* * *1\2
Directed by: Isaac Florentine
Starring: Scott Adkins, Mika Hijii, and Kane Kosugi
Casey Bowman (Adkins) is a master Martial Artist who runs a dojo with his wife Namiko (Hijii). Casey is truly livin’ the dream: a great wife, a great life, and a baby on the way. But his dreams of the future are shattered when Namiko (and her unborn baby) are murdered. Vowing revenge, Casey will stop at nothing to find the perpetrators. This leads him to the dojo of fellow Martial Arts practitioner Nakabara (Kosugi). The two men then come to the conclusion that the super-evil Goro (Sugata) is the mastermind behind all the mayhem. Operating out of the Golden Triangle, Goro commands an army of goons and is said to be untouchable. Naturally, that doesn’t stop Casey from embarking on his ultimate revenge mission. Will he avenge the deaths of his wife and child? Find out today!
Ninja 2 (Or Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, its more poetic title) is awesome. There are many elements that make it so enjoyable and entertaining - there is minimal CGI, the fight choreography (by Tim Man) is excellent, you can actually see all the fights, Scott Adkins is a great hero you can truly get behind and is a rock-solid Martial Artist, and, perhaps most importantly, the plot is old-school action at its finest. The movie is truly a throwback to the 80’s Ninja Boom, but unselfconsciously so. It would have ruined things if the great Isaac Florentine made this “ironic” or “post-modern”, but that’s what makes him great: it probably never entered his mind to do so. It’s all about exciting, well-executed fights and grand revenge.
Of course, there is the time-honored barfight, the Prerequisite Torture of the hero, and the wacky taxi driver. Things we never tire of seeing if they’re done right. Thankfully, Florentine and Adkins understand action through and through, and they deliver a winner with all of what you want and none of what you don’t. The evil baddie is named Goro, recalling the Mortal Kombat character, and Kane Kosugi is onboard as well. And if all else fails, Adkins can just flash his million-dollar smile. But even if he didn’t, his badass Martial Artistry would carry the day.
Florentine’s whooshing camera is still on display, and Scott Adkins speaks Japanese. And it’s nice to see that, in 2013, goons still haven’t learned. When they attack the hero, and he dispatches them in violent style, they still keep coming at him. Or their fellow goons think they can beat him. Apparently, word hasn’t yet gotten around the goon community that you shouldn’t mess with Casey Bowman. A marked improvement over the first film, Ninja 2 delivers the action goods with style and aplomb. At the rate the series is going, we would certainly welcome a Ninja 3.
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett
Also check out write-ups from our buddies, The Video Vacuum and The Action Elite!