Director Robert Zemeckis has done some amazing things. You might remember watching Polar Express some years back, getting a haunting 3D representation of Tom Hanks in his numerous roles. A similar kind of technology was used in Beowulf with Ray Winstone playing the title role.
I almost had high hopes for this incarnation of Beowulf, partly because I minored in English literature during my university career and I was fascinated by the Anglo-Saxon tale of a hero. Unfortunately, this movie falls well short of the original epic work.
It wouldn’t really be fair to expect Zemeckis to stay strictly true to the original text, but he did exercise a little too much creative license. Somehow, I don’t think the original Grendel’s Mother was as hot as a sultry Angelina Jolie. The actual storytelling in the movie was lacking too, not to mention the utterly creepy 3D representations of the actors. If you’re looking for a Beowulf fix, I suggest you look elsewhere.
Ninja Assassin (2009)
He may not be much of a household name on this side of the ocean, but Rain is huge in his native land of Korea. He is consistently voted onto Time Magazine’s list of most influential people and he happens to star in this movie as… a Japanese ninja assassin?
If you’re looking for a deep and intense story, you’re probably going to be disappointed with Ninja Assassin. It has a plot — telling the tale of an orphan boy, trained to be a ninja, and ultimately hunted down by his clan — but the bigger appeal here is the Mortal Kombat-esque level violence.
This movie is extremely gory with blood spewing in every which direction and limbs being lopped off like lamb chops. Kung Fu Panda this most certainly is not. There are some very intense action sequences, complete with bullet-time dodging, and those can be a fun diversion from everyday reality. There is a definite disconnect from the real world.
In the end, Ninja Assassin can be a fun way to kill about an hour and a half. Just expect to see blood, blood, and more blood. Everywhere. Like a fountain.