Ninja AssassinRelease Date: March 16, 2010
Studio: Warner Brothers
Packaging/Materials: Two-disc Blu-ray case with slipcover
Running Time: 1:39:00
|THE FEATURE||SPECIAL FEATURES|
|Video||1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1||High definition|
|Audio||DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: French 5.1 (dubbed in Quebec), Spanish 5.1, and Portuguese 5.1||Stereo|
|Subtitles||English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese||Variable|
The Feature: 3.5/5Kidnapped by a secret ninja clan and subjected to years of intense and cruel training by its leader Ozunu (Sho Kusugi), Raizo (Rain) is out for revenge. It's not just for his stolen childhood, but for the youth and hope that was robbed from the one person who showed him any love. Europol agents Maslow and Mika (Ben Miles and Naomie Harris), investigating the death of a Russian official, inadvertently get caught up in the conflict, but find that helping Raizo shut down the assassin training society would probably do the world a lot of good. Now if only they can avoid being killed in the process.
With a title like "Ninja Assassin" there's not much to either expect from or be surprised by in this unabashed and fully committed genre film. Its martial arts action is best described as an onslaught, liberally showered with torrents of blood (both practically and digitally rendered). Its acting and script are as one would expect - thin on character development, rife with clichés, but also rather efficient in its narrative. Within its genre it's a respectable - and at times impressive - player, with a lead that many didn't expect much from, given his pop idol background. With lowered expectations, "Ninja Assassin" will undoubtedly entertain; even with a measure of skepticism, one might manage to be pleasantly surprised.
Video Quality: 4.5/5The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec. Contrast generally displays the full range of values, though during the film's darkest scenes the image can turn flat, with limited black levels and visual depth. Colors exhibit excellent richness and saturation and flesh tones look consistently natural. Overall sharpness is also superb, with remarkable definition in hair, fabrics and skin and no noticeable instances of softness or artificial sharpening. With the visible and healthy grain structure, the image also shows no signs of excessive noise reduction measures.
Audio Quality: 4.5/5Surround channel activity in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track offers a diverse blend of directional, ambient and atmospheric effects that are detailed, balanced and immersive. LFE is similarly robust and well-balanced with the rest of the array. One instance in a warehouse setting exhibited an odd inverted quality to the dialogue, but aside from that vocals are clear and intelligible. Though not the most subtle of mixes, it certainly suits the material and is presented effectively and cleanly.
Special Features: 3/5Offering some slickly produced, but not especially insightful, featurettes, the set of extras is ultimately a lightweight in terms of behind-the-scenes information. As always the digital copy and DVD are appreciated supplements for convenience.
The Myth and Legend of Ninjas (18:56, HD): Existing ninjutsu practitioners, members of the cast, and pop culture writers talk about the culture, history, and misconceptions surrounding the ninja.
The Extreme Sport of A Ninja (10:07, HD): Action directors and stunt choreographers describe their strategy in casting stunt people for the film and take a look at a few of the film's major action set pieces.
Training Rain (9:52, HD): Offers a glimpse of the grueling regimen required to transform a Korean pop star into a convincing bad-ass ninja.
Exclusive Look at Clash of the Titans (5:07, HD): Preview of the upcoming remake starring Sam Worthington.
Deleted Scenes (7:43, HD): Excised scenes are mostly expositional in nature.
BD-Live: At the time of review, only the standard set of Warner Brothers trailers were being offered for viewing.
DVD: For playback when there's not a Blu-ray player around. Includes the feature only.
Digital Copy: Incorporated into the DVD "Combo Disc" and compatible with Mac and Windows. Offer expires March 14, 2011.
RecapThe Feature: 3.5/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5
Warner Brothers turns in an excellent presentation of a film that makes no apologies for the over-the-top genre film that it is. The special features package offers some interesting behind-the-scenes material, but is not particularly in-depth on any subject.