DVD Review: ‘Ninja Assassin’ Blu-ray

Even though I didn’t exactly give Ninja Assasin a rave review when I first saw the film last year during Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX I was still loking forward to seeing it on Blu-ray when it came out. Well, it has and I did watch it on the HD format and all I can say is I’m more impressed with the film now than I was the first time around.

Granted, the story of a boy trained from childhood in the way of the Ninja who is stalked by his former brothers and their dojo master (martial arts legend Sho Kosugi) and who is also on the run with a Europol agent (Naomie Harris) with proof the clan sells assassination services to governments, is still pretty much the same and the flaws I have with it are still pretty much the same. However, experiencing the film on Blu-ray added very much to my enjoyment of it.

I’ll go out on a limb and say one of the main reasons is that the Blu-ray represents the final version of the film with completed visual effects, final color correction, sound, etc. Most likely the version I saw last September was not the final version. This one simply looks and sounds better.

Visual effects, especially the simulated blood (of which there’s a lot) look far better on the Blu-ray version than before. Also, other effects have been cleaned up and the entire presentation of the film has been improved. Plus, you can actually see more of the fight sequences in this version as they have been somewhat lightened, probably due to early screening feedback. Who knows, maybe even I had something to do with it? It’s possible.

The experience of watching the film now is so much better I almost wish I would have seen it this way for the first time and my opinion wasn’t a bit tainted by my previous experience. Other aspects of the presentation are also first rate as Warner Bros. usually does a good job with its Blu-ray releases.

There also also several special features on the disk including my personal favorite: “Training Rain”, in which we see how the stunt and fight teams assembed for the film work to turn Rain from pop singing idol to ripped Ninja warrior. It’s actually very  impressive the transformation he undergoes and by the end, he physically looks like he could pull off most of the moves he makes in the film. Of course, he doesn’t do all of them and is aided by a great team of stuntmen. Still, he looks the part, which is the most important thing.

Other special features include documentaries covering the history of ninjas and the film’s fight choreography. All three are well put together and bring a lot of insight into the filmmaking process. The disc also contains some deleted scenes which, like most, were deleted for a reason, a DVD copy, a digital copy, and a preview for the upcoming Clash of the Titans remake.

Even though Ninja Assassin is not terribly good, it at least looks good, which is kinda the same way Rain goes through this movie. He won’t win any awards for his acting but when it comes to the fights, he at least looks good doing them.

Ninja Assasin isn’t a great movie but I’m not sure it’s really trying to be. What it does do is provide energy, some pretty cool fight and action scenes and lots and lots of Ninjas. If you’re not too concerned about plot, character or much else except copious amounts of CGI blood and mostly solid action sequences, you could do a lot worse than this Blu-ray.

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