Official theatrical poster.
|Directed by||Isaac Florentine|
|Produced by||Boaz Davidson
|Written by||Boaz Davidson
|Music by||Stephen Edwards|
|Cinematography||Ross W. Clarkson|
|Edited by||Irit Raz|
|Distributed by||First Look
|Budget||$10,000,000 (estimated) |
Ninja is a 2009 American martial arts/action thriller film directed by Isaac Florentine and starring Scott Adkins, Tsuyoshi Ihara and Mika Hijii. The film's plot revolves around an American martial artist named Casey Bowman, who is asked by his sensei to travel to New York City and protect the Yoroi Bitsu, an armored chest that contains the weapons of the last Kōga ninja.
Casey Bowman is an American orphan who was adopted into a martial arts dojo in Japan. Because of his perseverance and desire to master bushido, he earns the respect of the dojo's sensei and his daughter Namiko. However, the dojo's top student Masazuka becomes bitter over Namiko's friendship with Casey until one morning, during a sparring match, he loses his temper and nearly kills Casey by throwing a katana at him. In defense, Casey scars Masazuka below his right eye. As a result of his actions, Masazuka is banished from the dojo by the sensei.
Years later, Masazuka becomes an assassin under contract with an American conglomerate called Temple Industries, which itself runs an underground criminal cult known as "The Ring". He returns to his former dojo and claims in vain the sensei's succession as sōke, but the sensei refuses to oblige. Anticipating an invasion by Masazuka, the sensei assigns Casey and Namiko to guard an old chest called the Yoroi Bitsu, which contains the suit and weapons of an ancient ninja. Before Masazuka storms through the dojo and murders the sensei, Casey and Namiko manage to take the Yoroi Bitsu to New York City, where they keep it safe at Triborough University's vault with the help of the sensei's friend Professor Garrison. They are tracked down by Masazuka, who sends Temple's thugs to take down the couple. While Casey and Namiko are on the run from the thugs, they are framed for the murder of Professor Garrison and arrested. During their interrogation, Casey is ridiculed by Detective Traxler (Todd Jensen) for his story of a ninja for causing the deaths of many innocent bystanders, yet the very ninja slips inside the station under disguise. Masazuka cuts the power in the precinct and takes down several police officers in the dark before incapacitating Namiko. In the midst of the chaos, Casey saves Traxler from being gunned down by Masazuka before the assassin leaves the premises with Namiko, while Casey himself disappears.
After receiving a tip-off through a member of Temple's thugs, Casey storms through Temple Industries, retrieving Masazuka's phone number from the firm's president. He calls Masazuka and sets up a meeting place to exchange the Yoroi Bitsu for Namiko's life. Casey then rushes to the university to retrieve the chest and don the ninja suit and arsenal. At a construction site, Masazuka releases Namiko once the Yoroi Bitsu is lowered from a crane, only to discover the chest emptied of its contents. The two men prepare for a final showdown, but members of The Ring stage an ambush under Temple's orders to kill the trio. Casey, Masazuka and Namiko dispatch the thugs before Masazuka uses a blowgun to shoot a poison dart at Namiko and taunts Casey with the antidote bottle. Masazuka, however, drops the bottle, forcing Casey into a fit of rage. As an NYPD helicopter flashes its spotlight on the fight, Masazuka uses a ninjutsu technique to blind Casey with the reflections from his katana and disappear in front of him, but Casey uses his instincts to counter-attack and impale Masazuka from behind. Casey is saddened that he is unable to save Namiko, but upon remembering his sensei's teachings of a ninja's katana possessing the power to both kill and heal, he discovers that the handle of his katana contains the antidote. Within seconds, the antidote neutralizes the poison as Namiko awakens. Before they leave, Casey grants Masazuka's wish for decapitation.
The next morning, Traxler informs Casey and Namiko that Temple has been arrested and The Ring has been broken. He then hands them their passports, telling them to leave New York for good. The couple return to Japan to pay their respects to their late sensei and continue running their dojo.
- Scott Adkins as Casey Bowman
- Tsuyoshi Ihara as Masazuka
- Mika Hijii as Namiko Takeda
- Todd Jensen as Detective Traxler
- Miles Anderson as Temple
- Garrick Hagon as Professor Paul Garrison
- Togo Igawa as Sensei Takeda
- Valentin Ganev as Yuri Klimitov
- Atanas Srebrev as Detective Vukovich
- Nikolai Sotirov as Adamovich
- Meglena Karalambova as Rachel
- Kathrerine Khuat as Kiko
- Kenji Motomiya as Akira
- Masaki Onishi as Ryuu
- Fumio Demura as Dai Shihan
- Asen Blatechki as Failed Guard
- Velizar Binev as Waiter
- Raicho Vasilev as Gunman
Ninja has received mixed reviews. Felix Vasquez, Jr. of Cinema Crazed gave the film three out of four stars, calling it "Far better than Ninja Assassin, Nu Image's ninja follow-up is an entertaining ham and cheese sandwich that will really live up to its promises of ass kicking and blood splatter." On the other hand, Brian Orndorf of DVD Talk gave the film one-and-a-half out of five stars, saying it "just wants to flip and bleed, not invite the spectator into the mayhem, hoping a few throwing stars and quick blades will be enough to satisfy the faithful."
On November 2012, Nu Image and Millennium Films announced that Ninja 2 is in production, with Isaac Florentine returning to the director's chair. Scott Adkins and Mika Hijii have been confirmed to reprise their roles from the first film. Kane Kosugi confirmed on his website that he will play the new antagonist in the sequel. Fight choreographer Akihiro "Yuji" Noguchi is replaced by Chinese-Swedish martial artist Tim Man (Kill Bill).
Filming completed in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 2013. On July 2013, Adkins revealed on his Facebook page that the film has officially been titled Ninja: Shadow of a Tear. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 31, 2013.
- Ninja at the Internet Movie Database
- "Ninja: Shadow of a Tear". Fantastic Fest. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
- Vasquez, Felix Jr. (2011-03-02). "Ninja". Cinema Crazed. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
- Orndorf, Brian (2010-03-02). "Ninja (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
- Young, Al (2012-11-09). "Isaac Florentine and Scott Adkins Reunite for Ninja 2". Twitch. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
- "Ninja 2: It's a Wrap". Impact. 2013-02-25. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
- "Scott Adkins' Ninja 2 is now called Ninja: Shadow of a Tear". City on Fire. 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2013-08-06.