Happy Ninja Day everyone! In honor of this most sacred of holidays, a fitting celebration of ninja-ness would be to watch a slew of bodacious ninja fight scenes, so I’ve compiled a few here to get you warmed up with a little review on each of the ninja-themed media shown.
The video shown above is from the film Shinobi: Heart Under Blade. When I first watched that scene from the movie, my heart literally skipped a beat because it was such an awesome live-action display of ninja-lore, which is true for the rest of the film, too. Sure it’s hyper stylized, but it’s pretty cool seeing ninja legend coming to life in a way that’s not TOO corny. The movie itself has a pretty interesting plot with forbidden love, political intrigue, and a full on battle royale between two rival ninja clans. Watch it for the fight scenes and the breathtakingly gorgeous scenery of Japan. Here’s my favorite fight scene from that movie:
Don’t forget that action-packed ninja film from 2009 Ninja Assassin starring South Korea’s singer, dancer, actor, idol extraordinaire Rain. Although its plot is infinitely predictable, you get a lot of hard punches and plenty of bloody ninja slicing action. Here he is: apparently beating up (dubbed) Spanish speaking ninjas (sorry, no embed available!).
A pleasant (shall I say ninja) surprise was Warrior’s Way from 2010, which I had expected to just be one of those overly dramatic kung fu action films with lots of fight and no substance. I mean, not that Warrior’s Way was sooo substantial, but they had marketed it as more of a hardcore action film, and actually it was one of those films that didn’t take itself too serious and was actually kind of quirky and made fun of it’s own dramatic stylization. Nevertheless, the fight scenes were quite elegant, in a violent blood thirsty sort of way, and I personally enjoyed the American Old West back drop. Of course, the main protagonist, played by South Korean K-drama-king Dong-gun Jang, being Asian and in the Old West meant that he had to be a laundryman, but at least he was the deadliest laundry man in history. (And despite the uncanny coincidence, I DID NOT come up with my COWBOY NINJA series after watching this movie. Seriously.)
No ninja action feast would be complete without a main course of TURTLES. Here’s a slick fight scene between Leonardo and Raphael from the 2007 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles CG animated movie, which was really good by the way, if you’re a TMNT fan and just like a little shake-up to the good old fashioned good vs. evil plot.
Last but not least, some of the best of ninja-goodness has to be the wildly successful and long running Naruto franchise which has produced hundreds of manga, hundreds of anime episodes, and probably hundreds of films (I’ve lost count). Aside from a fun and interesting story with a lot of likable characters to root for and well-intergrated modernized ninja-lore, the Naruto anime is one of the best martial arts anime out there. They really put a lot of effort and detail in the battle sequences, mixing ninjitsu magic with legit martial arts choreography, making it quite the buffet for ninja action fans. Here’s a fan MV of a favorite fight scene between protagonist underdog Naruto and a talented and formidable peer opponent Neji:
What awesome ninja action have you seen lately?