For my inaugural blog post, I would like to introduce my (probably non-existent) audience to one of the baddest, raddest, and most all around badass movies ever made: Ninja 2: Shadow Of A Tear. To give a brief one sentence summary of this movie would go as follows: Ninja’s wife gets murdered, he proceeds to kick the ass (actually he kills them) of everyone involved.
First up, ignore the fact that it is a sequel, the first instalment, Ninja, is largely forgettable and also completely unnecessary to understanding any element of the plot of Ninja 2. Scott Adkins (known for his roles in straight-to-DVD B-movies such as Undisputed II & III, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, and Expendables 2). Unlike most actors, Adkins is a skilled martial artist and this is reflected in the fluidity of his moves. He also looks the part, with a hard, muscular, fighter’s physique; he’s basically as built as a tank in this movie.
A BIG bonus point for this movie is the way the fight scenes are shot: no shaky cam, no quick cuts, no blurry closeups designed to mask the obvious presence of stunt doubles: just beautiful to look at wide angled shots clearly depicting every punch and kick thrown. These fight scenes put any and all big ticket Hollywood fight scenes to shame. The way the fight scenes are shot clearly reflects the director Isaac Florentine’s expertise in this arena, he had also directed the previous Adkins vehicles Undisputed II & III as well as the first Ninja movie.
Now let’s run through exactly what makes this movie so badass; it knows what it is, it doesn’t try to be anything else, and it does what it sets out to do perfectly. Exposition is kept to a minimum, and the plot is relatively straightforward (though surprisingly not without its twists). The plot is basically the same as John Wick, just a straightforward quest for vengeance. The acting is serviceable, and while Adkins certainly won’t be winning any Best Actor awards anytime soon, he does an adequate job for what is required of him here.
Despite the straightforward plot, the movie keeps things fresh and exciting through its main attraction, its fight scenes. Scott Adkins’ character, Casey Bowman, the titular Ninja (on another note: I have no idea how the Shadow Of A Tear part of the title fits into the movie, like, at all) fights people in his own dojo, in other dojos, in the jungle, in a bar, in his apartment, in the alley, and even in his bathroom. He uses swords, throwing stars, razor wire, ninja spikes, and corrosive ninja powder. Oh, and he also fought while drunk and high on drugs (two separate scenes). And there were not one, not two, but three ‘boss’ battles. Damn!
What about the romantic element? Great news for those who hate sappy stuff, his wife dies pretty early on and from then on it’s just straight up brutality.
To conclude: if you are in the mood for watching a movie featuring copious amounts of ass kickings, great fight choreography, and uh, ninjas, then this movie is for you!
“A man who seeks revenge should dig two graves.”
“They’re gonna need a lot more than that.”