Isaac Florentine came back with the second part of his Ninja project stars British martial artist Scott Adkins and this time director aims to show what a real old school martial arts movies should look like.
He takes the craft of directing action very seriously with every project he works on and as a result Ninja 2 is a collection of outstanding action sequences seasoned with shurikens and swords.
Wires? CGI? There was one wire stunt in the movie, but everything else was done live, for real, in the vein of a 70’s or 80’s action movies.
The story of this martial arts film is kept quite simple but who cares if you can see significant talents such as Scott Adkins, Kane Kosugi and Tim Man working under direction of Isaac Florentine in one hell of an old school ninja film. This is a truly international work of Swedish and French choreographers, British, Japanese and Thai actors and Israeli-born director.
Story follows the same character Casey who is living a simple, happy life in Japan with his beautiful wife Namiko. He’s teaching at a dojo. But in comparison with the first movie Casey is becoming darker and totally changes his personality. Don’t make ninja angry… Casey seeks refuge with his old friend Nakabara. Casey is out for revenge and he rips through an entire crime organization to get it.
Nakabara played by Kane Kosugi, the son of the most famous screen ninja Sho Kosugi, dreamed to work with Isaac and Scott for a long time and after 10 years it eventually happened and he delivered it all. He’s a rare combination of someone who has feet on two continents, he’s American, but he’s lived in Japan for so many years that he can be Japanese. Last years Kane was working in Asia on different projects, but you could see him in D.O.A and War movies alongside Jet Li and Jason Statham. Kane trained in Karate, Taekwondo and Wushu.
Choreography provided by Tim Man and his team, who has got this job thanks to an assistant of Prachya Pinkaew who popped him and Brahim Achabbankhe names in to Isaac Florentine. She saw them working on the last Joe Lewis movie Kill Them All that was shot in Bangkok.
Tim Man’s character reminded me Keith Cook from the King of Kickboxers movie, Tim’s technique so effective, powerful and fast and it gives a lot of troubles to Scott’s character. I only hope Tim Man will break his way to the top and would not be just another skilled stuntman playing bad guys as it happened with Keith Cooke which village fight is one of the best screen fights I have even seen.
Florentine and Scott Adkins, are simply the most potent pairing of director and actor working within American action movie today. They expressing a certain unhappiness with the first Ninja so decided to give fans what they really want – a down to ground ninja movie.
There are absolutely no wrong moves in the film, storytelling is smooth and has a lot of gritty and stylistic fights, around 15! With natural charisma and sheer Adkins again makes the case that he is now one of the best screen fighters and Florentine knows exactly which buttons to press to get the best out of him.
Everything you want from these kind of films is here and it is absolutely amazing in the context of B-movies, but ending will surprise you… no spoilers.
P.S. What is interesting if you will be following the film story closely you can find some tributes to old classic movies such as Kickboxer, American Ninja and The Octagon.
Thank you very much Mr. Florentine for the screener of Ninja 2 Shadow of a Tear, I enjoyed it a lot.