Here is a film that by most standards is not a "good" film. This brings me to the classic defense for someone who is ashamed of a movie they like. You know the line, you've probably used it yourself on occasion: "It's not a good movie, but it is fun." To me, this has been revealed as more of a cinematic shorthand to say that the movie has no hopes of Oscar gold, but still proves to be an entertaining movie that I did not mind sitting through. In other cases it can be used to describe a guilty pleasure. However, if you liked the movie the filmmakers did something right and this makes it inherently good. Ninja Assassin is one of those movies.
I sat there thoroughly entertained and wanted to watch it again. So, while I can sit here and say it is not a good movie, I would be lying. By the fact that I liked it, it is a good movie. That said, I do not expect everyone to agree with me. There is plenty of bad dialogue and the non-ninja story is downright lame; these indicators would point toward the film being not good. However, take those elements and combine them with a classic ninja/martial arts plot, some wild action, a ton of blood (albeit CGI blood), and a bit of a throwback feel, and it all balances out the bad elements and makes this an absolute blast.
Ninja Assassin was directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) and written by Matthew Sand, with rewrites by J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5). The Wachowski Brothers are on board as producers and they do know their way around inventive action. With this talent, Ninja Assassin delivers high octane action in a fashion not seen on the big screen in some time.
I do not recall the last time I saw legitimate ninja action on the big screen. More often than not it is some variation on the kung fu movie. American screens have probably not seen this brand of action since the ninja craze back in the early 1980s. This makes it all the more appropriate that the film features old school ninja legend Sho Kosugi.