People will be going into this expecting a kung fu movie. It actually feels more like a B-slasher film with ninjas as the setting. This is due in part to the emphasis on blood, but it’s also due to the focus on the detective characters as potential victims. It’s like a movie about monsters that tear people to shreds, with that one monster who turns out to be a good monster that tears other monsters to shreds, only the monsters are all human. Even the way that he heals his wounds is exactly like a creepy monster. The movie even begins with the telling of a scary story and a bunch of loudmouth youths who mock the story and then (“Spoiler Alert”) die.
It very quickly shows you how far it will go in the blood, gore and dismemberment department. Actual fight choreography doesn’t take up as much of the film as I’d hoped – and much of that is in the dark so that you can’t really appreciate it. The CGI animations that were added to the chain weapon gave it too much of a cartoony feel.
The opening scene is deceptively coarse. The very first line in the film is “F*cking f*ck!”, and it goes on from there. In the rest of the film the foul language only pops every so often.
There is a bit of a love story, but I don’t see it being enough for women to want to sit through the whole thing, unless they’re into the blood and gore as well.
(Spoiler Alert) At first the female ninja was a problem for me. The ninja school is proven to be quite a hostile environment. When the girl says to the main character, “[Your heart says hello], and that it’s happy to meet me, but it misses you,” two thoughts came to mind: A – How is she still alive?; and B – that would be a funny thing to say to someone after ripping their heart out of their chest. She quickly proves her strength though, which made her more tolerable. (Spoiler Ended)
I liked the actor playing the teacher. He has a unique voice and manner of speech that I would like to see in more films. He has a very deep feel to him.
The main character, Raizu, is played by Rain. Although he seems like an interesting martial artist, the film’s emphasis on CGI and other reality-altering techniques took away from the demonstration of what this guy can actually do. It wasn’t a very good introduction for this actor.
This was a different approach to the ninja genre. Personally it’s not a road I want to see martial arts films take. When the focus stops being on fight technique and choreography and starts being on blood and gore I lose interest.