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Film: Ninja Assassin

An Exactly What It Says on the Tin 2009 action film starring Jeong "Rain" Ji-hoon as Raizo, a Badass ninja who goes rogue and declares one-man war on his clan. It was produced by The Wachowskis (Bound, The Matrix Trilogy, Speed Racer) and directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) from a script by J. Michael Straczynski.

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:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: All of them, but especially the kyoketsu-shoge, cutting clean through arms and legs like butter.
  • Acrofatic/Kevlard: 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.
    • Truth in Television: Kevlar-oriented armor is not very effective at stopping edged weapons. Additionally, any armor that does protect against blades is designed with knives, not full-on swords, in mind.
  • 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.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Lord Ozunu is a much tougher opponent for Raizo than the other ninja
    • Same goes for Mika's Europol superior who twice survives a fight with the ninjas when most of his men don't.
  • Bad Ass: Raizo
  • 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.
  • Bishōnen: The movie stars Rain, a former Korean boy band performer.
  • Boring Invincible Hero: Averted
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Chekhov's Anatomy: 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.
  • 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 Old Guy: Lord Ozunu.
  • 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 Genre 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 then end.
  • Dynamic Entry: With a car.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Ninja Assassin who assassinates ninjas.
  • Fake Nationality: In case anyone missed it, we have a Korean pop idol as a Japanese ninja.
    • Though, not necessarily. There's a caucasian boy and a young black women seen in the clan's training facility. The implication being that orphans from any nationality and background can be taken.
    • Though this could be another case fo Fridge Brilliance as Ninjas of a specific race could eventually become recognizable and Ninjas of the same race as the target could blend in more then just a clan of japanese assassins
  • 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.
  • Genre Savvy: Raizo. And Europol, at least after their first encounter.
  • Gorn
  • 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.
  • Heart in the Wrong Place: 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.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Europol agent Maslow is Patrick from Coupling.
  • 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.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja
  • Kill 'em All: The Ozunu Clan's MO when it comes to assassinations, presumably to get rid of witnesses. If you're allied with or even just in the same room as the target, you're going to die in a messy fashion.
  • 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.
    • In their final battle, Raizo tells him off (see Calling the Old Man Out). That was the last thing Ozunu heard, which must hurt him more than Raizo's blades.
  • Lost Love Montage: Several featuring Kiriko and Raizo.
  • Love Interest: Kiriko.
  • Martial Arts Do Not Work That Way: Could be averted or subverted depending on how you look at it. There very well could be people that can move that damn fast and make themselves practically invisible via training. Or it's just a stylistic choice.
  • Master of Your Domain: How Raizo survives the hideous injuries he keeps sustaining.
  • Men of Sherwood: Europol
  • Mighty Glacier: With none of the Training from Hell or close-range weaponry, the Europol forces come off like this in their final showdown; the ninjas obviously acting more like Fragile Speedster types.
  • More Dakka: How Europol beats the ninjas.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Have we mentioned that Raizo is played by Rain?!
  • Muggles Do It Better: This film show that the ninja's powers can achieve some impressive feats. Surviving bullets isn't one of them.
  • Neutral Female: Subverted, since Mika manages to save Raizo's ass several times.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: This movie was a vehicle for Korean pop star, Rain.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Played straight to the point of Deconstruction. The ninjas can teleport via shadows, but Europol realizes this, and use floodlights to deprive the ninjas of this advantage. Of course, the ninjas are aware of this weakness, so they usually cut the power (or break the light bulbs) before attacking anyone.
  • Old Master: Lord Ozunu
  • One-Man Army: Raizo
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Raizo repeatedly, even with a cut through his intestines and multiple lacerations and deep, bloody wounds on his legs, he can move... however, this may be justified with his Training from Hell.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: All of the ninja are supposedly Japanese, which makes the hodgepodge of Asian accents quite hilarious, sometimes a little too much so.
    • Not all of the children shown are Asian. Perhaps they abduct children from all over the world. Logically, it would make sense so that they would have agents to blend in for any given nation. You know, as much as logic has anything to do with this film...
      • And eventually, if you're living in one country all your life and rarely practicing your native language, it goes all to hell.
  • Rasputinian Death: See the One-Scene Wonder.
  • Reality Ensues: The ninjas kill everything that get in their way without the slightest bit of difficulty... right up until they lose the advantages of surprise and darkness and have to fight men with automatic weapons.
  • Red Shirt Army: Europol comes across as this for most of the movie, especially in their first fight against the ninjas where they're horribly outmatched.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Or in this case Ninja weapons beat modern solders (but to be fair the ninjas did have the darkness and surprise on their side.), then came round two where said soldiers brought out bigger guns and flashlights then we started seeing an even fight.
  • R-Rated Opening: The opening is a Cluster F-Bomb, and the rest of the movie has relatively little cursing. The opening is also quite easily the goriest part, being one of the only bits where the gore goes beyond simple limb removal.
  • Rule of Cool
  • Sadistic Choice: Lord Ozunu presents Raizo with one.
  • Sedgwick Speech: Invoked in the R-Rated Opening when the Yakuza hoodlums scoff the old man's claims about ninjas.
  • Sequel Hook: This movie revolves around dealing with a ninja clan. Mika says there are nine clans in total...
    • Other clan members might have escaped and will likely seek revenge against Raizo.
  • Shirtless Scene: Raizo gets several. It's only natural that he does.
  • Shown Their Work: The woman at the laundromat who turns out to be a ninja becomes a little less random when you consider that this is how the traditional kunoichi works, eschewing the black suit and mask for Hiding In Plain Sight.
  • Slow Motion Drop: The tattoo artist drops his needle when he sees the black sand.
  • Soft Water: The body of water Raizo jumps into from the roof of a tall building to escape his newly hostile clan.
  • Stuffed In The Fridge: The hero's love interest is killed off so he's got something to angst about.
  • Take Off Your Clothes
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Done by Raizo in the final battle.
  • Training from Hell: All ninjas are trained this way. Includes Master of Your Domain.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Raizo
  • Tyke Bomb: All the orphaned ninja.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Mika/Raizo
  • Weapon of Choice: Raizo favors a kyoketsu-shoge.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Raizo turns on his clan when asked to kill a girl we've never seen before. He refuses but doesn't get a chance to save her as he almost dies in the ensuing fight. Presumably she was executed later but she is not shown or mentioned again after the fight starts.
  • What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Raizo has a moment like this with Kiriko when he tells her he has no heart. She tells him he has one and it misses him.
  • X Meets Y: Aliens meets ninjas!


9Films of 2005 - 2009 Nowhere Boy

alternative title(s): Ninja Assassin
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