The “Ninja Assassin” is not for the faint of heart, this is a violently graphic film with lots of blood, murder and mayhem, but if you can get through that, the movie also displays superb martial arts and great storytelling.  In the tradition of martial arts films, the “Ninja Assassin” is a story about love, honor, and revenge.  The “Ninja Assassin” tells the story of a man who is hunted by a clan of ninjas after he leaves the clan that he joined when he was an orphan child.   “Ninja Assasin” is directed by James McTeigue who also directed The “Matrix” films and the film remake of the animated television series “Speedracer.”  Actor Rain, who plays the lead character of the hunted ninja named Raizo, joins forces with director James McTeigue again after working with him in the film “Speedracer.”  Actor Ben Miles who also worked with James McTeigue in “Speedracer” plays the role of agent Ryan Maslow.  Actress Naomi Harris from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films and “Miami Vice” film remake, plays the role of agent Mika Coretti.

The heart of the film is the storytelling which begins with the opening scene where an old tattoo master, played by Randall Duk Kim, tells the story of a bloody massacre involving a ninja clan that attacks after their victims receive an envelope sent by the ninjas containing black sand.  The storytelling continues with flashback scenes of the ninja clan as children learning martial arts.   A memorable scene  in the film introduces Raizo to the audience when he is in a laundromat and is asked by a young woman to help her fold a sheet, which belies her true intention.  Raizo’s intense training in the martial arts is displayed when he does inverted push-ups on a bed of nails.  Ouch!

The special effects in the film were most effective in the shots where the ninjas are fighting on top of moving cars.   Unfortunately, the use of CGI (computer generated imagery) was not very effective when it came to the bloody scenes because the blood did not always look real in terms of color and texture.

Overall, the Ninja Assassin is a great film for martial arts film buffs, and is a “go see” movie for those who like action films and have the stomach for extreme murder and mayhem.