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Saw this early at the Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas and it is quite
possibly the greatest DTV action movie ever made.
Though many would not be proud of it, but I am a DTV (direct to video) expert. I subject myself to watching pretty much every DTV action movie ever made. Though most of them are just absolutely awful, it is all worth it when a Unisol Regen or Blood and Bone comes along and blows you away.
The main problems with dtv movies are: 1. Zero budget 2. Shaky cam/quick edits 3. Actors not willing to put in the work for the fight scenes to look realistic 4. Stupid plots with dumb romances
Though Ninja Shadow of a Tear is on a small budget, all of the aforementioned problems are fixed. The movie is completely without shaky cam and quick editing. The plot is very basic and there is no fat to try and make it anything other than what it is....an incredible action movie. And finally, the incredible Scott Adkins and the amazing stunt team put in some amazing fights.
One scene in particular is Scott Adkins versus 6 guys in a dojo and the entire fight is filmed in one take with zero editing...like the Alphonso Cauron of DTV shots. It was absolutely amazing.
Just an amazing fight movie that takes the best fight scenes ever and mixes it with Rambo, old Cannon movies from the 80's, and Enter the Dragon and other Asian flicks from the 70's. Just a perfect movie that looks like a big budget Hollywood flick. Not a single dollar was wasted and no goofy cgi or wires were used.
I can't recommend this movie enough. The action is incredible and everything came together to make one of the best fight films of all- time.
Hollywood, please wake up and give Adkins/Florentine a budget and I think you would be amazing at what they can do.
If you are looking to check out other great DTV movies and save yourself the trouble of all the nonsense and garbage I have seen, check out the following. But most importantly, check out Ninja Shadow of a Tear when it is released. It is a definitely blu-ray buy for me.
1. Universal Solider Regeneration 2. Ninja Shadow of a Tear 3. Blood and Bone 4. Undisputed 3 5. Wake of Death (pretty much all of the Van Dammes are watchable) 6. Undisputed 2 7. Universal Soldier Day of Reckoning (just watch the last 45 minutes)
I will start by saying, I have never reviewed a movie on IMDb before
but felt compelled to do. Scott Atkins is the new van damme.
I cant say much for the plot / storyline however the acting was fine, and the action was beautifully choreographed. It looked so real. The action more than makes up for the lack of depth within the story itself. Scott for me, carries the film but he does it so well.
I hope Hollywood pays attention to this guy as he is extremely talented. As crazy as it sounds being that this was a Direct to TV movie, I was thoroughly engaged and entertained throughout the whole film. Its Fast paced almost from the get go and action packed.
I hope to see Scott in some big budget block busters next year and beyond.
The action and the fight scenes are the best and the budget is smaller than the first Ninja. But Ninja 2 the fighting looks more realistic and using more MMA into it than the first one. Best part is that they casted Scott Adkins and he actually knows martial arts. His kicking skills are the best I've seen. Let's face it most ninja movies now days suck balls and have actors that can't fight. But Scott Adkins pulls it off and he does some amazing realistic kicks, mid arm bar submissions. The only thing I was disappointed in was that he only wore the ninja suit for a small part of the movie. But the ninja suit and mask was very realistic. I thought about NiNJA GaIDEN, maybe the should cast Adkins as the lead role for a movie version from the classic Ninja GAiden video game. Best Ninja movie since the movie American Ninja!! SEriously you bitches who think Scott doesn't know the art of the ninja ? Read his frocking biography! He studies various martial arts!
CRAZY!. It is up there with Undisputed, Great fight scenes and taken in
one shot which makes it look even better. Good fighters this time
unlike the first Ninja movie, not to mention highly coordinated kick
#@$@# fight scenes.Lets see if Raid 2 and TYG2 can outdo Shadow of a
Tear,...Scotty seems better than ever,I wish this came out in Theater
would have been nice to see this on the big screen. Undisputed 4 is
coming out.. cant wait! Story is lacking but who cares, and anyone who
knows about this movie, does not care about a PLot or love story, they
just want people beating the crap out of each other. Nicely done and a
nice recovery for Scott.
Also recommend SPECIAL ID... for those who cant get enough.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Classic revenge story with bosses and personal motivations. What
matters is that the martial arts shines and it does here. All the
fights are amazing, fast, and with lots of power put into it.
Spectacular martial arts and these guys are in top shape. Visually the
camera-work is great, with proper focus on the acrobatics, and some
slow motion tastefully added a to showcase the artists but never
breaking the flow of fighting - they did a real good job with following
the action. Honestly I wasn't expecting such great work going into this
movie session on some straight to TV material. I mean rooftop chases,
bar scenes, street/taxi, dojo, jungle rambo stuff, fighting, language,
acting. Plus Adkins is blessed by nature so he's a great martial
artists who actually looks pretty good on screen. Anyways I came out
amazed and I've many many martial flicks and I really like this one.
It's a sure bet in my opinion.
Hopefully Adkins and all can do more of exactly that - top notch ninja flick the likes of which we haven't seen since the 80's. Oh, and I didn't really like the 2009 movie, but this one is spot on.
I have long been a fan of Isaac Florentine, for many many years now.
His films always aim to grab that feel from the 80's classics of Hong Kong cinema, yet are often marred by weak story lines and silly acting.
That said, one thing that always stands out is the fight scenes - and none more so than this awesome sequel, Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear!
I liked the first Ninja movie and thought Scott Adkins, as always, proved his worth as a martial arts actor. There was just a small hint of 'meh' that surrounded the first causing it to be slightly forgettable.
It seems though, with Shadow Of A Tear, that hint of 'meh' has been thrown to the side!
Again, acting and story line plays second fiddle to what is possibly some of the best fight scenes ever put to film in a Western production!
Beautifully shot, crisp with amazing choreography, I felt that Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear stands punches and kicks above the over-rated hit, The Raid...
First the good. There's plenty of action in the film and the fight
scenes are pretty well choreographed. Not on par with anything from
let's say "Drunken Master, or Once Upon a Time In China", but still
much better a similar movie 'American Ninja'. The story is believable
and I wasn't bothered by any potholes. I saw another person post
something about the main character being white as absurd. Well this is
fictional movie so...
Now the bad. My main issue with the movie is that I was expecting something more Ninja-esque. The title still makes sense once the movie is finished, but 15% of the film gives us a true ninja feeling, and the rest is more of a vigilante film.
Verdict. A good movie if you love martial art films. If you expect something similar to a recent big budget film like 'Ninja Assassins' this is a far cry from that, but check it out for yourself.
The last time martial arts king Scott Adkins and action filmmaker
extraordinaire Isaac Florentine worked together, their output was
fantastic. UNDISPUTED III was one of the best fight flicks ever made
and remains the high standard for other karate movies to strive for. In
the three years since, Adkins has continued to make a name for himself
both inside and out of movie theaters, while Florentine hit a bit of a
low point with his Christian Slater vehicle, but fans have unanimously
wondered what sort of film the two of them would deliver if paired
together again. Would it top the previous UNDISPUTED? Well, now that
ol' Scott and Isaac have finally produced their fifth collaboration, I
can answer that question...somewhat sadly, in the negative. No, in my
opinion, NINJA II is not the equal of "U3." It is, however, a vast
improvement over its flawed prequel and is without a doubt the best
pure martial arts movie of 2013.
The story: upon the murder of his beloved Namiko (Mika Hiji), the returning Casey (Adkins) attempts to track down her killer - a quest which leads him into the dangerous urban sprawl and deadly jungles of Myanmar.
I think this is the kind of movie Florentine was trying to make the first time around, when he made NINJA. Improvements on the production values and the general presentation of the ninja (no more ridiculously impossible physical feats) are superficial pluses to a generally more down-to-earth movie: the villains and rivalries feel more personal this time, and the shifting environmental settings make for a more interesting aesthetic presentation. With that said, the major flaws plaguing the movie are still production-related and creative ones. The automatic subtitles are slightly off, unnecessarily announcing "Myanmar (formerly Burma)" twice and in at least one situation unnecessarily announcing what a character is saying even though it's in English. Additionally, for a movie with the word "ninja" in its title, there is disappointingly little ninja-ing: Scott's the only real representative of the shadow warriors this time around, and doesn't suit up until the final 25 minutes. Subjectively, I also question the cultural sensitivity behind casting Indian actor Mukesh Bhatt: I love his performance, but laughing at him playing a goofy, subservient taxi driver in an American movie is kind of uncomfortable.
The fight content so ample that it's a genuine surprise whenever Adkins' character *doesn't* resolve a situation by fighting. It's also, for the most part, top-notch. While I don't think it's the blow-for-blow equal of "U3," a friend of mine might comment that the filmmakers definitely took notes while watching The Raid: Redemption. There's so much going on here that I like. Virtually every fight features satisfyingly long shots, filled with lengthier technical exchanges than in a Shaw Bros. movie. While the one-against-many brawls are unanimously one-sided, none of the one-on-one encounters - comprising about half of the total fight scenes - are squash matches. There's a cool variety of fighters, too: Guinness record-setting kicker Ron Smoorenburg, karate-parkour star Jawel el Berni, RAGING PHOENIX-veteran Patrick Tang, and that second generation ninja himself, Kane Kosugi. Choreographer and on screen fighter Tim Man exercises his craft fully by accurately portraying kickboxing, defensive karate, kobudo- and kali-style weapons fighting, some grappling, and a smattering of Adkins' signature tricking. Viewers who particularly love Scott's backflips and flying moves may be disappointed that they're a bit toned down here, but personally, I can't get enough of the grounded hand-to-hand stuff, particularly the ten-star final match. Florentine's record for this kind of action remains unblemished.
Dramatically, the movie is on the upper end of average for the DTV sphere. Adkins remains more than serviceable throughout, though his reaction to finding Mika Hiji's character dead was a bit weak. Kane Kosugi is solid, though he cycles between how strong his accent should be. The surprise standout performance comes from aging villain Shun Sugata, whose only fault is that he doesn't have more scenes to show off his theatrical talent (seriously, I think he only has about three). Writer David White, one of Florentine's regulars, doesn't deliver any particularly memorable dialog but deserves credit for a surprising twist at the end of the story. The movie ends on an uncharacteristically bitter note for Florentine, though I get the impression that this was done potentially so the protagonist may yet find closure in a potential third film.
Should an additional installment of the franchise be on its way, I'd line up now to see it. In setting the standard so ridiculously high, both the star and the filmmaker may struggle to live up to their previous masterwork, but it's reassuring that Adkins and Florentine give the impression that they're all for making a great effort towards it. I can't think of any reason not to recommend buying this movie, so go for it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Casey Bowman (Adkins) is a master Martial Artist who runs a dojo with
his wife Namiko (Hijii). Casey is truly livin' the dream: a great wife,
a great life, and a baby on the way. But his dreams of the future are
shattered when Namiko (and her unborn baby) are murdered. Vowing
revenge, Casey will stop at nothing to find the perpetrators. This
leads him to the dojo of fellow Martial Arts practitioner Nakabara
(Kosugi). The two men then come to the conclusion that the super-evil
Goro (Sugata) is the mastermind behind all the mayhem. Operating out of
the Golden Triangle, Goro commands an army of goons and is said to be
untouchable. Naturally, that doesn't stop Casey from embarking on his
ultimate revenge mission. Will he avenge the deaths of his wife and
child? Find out today! Ninja 2 (Or Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, its more
poetic title) is awesome. There are many elements that make it so
enjoyable and entertaining - there is minimal CGI, the fight
choreography (by Tim Man) is excellent, you can actually see all the
fights, Scott Adkins is a great hero you can truly get behind and is a
rock-solid Martial Artist, and, perhaps most importantly, the plot is
old-school action at its finest. The movie is truly a throwback to the
80's Ninja Boom, but unselfconsciously so. It would have ruined things
if the great Isaac Florentine made this "ironic" or "post-modern", but
that's what makes him great: it probably never entered his mind to do
so. It's all about exciting, well-executed fights and grand revenge.
Of course, there is the time-honored barfight, the Prerequisite Torture of the hero, and the wacky taxi driver. Things we never tire of seeing if they're done right. Thankfully, Florentine and Adkins understand action through and through, and they deliver a winner with all of what you want and none of what you don't. The evil baddie is named Goro, recalling the Mortal Kombat character, and Kane Kosugi is onboard as well. And if all else fails, Adkins can just flash his million-dollar smile. But even if he didn't, his badass Martial Artistry would carry the day.
Florentine's whooshing camera is still on display, and Scott Adkins speaks Japanese. And it's nice to see that, in 2013, goons still haven't learned. When they attack the hero, and he dispatches them in violent style, they still keep coming at him. Or their fellow goons think they can beat him. Apparently, word hasn't yet gotten around the goon community that you shouldn't mess with Casey Bowman. A marked improvement over the first film, Ninja 2 delivers the action goods with style and aplomb. At the rate the series is going, we would certainly welcome a Ninja 3.
Ninja: Shadow of a Tear continues the story of Casey Bowman (Scott
Adkins), an American raised in a Japanese dojo. Since the events of the
first film, Casey has settled down to run the dojo after the demise of
his master. But now a new threat rears its head as his pregnant is
murderer while he's out for groceries. Fueled by rage, Casey travels to
Thailand in order to avenge his wife.
This film works as a sequel. It continues the storyline instead of just telling the exact same story with new villains, the old cast is back and the story stays faithful to the characters. Furthermore, Adkins is still very believably in his role, both physically and mentally. The tone of the film is perhaps even darker than in the original, and it show's in Adkins' acting. His brooding and occasional bouts of rage feel justified - not just merely cheap tricks to make him seem more antiheroish - especially when his true character shines through most of the time.
The action and the fight scenes are still the best part of this franchise. Adkins is a skilled martial artist and the film makers have a good eye for shooting the fights in a way that makes them seem exciting and new. There's flair to them, but no so much that it seems unrealistic.
Ninja: Shadow of a Tear is easily recommended for all those that enjoyed the first film and want to see more. It's also a good martial arts action film in general.
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