Because of my ongoing fascination with all things Ninja Assassin (I got hold of the screenplay today, too), I’m going to put a new ad up at PBeM2.
What’s PBeM2? Well, it’s a successor to the now long-defunct site PBeM.com, where those folks interested in doing roleplay via email or message board — it’s more of a collaborative writing thing than roleplaying in the classic sense — could place ads for games they wanted or games they wanted to run. After PBeM.com abruptly quit doing business there was nowhere at all to go, until finally someone hit upon the idea of PBeM2: a wholly automated site that serves the same functions as the old clearinghouse.
So what am I posting there? This, under the title Ninja Assassin:
They are made of shadow and mystery and their history spans centuries. They are masters of body, mind and weaponry. They are ninja and they are unstoppable.
Rational men will say the ninja assassins vanished long ago, but these men would be wrong. The ninja are still here, training in techniques handed down from one generation to the next from the days of the samurai. Where some would use bullets, the ninja uses blades. Where some rely on technology, the ninja has only the power of ki.
— Fear not the weapon but the hand that wields it. —
For those not in the know, Ninja Assassin is a film that serves as an amalgam of both the “classic” 1980s ninja movies starring such luminaries as Shô Kosugi and modern filmmaking styles influenced by The Matrix. The idea of that mix has inspired me to seek out a PBeM or PBP experience that might approximate it.
I know I can be accused of burying the lede in my reviews, but when it comes to Ninja Assassin I have good reason. After all, I wouldn’t even be watching the thing if it weren’t for certain events in my past.
I was born in 1970, which puts my coming-of-age years right smack in the middle of the 1980s. And if there was one thing that was popular in the ’80s — besides parachute pants, shoulder pads, hairspray and pastels — it was ninja. There were ninja movies, ninja comics, ninja toys, even a ninja magazine. When it came to the movies, they didn’t just go straight to cable or whatever, they actually ran in theaters, so something like Revenge of the Ninja, with Shô Kosugi, was a legit release that a wide audience could see and appreciate for all its ninja-y goodness.
Remember Revenge of the Ninja, because it’s important. When I was a young teen, I was enthralled by that movie. I watched it over and over (and over) again when it debuted on cable. I was totally obsessed with its star and got to the point where I could simply replay the movie in my head on demand. I can kinda still do that, which is either cool or sad depending upon your point of view.
Anyway, I heard that Shô Kosugi was going to be in something new. And it was going to be a ninja movie. That set my heart aflutter. Eventually I learned that the Wachowski Brothers (they of The Matrix) would be producing, which upped the cool factor. There was even a rumor that the guy who played Seraph in the second and third Matrix movies would be the lead, which was nice because Collin Chou made a solid impression in those films.
Well, the movie finally came and Shô Kosugi was indeed in it. And it was indeed a ninja film like those of old. It lasted about ten seconds in the theaters, and now here it is on DVD for your ninja enjoyment. Which brings us to the review.