To be totally honest, Ninja Assassin wasn't a movie I necessarily loved from start to finish. It boasts a lot more blood than brains, and it's shot in a way that makes you appreciate the depths of black your plasma TV can render ... but it doesn't really work well on a 50-foot screen. Suffice it to say that the new Blu-ray offers not only great, but probably the greatest presentation of the film possible, which is mostly why James McTeigue's follow-up to V for Vendetta felt worthy of a second chance when we got it in the mail last week.
Before the opening credits unspooled, however, I found myself inexplicably drawn into the film, thanks to the appearance of two recognizable faces in cameos, and the entire sequence's groundwork-laying gore. Specifically, Sung Kang, one of the best things about the generally underrated The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Randall Duk Kim, probably best known as the wizened Keymaker in The Matrix Reloaded, each show up as familiar faces that lull the audience into an immediate state of comfort – after all, the filmmakers wouldn't kill off these two guys that we actually recognize, would they?
Turns out they would. After Duk Kim, a Tattoo Master, explains in shivering detail his encounter some decades before with a ninja, a devilish force emerges quite literally from the shadows to dispatch everyone in the room. Heads are disembodied, limbs are cleaved in twain, and torsos are ripped to shreds with throwing stars. Of course, the coolest thing about the scene (in my opinion) is the film's first appearance of a personal favorite martial arts weapon, the chain with a knife at the end of it. Unfortunately, we couldn't secure the rights to show the actual clip, and didn't want to scour the dregs of the internet for an illegal link to a copy of it, so we've elected instead to include the film's trailer below, hoping it will encourage you to investigate further, even if it's only five minutes or so further:
Of course, if you want to shed more light on how McTeigue put together the film's shrouded compositions, the release also features plenty of bonus features that flesh out the film's bleak, black bloodletting. But Ninja Assassin was released on DVD and Blu-ray by Warner Brothers on March 16, 2010, and the high-definition presentation of the Blu-ray is by far the best way to watch this film.