The Japanese Uncle Sam is waaayyy creepier.

Theatrical Release Date: 09/17/2005 (Japan), 11/17/2006 (USA)
Director: Ten Shimoyama
Cast: Yukie Nakama, Jô Odagiri

I was looking for something a little different to pop into my DVD player and stumbled upon “Shinobi”. It was described as “Romeo and Juliet” meets “The X-Men” meets “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” so I figured it would either be pretty good or so bad I’d have a good time ripping it apart.

Apparently, I’m not infallible and it fell in-between those preliminary assessments.

In the film, two rival ninja clans have developed superhuman abilities amongst their elite and through some political intrigue with the Japanese Emperor at the time, they square off against one another. Of course, it couldn’t be described as a Montague/Capulet saga unless the best warriors of each clan didn’t fall in love with one another, so toss that in for some good measure and you have the gist.

If you’ve seen any of the Japanese action imports of late, I think you can guess how things go. From a story standpoint, there’s nothing new and I found the acting to be as static and overhanded as any similar film.

The only interesting element are the super powers the ninjas have. It makes for some relatively interesting fights and spices up an otherwise bland picture. The effects are about as good as you’d expect considering I doubt they had a very big budget … though at times I wished they’d be worse so I could have some fun at their expense. C’est la vie.

If you like this genre of film, then by all means go ahead and check out “Shinobi”. Its unoriginal and lackluster take on things just didn’t provide enough enjoyment for me to give it anything more than a 2 out of 5 and if I were recommending something a bit strange from the land of the rising sun, I’d be much quicker to suggest something like “Battle Royale” than this amalgamated attempt at something unique.