For the last month every bus stop (and I do mean every freakin’ bus stop) in Southern Los Angeles has had the same ad on it – Ninja Assassin. At first I thought the flick looked like the cover to one of those sci/fi books by Brent Weeks – Way of Shadows, Beyond Shadows, Touched by Shadows*. In retrospect now I don’t think it’s the same thing, granted I don’t really care either, but one thing I am convinced of is that Ninja Assassin may just be the best movie title OF ALL TIME.
What? Heresy you say! What about Milo does Otis? or Harry and the Hendersons: Blood Feud. Well folks, hold on a second and let me explain.
I remember back to the days when I’d come home from Elementary school, pull out my Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow action figures and watch ninja flicks on Chicagoland’s own WGN (that’s channel 9 if you’re dialing). Chuck Norris and Jan Michael Vincent seemed massive figureheads to me at the time – one flick in particular seemed to stand out to my ninja-obsessed, boyish fervor. The Octagon. I don’t remember anything about it now, except that since I liked it then I’d probably hate it now. But I digress – I’ve wondered off and on for years just why the Ninja-thing has disappeared so totally from the movies. Well now I know – it’s because Hollywood has been saving up to unleash the ultimate ninja movie on us just in time for the holidays in 2009!
Think about the title: Ninja Assassin. It’s a title, it’s a logline (what’s my movie about? Uh, hello? Ninja Assassin!!!) it’s a plot summary, it’s everything, all in a nice compact two-word package.
Now, I have not seen any commercials, trailers or radio spots** except one in a bar with the sound off. I couldn’t really see the screen too well but I think I got the gist of it. Ninja, scorned by other ninjas, out for revenge – see essentially that’s why it’s such a perfect title – all ninja movies invariably have the same plot so why waste time explaining anything past the words, say it with me now, NINJA ASSASSIN.
See, feels good, doesn’t it? Not half as good as that leather jacket-wearing ninja is going to feel taking the blade to all those sorry ass mofos who underestimated him, betrayed him, stole his antique Shuriken (Chinese star is, after all, politically incorrect now).
Yeah, I know, it’s not really that cool. I’m standing by my love of the title, but I’m not about to even waste time watching five minutes of this one. Maybe, maybe if they’d at least put the ninja in a ninja suit instead of in a leather jacket like my old roommate Tim would wear I would have been interested, but as for now, sorry.
However, if this does well and we get a Ninja Accountant, Ninja Guidance Councilor or (hope hope/pray pray) Ninja Life Guard I’ll get on board. Just do us all a favor folks – don’t have him shop at the mall, okay?
* Where the ninja squares off against the catholic church. Staring Michael Landon.
** That’s my mutant power – seeing radio spots. What do you think of that Patrick Stewart?
*** Isn’t this usually Oscar movie time of the year? Why the hell is this flick being released during the holidays anyway? Or is it that this being the first year the Academy is moving forward with the ten nominees structure and there doesn’t seem to be an obvious Oscar push the folks behind Ninja Assassin moved it back from tent pole or up from No-mans-land in hopes that, hey, nomination is definitely a possibility in a year where John Cusak has been turned into Nick Cage by the evil Mysterio.