Friday, March 2, 2007

shinobi: heart under blade

Shinobi: Heart Under Blade (Ten Shimoyama, 2005) - 6.5/10

A film based on a manga and the anime series, Basilisk, both of which I've never read and seen. Two rival ninja clans (Koga and Iga) are forced to battle each other by the ruling of Japan's Emperor. The Emperor, wanting to bring all of Japan under his ruling, fears the powers these two clan possess. Five top warriors from each clan are chosen to battle. Similar to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, two lovers (Oboro from the Koga clan and Gennosuke from the Iga clan) from both sides have fallen in love in secrecy. As one of the five chosen warriors from their respective clan, they must put their love aside and confront each other as enemies.

While this film has the right idea with its action sequences and mixing that with descent dramatic moments, the acting and emotion seems forced at times. The action sequence uses a mix of CGI and wire work. The swift and rapid movements shown through some of the battles were nicely done. I've read many complaints stating the effects were off and what not, but I didn't find it a distraction at all. The powers that each ninja warrior posses is reminiscent to what you would find in superhero comics and shows (e.g. X-Men). This is one film where I would've liked to see more use of the action sequence techniques, just because I didn't care much about the dramatic elements. The premise is there, but the execution falls short.