Although it may have a terrible title, some dodgy dialogue and a very stereotypical story line Ninja: Shadow of a Tear (or Ninja II as it should be known) is a non-stop battle packed thrill ride with some fantastic fight scenes. It proves, as ever, that with martial arts movies action always speaks much louder than words.
Hurtling along from spectacular stunt set ups to dojo bound bouts to sword fighting showdowns the director and actor duo Isaac Florentine and Scott Adkins prove themselves to be a lethal combination with this great sequel to their 2009 movie Ninja delivering exactly what every self-respecting action lover wants, lots and lots of fight scenes.
The plotline as mentioned is far from revolutionary as Adkins reprises his role as Casey Bowman an American living in Japan running his own martial arts school and happily married to the love of his life with a baby on the way.
Obviously all of that is taken away from him (or else it would be a very boring action movie!) when his wife is brutally murdered by a mysterious killer wielding a barbed wire weapon. With no wife, no child and no hope Casey lets rage take over heading for Bangkok where an old college puts him on the path for vengeance against the gang leader responsible for his pain.
Wonderfully reminiscent of the classic 80’s action movies of Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Lundgren and Van Damme, Ninja: Shadow of a Tear takes itself deadly seriously avoiding parody or self-reference which makes it all the more enjoyable.
The simple story is all that’s needed for a variety of explosive fight scenes which run through every wonderful cliché in the action movie hand book with Casey attacked in an alley, caught up in a bar fight and facing his nemesis in a ring of fire.
Throw in some training sequences, a ninja weapon making montage and a one man assault on an insane drug baron’s base Ninja: Shadow of a Tear will have you crying out in glee as you grab the remote for a rewind of a particularly impressive kick or a very painful looking stunt.
British born Adkin’s is a very capable leading man and surprisingly captivating as Casey carrying the film and appearing in nearly every scene. Having stared in a number of TV shows and big budget action movies from The Bourne Ultimatum to Expendables 2 he handles the more poignant moments just as well as he does the sprawling brawls giving as much of an emotional punch as a physical one.
Frantic fist smashing fun this martial arts movie offers up exactly what every action fan wants and heralds Adkins as a fight star to keep your eyes on, that is if it’s possible while he’s doing all those crazy flying kicks!