Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wendy's Films of 2010 #95 and #96: Shogun Assassin (1980) and Ninja Assassin (2009)

For some reason the picturesque Côte d'Azur reminds me of Asian assassins.

I'm not really sure why, but today I found myself pondering the qualities of films about martial arts and assassins and wondering how much these two actually had in common. At first I was quick to think they were very different, but it seems that all good martial arts heros are out to get revenge. Now this revenge is not to be wasted on just anyone, but it's a special kind of hate reserved specifically for their former management/commanders/employers. This hate is often based on the senseless and tragic murder of a beloved female. For the Shogun it was his wife, for Raizo it was his potential future lady friend. This revenge is exacting, ruthless and satisfying. Usually with a lot of bloody mayhem. It is always entertaining.

This entertainment is especially pronounced when I've spent the day wandering around beautiful medieval towns like Eze and looking out onto the stunning blue Mediterranean water. On these days I most enjoy pondering the excellent qualities of carnage and slaughter. Shogun Assassin's style is particularly humorous as it takes the first two films in the Lone Wolf and Cub (the first of which I previously reviewed here) series and cuts it down to one film, highlighting fight scenes, angry man faces, and boobs. I would give this film several thumbs up if I had more than two. Not only is it a gratifying and farcical, but it pretty much emanates the best aspects of words like "awesome" and "suberb." Ninja Assassin also contains a lot of excellent entertainment, particularly on the slaughter side. It's done beautifully, with plenty of blood and lots of neat weapons. I'd say it's not as good as Shogun Assassin (which I definitely recommend) but it's a film I thought was pretty fantastical and worth your while if you like to be entertained with death and martial arts. Perhaps the quality of these two films is what drew me toward them while admiring the beauty of Southern France, I'm not sure, but Monaco is supposed to be pretty nice.

p.s. I just reread my Lone Wolf review and noticed that on the 29th of May I wrote "It's the first in a 6-part series, 7 if you include Shogun Assassin (which I'll hopefully write a review for soon.)" I would like to note that "soon" apparently means "almost 4 months." I apologize for potentially misleading hopeful readers and will try to be more productive in the future.

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