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Ninja Assassin (2009)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  25 November 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 55,755 users   Metascore: 34/100
Reviews: 189 user | 230 critic | 20 from

A young ninja turns his back on the orphanage that raised him, leading to a confrontation with a fellow ninja from the clan.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonathan Chan-Pensley ...
Yakuza Henchman
Ill-Young Kim ...
Pretty Ninja (as Linh-Dan Pham)
Fang Yu ...
Laundromat Manager (as Yu Fang)
Adriana Altaras ...
Ozunu (as Sho Kosugi)
Young Kiriko (as Kylie Liya Goldstein)
Sungwoong Yoon ...
Eleonore Weisgerber ...
Mrs. Sabatin


Trained since childhood to be a lethal killer, Raizo has since turned his back on the Ozunu clan that raised him and now seeks revenge for their heartless murders. Teaming up with Europol investigator Mika, Raizo steadily butchers his enemies while inching ever closer to the long-awaited bloody reunion with his former master. Written by The Massie Twins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Fear not the weapon but the hand that wields it. See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody stylized violence throughout, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 November 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Asesino Ninja  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,316,158 (USA) (27 November 2009)


$38,105,077 (USA) (5 February 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Producers Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski hired J. Michael Straczynski to completely rewrite the script six weeks before filming started, as they weren't satisfied with Matthew Sand's original work. Straczynski finished the rewrite in 53 hours, and was studio-approved and sent to actors the same week. See more »


Throughout the entire movie blood is spraying and gushing out of people getting killed, but whenever the ground is shown there are only a few drops of blood. The amount of blood being shown would create puddles on the ground. See more »


Tattoo Master: The irizumi does not hide the skin. The tattoo reveals the nature of the man and illuminates the four noble professions in the Book of Five Rings: the warrior, the artist, the merchant, and the farmer. If there is a conflict between the needle and the skin, between the mark and the man, then perhaps the path you have chosen is not the path for which you're suited.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Part of the closing credits take place in a montage of spinning ninja weaponry, blood splashes and blurred ninja arenas. See more »


The MC Remix
Written by Ryuzo Mori
Contains the composition "Roxstar" Written & Produced by Jorge Corante
Performed by Ryuzo
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Wicked weapons, killer moves and Bloody battles at its all-time Best.
26 November 2009 | by ( – See all my reviews

If the Wachowski brothers' Speed Racer was the ultimate tribute to family friendly classic cartoons, Ninja Assassin is the ultimate tribute to 80s martial arts B movies like "Enter the Ninja", video games like "Ninja Gaiden" and the Ultra-violent anime genre titles like Ninja Scroll.(Already noticed the name "ninja" in all the titles mentioned? well, what a coincidence!). It is violent, it is bloody and packed to the gills with action. Every thing else ends up playing second fiddle to the fights.

Unfortunately, "every else" also includes the story which is, a hodgepodge of very familiar elements. Raizo (played by Korean star Rain) is an orphan raised by a cruel master Lord Ozunu(played by Sho Kosugi, famous for his starring roles in, what else, 80s ninja movies like "Enter the ninja".) to be part of a secret clan of ninjas that have been responsible for countless assassinations over the centuries. Through a series of flashbacks (intercut with scenes of a half naked hunky Rain training with some vicious looking weapons), Raizo's tragic story is fleshed out. We see his tormented childhood days as a ninja trainee; his only emotional refuge, an orphan girl who, like Raizo, is part of the clan. One day, his friend tries to escape from the harsh ninja way of life and is executed, prompting a change of heart in Raizo who eventually betrays his clan after a narrowly botched mission. Now on the run, hunted by both his former comrades and a special international task force, Raizo finds an unlikely ally in the form of Mika Coretti, a Europol agent who is close to exposing the secret existence of the Ninjas and hence targeted for assassination.

Simply put, the unoriginal storyline is highly predictable and filled with B movie clichés from stem to stern. It is a definite step down from the philosophical Matrix trilogy or the sophisticated and political V for Vendetta.

Characters are, at best, cardboard cut outs and at worse painfully bland. None of them come across as emotionally engaging. Raizo is especially underdeveloped despite being the main character. His internal motives for his betrayal are never fully explored and the cheesy romance bit, not to mention the whole big about "the heart' feels like a tacked-on afterthought. The acting is passable; nothing better than the level of a TV series, but the script manages to have a couple of witty lines of dialog.

Though Ninja Assassin is no work of storytelling perfection, it delivers what it promises: lots of fights and lots of violence. Limbs are lobbed off, stomachs are split open and heads are busted as the movie slashes its way from one fight scene to the next, delivering scenes of wicked weapons and bloody carnage that make even Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like a tame PG film. The fight choreography is well executed with a good mix of slow motion and frantic close-ups. Special effects and CGI are used to effectively give the movie a very comic book-like feel (not surprising since the Wachowski brothers are avid comic fans and one of the screenplay writers is also a comic book writer). Thankfully some erratic camera work (especially during the scene where Raizo is being chased through a busy street) does not feel distracting but enhances the frantic and lightning fast pace of the fights. Blood flows like rivers as Raizo proceeds to disembowel enemies en masse; definitely not for the squeamish.

On a whole, Ninja Assassin feels like a hack-and-slash video game come to life from the first skirmish to the climatic showdown involving modern day special forces taking on an army of ninja warriors . Some cheesy bits here and there require a certain suspension of disbelief but the film's portrayal of ninjas in general is gritty and realistic yet preserves their mysterious and legendary status. It is refreshing too to see that Raizo is not some invincible killing machine as he does tire and he does take his fair share of hits, even going down a couple of times.

Forget Naruto and all those brightly dressed, magic power spewing ninjas of recent anime. Ninja Assassin is the butt-kicking, face slashing answer to all that. A respectable re-imaging of a dated genre and 99 minutes of non-stop violent escapism once you look past its narrative flaws.

84 of 124 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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