The Best Scenes and Quotes from Ninja Assassin
Ninja Assassin is a 2009 neo-noir martial arts film directed by James McTeigue. The story was written by Matthew Sand, with a screenplay by J. Michael Straczynski. The film stars South Korean pop musician Rain as a disillusioned assassin looking for retribution against his former mentor, played by ninja film legend Sho Kosugi. Ninja Assassin explores political corruption, child endangerment and the impact of violence. The Wachowskis, Joel Silver, and Grant Hill produced the film for Legendary Pictures, Dark Castle Entertainment and Silver Pictures. It was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
The Ozunu Clan, led by the ruthless Lord Ozunu, trains orphans from around the world to become the ultimate ninja assassins. Raizo is one of the orphans. The Ozunu Clan's training is extremely brutal, especially for Raizo since he is to be the next successor of the clan. The only kindness he ever feels is from a young kunoichi named Kiriko, with whom he eventually develops a romantic bond. As time goes by, Kiriko becomes disenchanted with the Ozunu's routine and decides to abandon it. One rainy night, Kiriko climbs a wall to escape and encourages Raizo to join her, but he chooses to stay. Branded as a traitor, Kiriko is captured and later executed in front of Raizo by their elder ninja brother Takeshi, who impales her through the heart.
Years later, an adult Raizo is instructed by Lord Ozunu to complete his first assassination. After the mission, Raizo meets the rest of his clan atop a city skyscraper in Berlin. There, Lord Ozunu orders him to execute a kunoichi traitor. Remembering Kiriko's death, Raizo slashes Lord Ozunu's face with his kyoketsu-shoge and fights against his fellow ninjas. Barely surviving, he falls off the rooftop and into a river. After years, Raizo recovers and trains on his own to intervene in, and foil, all of Ozunu's assassination attempts.
Although feeling betrayed, Mika is assured by Maslow that he is still on her side and gives her a tracking device for emergencies. The Ozunu ninjas infiltrate the Europol safe house, where Raizo is being held, in an attempt to kill him and everybody inside. Mika frees Raizo and they both manage to escape, but Raizo suffers near-fatal wounds. Mika then takes him to a motel to hide. Resting in the motel, Mika implants the tracking device into Raizo, as the ninjas remain in pursuit. Unable to fend off the Ozunu, she hides outside the motel until Special Forces arrive to help her.
By the time they arrive, the ninja have already kidnapped Raizo, bringing him before Lord Ozunu for execution. During the transport back to the Ozunu, Raizo uses his ninja techniques to heal his own wounds. Europol Special Forces and tactical teams led by Maslow storm the secluded Ozunu retreat (nestled in the mountains) using the tracking device on Raizo.
Turning the night into day by saturating the sky above with powerful flares, the military forces are able to fight the ninjas on their own terms. In the confusion, Mika frees Raizo from his bindings. He proceeds to kill Takeshi and confront Lord Ozunu in a sword duel. Mika interferes to help but gets stabbed by Lord Ozunu. Enraged, Raizo uses a "shadow blending" technique for the first time to distract and kill Lord Ozunu. Mika, seemingly fatally wounded, is in fact saved by a quirk of birth: her heart is actually on the right side of her chest.
Ninja Assassin was directed by James McTeigue, who had previously worked with producers The Wachowskis and Joel Silver on V for Vendetta four years prior. The Wachowskis were inspired to make the film by actor Rain's impressive ninja-based fight scenes in their 2008 film Speed Racer. The initial screenplay was written by Matthew Sand, and was rewritten by J. Michael Straczynski only six weeks prior to filming due to the Wachowskis' initial dissatisfaction. Martial Artist turned actor Sho Kosugi had previously starred in a number of ninja movies playing ninja villains and heroes several times in the 1980s, and had become a cult icon, hence his role as the antagonist Lord Ozunu, named after En no Ozunu, a 7th-century Japanese mystic and one of the developers of ninjutsu. "If you've ever watched any ninja films from the 1980s, you know that Sho Kosugi is the ninja; he is the man," asserts McTeigue.
Fire And Rain: Raizo (played by the Korean pop star Rain) is adopted by the Clan of the Black Sand and trained as a ninja, only to turn against them to avenge his girlfriend's death. Warner Bros. Pictures hide caption
Our hero is Raizo, played by long-haired Korean pop star Rain, who also appeared in the Wachowskis' disastrous Speed Racer. He's being tracked by Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris), a "Europol" agent who is convinced that the long-rumored ninjas are real. She's right about that, but wrong to fear Raizo. He turns out to be an anti-ninja, fighting against the Clan of Black Sand, which adopted, raised and trained him.
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A series of flashbacks show how Raizo, a gifted student, came to break with the killers, led by the icy, sadistic Lord Ozunu (Sho Kosugi). The movie's depiction of ninja training is, of course, fictitious. Aside from its murderousness, though, the ninja academy does bear a certain resemblance to the real-life Beijing Opera school attended by such performers as Jackie Chan.
Legendary martial-arts performer Sho Kosugi plays Lord Ozunu, Raizo's original master and leader of the assassin clan. The historical Ozunu was an ancestor of the ninjutsu, commonly known outside Japan as ninja. Juliana Malucelli hide caption
As an apprentice ninja, Raizo couldn't protect his girlfriend from Ozunu's brutality. This being an action movie, he gets a second chance to save a damsel in distress when the Black Sandies decide that Mika is getting too close to the truth.
Ninja Assassin is a project that has quickly gone from nothing to something. It was first announced in February and has quickly risen to the top of my short list of movies in 2009 that I'm really looking forward to seeing. Directed by V for Vendetta's James McTeigue, produced by the Wachowski Brothers, and starring Rain, Rick Yune, Sung Kang, Naomie Harris, and Ben Miles, the film is a kung fu revenge flick about a deadly assassin who must confront the people who raised him. Ninja Assassin is currently shooting in Germany for a January 16th, 2009 release date. SlashFilm has revealed the first few official photos from the film that set the tone and feel of what we can expect next year. For those anxiously looking forward to Ninja Assassin, this is our first glimpse at Rain in action and a few scenes from the film.
When Europol agent Mika Coretti investigates decades of mysterious killings all over the world, her research leads her to suspect ninjas (as all detectives secretly do). This puts her in grave danger since Ozunu finds out about her work and attempts to have her killed by his minions. Multiple times.
Raizo (Rain) may have been trained in the martial arts by the Ozunu Clan, but he is willing to betray the secret society of assassins to Interpol Agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris). However, the dangerous ninja group won't let that happen without putting up a fight -- and the job of silencing him is given to Raizo's former friend Takeshi (Rick Yune).
Overlooking at first the device installed on Raizo, Takeshi spots it just before Ozunu executes the hero for his betrayal. He tries to alert his adoptive father but Europol agents break into the lair before they can do anything. In the siege, Takeshi hides in the training room with some other ninjas where they found Raizo waiting. The rival lets his fellow fight him but they are defeated pretty quickly. Takeshi goes to fight him personally. After a moment, he takes off his hood and taunts him about Kiriko. However, this proves to be his downfall as Raizo proceeds to kill him right after that in his rage.
Trained from his childhood to be as ruthless as possible, Takeshi indeed embodies these traits, in addition of being completely loyal to Lord Ozunu. He also shows a degree of sadism, smiling to Raizo when executing Kiriko. Takeshi shares a rivality with Raizo, as both seek to surpass each other with their skills. This causes the villainous ninja to look down at him and to call him "little brother".
As a small child, Raizo is taken in by Ozunu Clan. The head of the clan, Lord Ozuno, takes in orphan children and makes them go through brutal training in order to become lethal assassins. Many years later, Raizo has left his clan and is now being hunted down for his betrayal. He enlists the help of Europol researcher Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris), who has been investigating political assassinations caused by ninja, to put an end to the Ozunu clan once and for all.This film provides examples of: 11th-Hour Superpower: Raizo gains a Traumatic Superpower Awakening after Mika is stabbed by Lord Ozunu, and he gains the same type of Flash Step Lord Ozunu used prior.
Absurdly Sharp Blade: All of them, but especially the kyoketsu-shoge, cutting clean through arms and legs like butter.
Acrofatic/Kevlard: The fat guy that Raizo attempts to assassinate puts up quite a fight.
Action Survivor: Mika. She works for Europol, but as a research librarian; and even if she was a trained field agent, that might not serve her very well against ninjas.Raizo: "A gun won't help you." Mika, freaking out: "Well, I don't have a lot of options, okay? I mean, I once took a taebo class, but that is the extent of my kung fu abilities, alright?"
Actor Allusion: One scene has Raizo replicate the "Let's go!" head-cock gesture he once did as Taejo.
Armor Is Useless: The commandos from Europol learn the hard way that modern body-armor is not rated against katanas or shuriken.
Always Save the Girl: Subverted. Raizo tries, but he's nearly killed by the clan.
Ambiguous Syntax: The title of the film. Does it refer to a ninja who is an assassin or an assassin who kills ninjas? Yes.
Ancient Conspiracy: Ninjas have been around for centuries and will offer their services to anyone who can pay their fee (100 pounds of gold). They take in orphans off the streets and put them through strict training regimens to turn them into killing machines. They have been employed by the wealthy and powerful and have eyes and ears in every government agency in the world.
Badass Normal: The Europol commandos, in the sense that they lack the very literal Charles Atlas Superpowers that the Ninjas have.
Badass in Distress: Raizo. A few times, he has been captured and tied up, with Mika saving him Just in Time.
Berserk Button: Murder or attempt to murder a female that Raizo has grown to care about. Just try it.
Big Bad: Lord Ozunu.
Big Damn Heroes: The Europol forces to set up the final showdown. Earlier in the film, Mika via Car Fu.
Bishōnen: The movie stars Rain, a former Korean boy band performer.
Bizarre Human Biology: The movie featured multiple people with the medical condition Dextrocardia situs inversus, which occurs in approximately 1 in 12,000 people. In an inversion of both normal human anatomy and this trope, their hearts were tilted towards the right side of the chest, which saves each of them when a ninja tries to stab them in the heart.
Calling the Old Man Out: Raizo does this to Lord Ozunu in the middle of their Final Battle.Raizo: I am not your son, and you are not my father.
Blade on a Rope: Raizo's preferred weapon is the kyoketsu-shoge, a chain with a curved blade attached to it.
Car Fu: Mika fishtails a car into a ninja before he could finish Raizo off.
Casting Gag: Raizo is played by Rain, Korean pop star.Agent: He doesn't look like a killing machine. Looks like he belongs in a boy band!"
Charles Atlas Superpower: A rare literal example. The ninjas are all much stronger, both physically and mentally, than the average human, which likely plays along with the supernatural element behind their training and overall capabilities. To emphasize this point, they can also teleport when in shadows, heal their wounds quickly, and the main hero and the main villain even have Super Speed in the form of a Flash Step. Exaggerated with Lord Ozunu, who can do the other ninjas' Offscreen Teleportation despite being surrounded by light from a massive fire.
Chekhov's Gun: The "accident of birth" that the old man in the first scene mentions ends up being what saves Mika in the end.
Cluster F-Bomb: Deployed during the intro. A few delayed munitions go off over the remainder of the film.
Collateral Angst: The hero's love interest is killed off so he's got something to angst about.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: While none of the battles are easy, one-on-one fights tend to be just as difficult.
Contract on the Hitman: The Ozunu Clan made a grave mistake putting one of these on Raizo.
Cool vs. Awesome: At the end, we get ninjas versus commandos.
Darkness Equals Death: The ninja are nearly invincible if it's dark enough, gaining apparent teleportation powers. And everyone is savvy about this; the first thing Mika does when she gets home after learning of the clans is turn on all of her lights, and the first thing Europol does when they play Big Damn Heroes is shine spotlights all over the clan's headquarters and light it on fire. This is one of the clues to Mika when she interviews a Russian agents' sister about her brother. She mentions that he got really paranoid in his last days and installed floodlights throughout the house. Too bad he didn't think to install a backup generator.
Deadpan Snarker: Raizo at times.
Developing Doomed Characters: The idiots who get killed in the tattoo parlor at the beginning of the movie are not missed.
Double Weapon: Takeshi's sword can become one of these at his pleasure.
The Dragon: Takeshi to Lord Ozunu.
Dual Wielding: Many of the ninjas do this in the movie. Raizo does it at the end.
Dynamic Entry: With a car.
Evil Gloating: Takeshi gives a very knowing sadistic smirk to Raizo before executing Kiriko. Then taunts Raizo about it during their duel.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Ninja Assassin who assassinates ninjas.
Final Battle: A full battalion of Europol Commandos against a ninja clan.
Five-Second Foreshadowing: Raizo has been captured and taken to the secret ninja temple, but secretly he has a GPS tracking device in his gut, alerting the good guys to the temple's location. The ninjas discover the device, and after that the temple is attacked.
Flash Step: Used in the final battle.
Food Chain of Evil: Possibly a non-fantasy example, seeing as Raizo, well...
Foreign Cuss Word: During the clan's attack on the safe house one of the Interpol men, once they see the ninjas on the ceiling, has just enough time to say "Scheiße!" before the ninjas attack.
Gorn: This movie has very bloody fight scenes.
Gory Discretion Shot: Surprisingly. Once when Kiriko is put to death. Also subverted towards the end, when they switch to heat vision as one guy dies.
Guns Are Worthless: Mostly played straight, especially when ninjas have shadows handy. Many are shown to be able to dodge bullets. Averted at the end, however, once Europol storms the ninja school and breaks out the heavy machine guns, body armor (which ninja weaponry can still get through), rockets, and floodlights. Played very straight when Mika puts two pistol rounds into Ozuna's back, and the only thing it does is piss him off.
Healing Factor: A power of Ozunu Clan ninjas. We're shown a demonstration of Lord Ozunu cutting his hand open and it healing in the space of a few seconds, and later Raizo closes up deep, wide, and long lacerations all over his chest and stomach apparently through sheer force of will.
Hot Librarian: Mika says that her job description, 'Forensic Researcher', is just a fancy way of calling her a librarian.
Hunter of His Own Kind: Raizo's response to the Contract on the Hitman placed on him.
Impossibly Cool Weapon: Raizo's kyoketsu-shoge.
It Was a Gift: Raizo has a gold watch from his first contract kill. Ozunu told him to keep it as a reminder that "every moment of your life is a gift I have given you"
Kryptonite Factor: Highly bright lights prevent the ninjas from teleporting.
Like a Son to Me: Lord Ozunu sees all of the orphans his clan brings in like this, but especially Raizo, who he was grooming to replace him.
Lost Love Montage: Several featuring Kiriko and Raizo.
Made of Iron: The London Gangster who takes an absurd amount of grievous wounds and practically paints an entire room with his own blood before going down.
Masked Villains, Unmasked Heroes: Raizo is The Hero of the movie and unlike the other evil ninjas does not wear a mask.
Master of Your Domain: How Raizo survives the hideous injuries he keeps sustaining.
More Dakka: How Europol beats the ninjas.
Mr. Fanservice: Raizo is very well-built and gets lots of Shirtless Scenes to show it off.
Muggles Do It Better: This film show that the ninja's powers can achieve some impressive feats. Surviving bullets isn't one of them. Similarly, the Ozunu clan has a good reason for keeping themselves shrouded in myth as they carry out their assassinations. Their attack on the Europol holding facility is a one-sided slaughter, but as terrifying and deadly as their individual members may be, the Europol counter-attack is devastating once they know how to bring modern equipment to bear on a foe that relies on shadows, concealment, and close-quarters.
Neutral Female: Subverted, since Mika manages to save Raizo's ass several times.
Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: The ninjas kill everything that get in their way without the slightest bit of difficulty... right up until they lose t