Ninjas are awesome. That should be all I need to say.
But for the hell of it, I will go into further detail 😉
Ninja: Shadow of a tear is the follow up to the original Isaac Florentine / Scott Adkins film ‘Ninja‘. In the first film we see Casey (Scott Adkins), a bit of a goody two-shoes facing up to a grim reality and turning into a vicious fighter and ninja to save treasure and the woman he has the hots for.
In Ninja: Shadow of a Tear, all of that effort to save his now wife, Namiko, is put to waste when she and her unborn baby are viciously murdered. So Casey is naturally upset and goes on an all out rampage, turning borderline serial killer taking apart anyone he sees as possibly being involved with his wife’s death.
It’s not until Casey meets up with his friend, Nakabara (Kane Kosugi) that things start to unravel and he is told of a man who fits the description of Namiko’s killer – Goro (not the four armed guy from Mortal Kombat!).
So Casey heads up kicking ass and piecing together anything he can to find Goro and get his revenge.
Casey turns to the dark side!
From squeeky clean in the first film to total bad ass in this one, Casey Bowman becomes an exciting character who starts to run almost entirely on anger and hate as he starts to turn even slightly on his friends.
He turns on a student during sparring, injures him and even hits up a local bar for a drink before taking apart a group of bullying men in a vicious fashion! It seems the shock of losing his wife and child have driven him to an insane level of intense hatred for the murderer and even a little toward the world itself.
He tries to set himself back onto the path of a peaceful warrior but seems unable, storming off when things don’t work out – showing how much he simply needs to take his revenge.
This whole persona makes the pace and motivation of the film so much more interesting and sells every punch and kick with ferocity, linking the character to the action excellently.
While some of the acting is initially a tiny bit stiff, the pace and unfolding of the story and the constant fight scenes suck you in really quick. There’s even a nice little plot twist in this film and it seems to stand up as a much better film than the first.
Even if you haven’t seen the first Ninja, which I recommend, you can watch this film fresh and still enjoy it. There are some references to the first though: obviously the school, his Sensei, Namico and even a quick mention of Masasuka, the villain from the last Ninja film. But plot aside, this movie is all about action!
The Martial Arts & Action
When it comes to action, this film sits up there with Undisputed 3 in my opinion, only the action seems more frequent!
Every 10 minutes Scott Adkins is seriously kicking some ass and showing us why he’s the man. He ruthlessly approaches anyone he suspects and delivers a hard hitting mixture of technique and power, switching things up from simple kick boxing to stylized techniques from Ninjitsu, Jiujitsu and even a little Aikido-ish movement also.
A lot of the fights are a one versus many affair which plays out with incredible pace and energy.
Toward the end of the film the weapons and variety of movements pick up. Of course you see the katana and shuriken but also a terrific display of less common weapons like the Kama, and even some bow staff which, when cut, turns into a deadly pair of kali sticks.
This film is like the action packed showreel Scott Adkins fans have been waiting for.
It doesn’t just stop at Adkins though, Kane Kosugi delivers a fantastic fight scene later in the film which is viciously fast (I won’t give away too much!), whilst some of Scott’s (or Casey’s) other opponents deliver some awesome work also.
It is quite simply a non stop action fest of martial arts fighting – one of the most entertaining movies of it’s kind – especially in recent years.
Totally freakin’ awesome! It may not be perfect but it’s cementing Scott Adkins as a top martial arts star. See it! I declare that anyone interested in action and martial arts should at least give this movie a watch!
On Blu Ray –
Region A (US & Canada)
Ninja II [Blu-ray]
Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe etc)
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)