Ninja: Shadow of a Tear ★★★½

Original Title: Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear
Year of Release: 2013
Genres: Action; Crime; Thriller
Director: Isaac Florentine
Writer: David N. White
Main Cast: Scott Adkins, Vithaya Pansringarm, Kane Kosugi, Tim Man, Mika Hijii, Shun Sugata

67/100 of The Great Action Project: 2019 Edition

Watching this, it is a real cinematic tragedy that Scott Adkins never became a thing, especially considering just how much talented and motivated he is compared to many other failed action stars of the decade.

It is kind of surprising and disappointing to notice that ninja films never really were a mainstream thing, usually relegated to small bit parts in action films as villains, rather than as action heroes in their own right. While I'm not too familiar with the genre itself, I have often heard that Ninja: Shadow of a Tear is one of the better ones, and I can easily see why.

For a direct-to-video action flick, the quality of both camerawork, effects, sound, and even acting is quite on point, with even some inspired moments here and there. Adkins basically plays the same character he always does, always on a rampage motivated by vengeance, but hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. His skills are always thoroughly impressive to watch, and the opponents he fights in here and just as skilled, and the long fight scenes with brutal punches and kicks are a joy to watch.

It is definitely elevated by the quality of the fights and even of the acting (some familiar faces from the DTV realm are here as well), and it makes the simple story a good excuse for balls-to-the-wall action that never disappoints. The final part where Adkins goes full stealth mode as a ninja is especially fun, and well worth the watch alone. Won't convert those that dislike this part of the action market, but fans of this niche genre will be more than pleased with what this has to offer (easily among the best I've seen).

Story: 6
Directing: 7.5
Cinematography: 7.5
Acting: 7
Sound: 7
Visual Effects: 8

ENJOYMENT: 8
BORINGNESS: 3

PARENTAL GUIDANCE
Violence & Gore: 8.5
Sex & Nudity: 2
Drugs & Profanity: 3
Intensity & Horror: 4

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