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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie more or less speaks out against conformity and encourages individual thought, as the main character leaves the only home he ever knew in an effort do to the right thing. He also risks his life to bring down an organization with evil intentions. But the fact that he meets violence with violence is a much iffier message. And there's a bit of confusion surrounding the organization -- although there are nine clans, Raizo is only concerned with taking down one of them.
Positive Role Models
Main character Raizo is a formidable martial artist, and he's diligent about keeping himself in top form -- which may inspire younger viewers to do the same. But his actions in the film include violence and revenge, even if his end goal is the common good. Secondary character Mika comes out a little better. She constantly demonstrates bravery and always tries to do the right thing, even in the face of terrible danger.
Violence & Scariness
Wall-to-wall extreme martial arts violence, with gallons and gallons of blood spewing, splatting, splashing, spraying, and gurgling everywhere. But it's all comic book-style fantasy battle violence. Several characters lose limbs or heads, some of which go flying a good distance from their original locations. A female ninja-in-training gets her face sliced. A man's head is repeatedly battered into the urinals in a public restroom. A throwing star is extracted from a gaping stomach wound. Most disturbingly, a ninja master whips the feet of a young boy, a ninja-in-training, creating painful-looking gashes on the boy's soles.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A teen couple -- both ninjas in training -- shares a tender kiss. In another scene, they rest their heads on each other's chests, listening to each other's heartbeats (while clothed and in the open).
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Significant stretches of the movie are profanity-free, but "f--k" is used several times overall. Other words include "s--t," "dumbass," "damn," "Oh God" (used as an exclamation), and "scheisse" (the German word for "s--t").
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Products & Purchases
In one scene characters drink Pepsi and prominently display Pepsi bottles, but the name is never mentioned aloud.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ninja Assassin is a fast-paced action movie with tons of extreme martial arts violence and gallons of blood, though its cartoonish tone may be more likely to inspire laughter than shock among teens. The story is about a man who takes on many enemies in the name of the common good -- but he does so violently and is motivated by revenge, which sends some mixed messages. Still, the movie is somewhat smarter and better told than others in this genre, and there's a female supporting character who's much braver and stronger than women typically are in these movies. Don't expect Shakespeare quality, but older teens are likely to have a good time. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) and produced by the Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix), NINJA ASSASSIN is of a generally higher quality than the typical "ninja" martial arts movie. It's slick and fast-paced with some gorgeous set pieces and choreography, as well as characters who more or less behave as if they know what they're doing. Rain gives a fairly one-note, brooding performance, but Miles and Harris help make up for it.
The movie is extremely and self-consciously violent and gory, although in a comic book/fantasy way that will probably inspire more laughter than cringing. Moreover, most of the bloody hackings and severings are accomplished via CGI, and none of it actually looks or feels too real. The larger plot arc has a few holes and leaves a bit to be desired, but individual moments can be ridiculously exhilarating.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.