Critics didn’t like Ninja Assassin. But movie critics are dumb. I bet most people aren’t going to like it, either. But they’re not martial arts fans, so what do they know?
I’m going to put my neck on the line and predict that Ninja Assassin will become a martial arts movie cult classic. Yes. A cult classic.
Ok, I said it. Now let me prove why it qualifies.
I, as a Kung Fu, martial arts, action movie fan, liked it very much. And I think if you’re a fan, like me, you’ll enjoy it too:
The plot is simple to follow. This is no Bourne Identity or Matrix. Most Kung Fu movie plots are easy to follow. Many revolve around revenge. Actually, they’re even simpler than that — kicking butt. Ninja Assassin does it very well in classic, one versus an army and WINS fashion! Ip Man did it, Bruce Lee did it, Jet Li did it, The Seven Samurai did it, Rambo did it, and this movie does it. Check One for Martial Arts Cult Classic qualification.
It’s light on witty banter. You won't find any deep philosophical dialogues or soliloquies here. It’s a martial arts flick, after all. Even Bruce Lee’s movies are light on dialogue — but who cares, right? Check Two for Martial Arts Cult Classic qualification.
The special effects are over the top (if I could classify it, I’d call it Kung Fu Gore). Aren’t all Kung Fu special effects over the top? Can humans really jump on top of buildings or get cut 6 or 8 times by a sword and continue fighting? This movie had graphic, gory, over the top special effects that worked. I’d even say that the special effects were so over the top, that they were realistic. What do you think really happens when someone chops you with a 6 foot razor blade (also known as a samurai sword)? It ain’t going to be pretty. Check Three for Martial Arts Cult Classic qualification.
The hero wins. All Kung Fu, martial arts, and action movie heroes win. Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, Rambo, Bruce Wills, the Karate Kid ... They’re immortal! Check Four for Martial Arts Cult Classic qualification.
Now, before I get slack from movie critics (or your girlfriend) let me repeat … I predict Ninja Assassin will be a cult classic. The key word is cult. This is no Ben-Hur or Gone With The Wind. But they did it right. It had originality, while managing to stick to the martial art fan’s sweet spot.
And for some reason, while watching this movie, I kept relating it to The Master of the Flying Guillotine? They’re both original. Gimmicky. And had a lot of scenes that are memorable. It’s campy enough to draw in the die-hard fans who’ll watch it over and over again, memorize each scene, and act them out with friends.
It will be like saying, “I’ll be baaack” from the Terminator. Or re-living the exploding head scene from Scanners (never heard of Scanners with Michael Ironside? You don’t know jack about movies). Or the sun glasses idea from They Live with Rowdy Roddy Piper (Do you want to have a good time with a bunch of your buddies this weekend? Rent They Live and drink your favorite adult beverage — you’ll thank me).
Will Ninja Assassin be today’s The Master of the Flying Guillotine? That’s probably asking too much. But, will it become a cult classic on its own, like Scanners or They Live? I’m putting my money on it.
One last thing — I was impressed how Warner Bros. is promoting this movie, even though it has a heavy Asian cast and the main actor is a non-A-list Asian actor. (Actually he’s non-A-list in America, but happens to be the number one Asian actor/singer/entertainer in all of Asia. His name is Rain. He’s Korean and a hit in Japan, Korea, China, and everywhere. Who knows? He might be the replacement for Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Chow Yun Fat in the U.S.).
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