Friday, 20 December 2013

Ninja: Shadow of a Tear (aka Ninja 2, 2013)

The spawn of JCVD is back in action again with his own personal franchise about ninjas...well American ninjas which appear to be much better than Japanese ones according to this. The first film was pretty much a cool excuse for some ninja martial arts and weapons action from Adkins, and this sequel is no different whatsoever, but this is a good thing.

A completely childish plot with unreal amounts of cliched moments and corn, but who are we kidding here its all about the fisticuffs and nothing more. And that's exactly what you get, more than last time too. Adkins wife is murdered whilst he's out buying chocolate and seaweed? so he gets mean and outta control, its time to kill EVERYONE!!!!.

The plot is so completely amazingly and utterly basic I simply can't find any other ways to describe it further. The whole thing is so shallow and unimaginative it hurts, they should of just called it 'Scott Adkins kicks ass for 1hour and 30minutes with no plot interference'. Some of the fights do seem to be quite obviously staged I found, mainly the indoor ones. The kicks and punches don't connect, fake looking breakable props and the fight extras clearly throw themselves around badly. But once the battles reach the open they really come into their own, there is an amazing bar fight (gotta have a bar fight) and a great 'Point Break' style chase sequence.

As we reach the predictable climax the fights do get really intense, the final boss fights are a blistering montage of moves that seem to defy gravity yet are clearly real time!. To be honest it becomes more a display of acrobatics rather than martial arts, you know these moves look incredible but in reality they probably wouldn't be as effective.

I hate to use this terminology but this film plays out like a videogame adaptation from the days of Double Dragon. Just look at the facts, the heroes love is killed off, he then fights his way through level after level of different bad guys in various locations...bars, hotels, dojos, enemy hideout, alleyway, prison etc...Each encounter offers a tougher adversary as he gets closer to the final level and the three boss fights. One is the bosses main henchman, then the boss and then finally the predictable surprise boss in a twist ending just when you thought it was all over.

Yes its horrendously cheesy and we've seen it all before, its been done by all the classic action heroes back in the day. This is the new gen of action hero and Adkins is the top dog as far as I'm concerned for Western martial artists. This guy can do the moves we never saw JCVD do, he's like a living beat 'em up videogame fighter and he's just as wooden to boot, in short the man is perfect. Everything you expected you get right here, the only thing you don't get much of is actual ninja suit clad action albeit one sequence at the end.

This is what a classic back to basics action flick is all about, not the hammy action comedy 'Expendables' nonsense. Adkins has easily given us some of the best retro action homage flicks (JCVD homage flicks) in the last few years. I'd like to see him do some gritty underground Eastern set tournament fight flicks like JCVD's classic 'Bloodsport' and 'Kickboxer'.