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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Ninja: Shadow of a Tear


Starring: Scott Adkins, Kane Kosugi, Mika Hijii and Shun Sugata
Distributor: Lionsgate UK
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 12 May 2014

Ninjitsu master Casey’s life is seemingly perfect, he has his own Dojo, where he teaches students and he has just been told by his beautiful wife that she is pregnant. However, on a trip to the shops to buy her a present he is set upon by a couple of thugs, he beats them into next week and thinks nothing of it. Days later he returns home to discover that his wife has been murdered with a weapon which leaves distinctive cross wounds on her neck. With the loss of his wife Casey goes a little mad and kills the thugs who had previously mugged him. His old friend informs Casey that there is a vendetta against his wife’s whole family by a man called Goro. With a target in mind Casey travels from Osaka to the depths of Myanmar to find and kill the man he holds responsible...

Ninja: Shadow of a Tear (2013 - 1 hr, 34 min, 56 sec) is an action/thriller directed by Isaac Florentine, who also directed the first film in the series, Ninja (2009), which was pretty average. The film’s script was written by David N. White and Michael Hurst.

I’m not really a great fan of films based around martial art, of course there have been some stunning examples from the Far East, but western films tend to concentrate on the action and wrap it around any old story. So, you can imagine my surprise that I actually enjoyed this film.

Partially this is down to a script, which whilst your average revenge story, does contain a number of surprises and twists to keep you on your feet. There is the occasional plot hole and a sequence which will no doubt appear on one of the clip shows, when Casey dresses as a ninja for the first time, with blacked out skin only to turn around and have all the blacking missing.

The fights are well choreographed and staged in such a way as to be believable add to that a believable main man in Scott Adkins and what you have here is not a great film, but it is a good one. That is not to say that the odd cheese doesn’t have the occasional breakthrough, especially the ill-timed slowmo parts of the fights, which adds little but pulls the audience out of the sequence.

Whilst not the best actor around, Adkins certainly has the requisite presence and fighting skills to make a good career as an action actor. The rest of the cast do well in supporting the story and while there are a few pacing issues, overall Ninja is a pleasant way to while away an hour and a half.

Whatever shortcoming that might exist in the film, the transfer is stunning in its detail and colouring, it is ably complimented with a great Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track. There is only a single extra on the disc Making of Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, but at only a little over seven minutes in length this is less of an extra and more of an extended trailer.


Charles Packer

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