ring tracks down the whereabouts of Casey and Namiko at Professor Garrison’s home it isn’t pretty… Garrison ends up dead and surveillance footage shows Casey and Namiko fleeing the scene of the crime. Now they have the cops and The Ring after them!
- Jam Packed: The movie has a run time of 86 minutes and I’d say that at least 60 of those minutes have action in them. Even the closing credits have a ninja practice going on behind them. When Ninja slows down it does not slow down for long. There is fighting at the Professor’s apartment, on the streets, on the subway even at the police station.
To say I enjoyed Ninja would be an understatement. It takes the classic 80’s ninja genre to a whole new level and it was so good I immediately watched the sequel. Whenever you leave the fans wanting more you’ve done your job.
The fight choreography is so complex yet fluid it boggles my mind how someone can even come up with these fight scenes. The fights are executed to perfection by Adkins and the rest of the cast. I was really impressed with Namiko’s fight on the subway.
If you have not already seen Ninja be sure to check this one out at your earliest opportunity and here’s a few things to look for while watching…
- High Tech Ninja: Masazuka has some Batman like gadgets on his ninja gear including night vision goggles and wings that act as a glider for jumping off tall buildings. And I thought Sho Kosugi’s throwing star on the helmet in Pray For Death was cool.
- Shower Scene: If you ever wanted to see a shower scene featuring two fully clothed people then this is the movie for you.
- Cool Jacket: I’d love to have a jacket like the one Casey Bowman wears in Ninja, although I am sure I wouldn’t look as cool in it.
- Ninjalocity: When Masazuka goes to the Tokyo Airport to catch a flight to New York and finds out they are full and he’d have to be put on standby, he pulls out his phone and clicks on the Ninjalocity app and soon he is on his way… Actually he shoots a dart at a guy, walks him down to the restroom, I assume kills him and takes the guys glasses and ticket to New York.
- Amazing Caller ID: If I get a call from another state my caller ID simply says for example “Indiana Call”. But when Namiko (in New York) is calling her father (in Japan) the caller ID on Sensei Takeda’s phone has the exact number and Professor Garrison’s name too.