Review of Ninja: Shadow of a Tear

I loved the first Ninja. Starring Scott Adkins, it was released to little fanfare when compared to the more mainstream Ninja Assassins. But it had more heart. It was based more in reality, with the ninja school being a mainstream martial arts school. Adkins is probably the greatest martial artist of his time and is a pretty good actor, to boot. Most importantly, we didn’t see gallons of fake blood, as in the former movie.

A.P. Fuchs mentioned to me that a sequel to the first Ninja was coming. And I was stoked. When I found a random ad on Facebook advertising its page, I followed it to find that it was already available. To my delight, it was available on Netflix.

I watched it that very night. And I was severely disappointed.

Ugh.

In the first movie, Casey fought to protect Namiko and the Yoroi Bitsu. He was a likeable, heroic character. In this movie, Namiko (to whom he is married and with whom he is expecting his first child), is murdered and Casey goes on a fit of revenge. The trail eventually leads to a drug crime-boss who also happens to be a ninja. Their fight is too short and the boss, as my buddy, Patrick, would say, “Goes out like a punk.” Then Casey realizes that he has been played and fights the real killer.

Arguably, the best thing about this movie is that we see Scott Adkins and Kane Kasugi (son of the legendary Sho Kasugi) have an epic martial arts battle. As with the other fights in the movie, it is well choreographed. Unlike the other fights in the movie, it is satisfying. But seeing Casey turn into the dark, brooding man that he becomes, taking lives without remorse, does something to my enjoyment of the character . . . and the movie.

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