Ninjas were warriors in 15th century Japan who were specially trained in espionage and assassination. These ultimate warriors worked under feudal leaders, known as Shogun or Daimyo. They used a variety of weapons that included swords and knives and were also expert exponents of ancient martial arts. These men of mystery live on through movies and played a major part in many blockbusters.
Definitely not the best written film ever, nor the best acted film for that matter. It is however JAM-PACKED full on Ninja action -- to the point where it overtakes the film with no apologies. South Korean pop star Rain stars in this ninja revenge film, produced by the Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix Trilogy films) and directed by James McTeigue (who was involved in the Matrix films, as well as the new Star Wars film). It’s obviously more about how it looks, than what is said, but ninjas are supposed to be silent anyways -- so enjoy!
This deserves its place on the list due to it being animated and one of the most gruesome animations ever created. The story is nothing new, gold is dug up and hidden and the clan want it back. They don’t have the power to do this so Ninja are recruited for the job. The main guy loses his head and then reincarnates as the leader of a seriously bad ass ninja tribe. Fun, gruesome and graphic, all the ingredients of a perfect Ninja movie.
This cult movie has risen up the ranks of top Ninja movies mainly due to the absolute insanity of it all. An assassin in ancient Japan is slain by a rival Shogun but doesn’t die, oh no, his rage driven spirit crosses the realms of time and brings him to the present day. On his epic journey he meets Mother Nature, has sex with her and then kills her, like you do. It’s mad but brilliant with one of the highest body counts ever in a movie.
This movie about Ninjas imported to the US spawned 4 sequels, which are generally regarded as cinematic icons. Ninjas don’t travel well it has to be said and while they do look slightly out of place in America, it has all the required blood, guts and epic fighting to be included as a top Ninja movie.
Enter The Ninja
This iconic 1981 movie is credited with bringing Ninja to the masses. Cole, a veteran of the American army completes his training in Japan then goes to visit friends in the Philippines. He soon locks horns with a powerful businessman who is trying to force his friends out of their home, as there is a huge oil deposit beneath it that they know nothing about. An old adversary from Cole’s training appears, on a mission to kill him. The statutory battles between the two ensue with the predictable outcome.
Purists will strongly disagree with the inclusion of this movie, but the whole concept is based on the Ninja philosophy, and includes their weapons and fighting styles. Quentin Tarantino’s sprawling epic follows the enigmatic ‘Bride’ on her mission to kill Bill, her ex-boss. Incredible fight scenes and effects make this movie, and its second part, very enjoyable romp but particularly gruesome at times. It’s highly unusual to have a female heroine in this kind of movie and Uma Thurman plays the Bride to perfection, a mixture of sweetness and cold-blooded assassin. Ably supported by Vivica Fox. Lucy Liu and Daryl Hannah, this movie is particularly popular amongst young guys who loved seeing the fight scenes between the chicks.
No list of Katana wielding assassins is complete without this movie. Okay so the hero himself isn’t actually a member of the Ninja fraternity but he comes across a few and kills even more. The tagline of this movie was that the body count is too high to count, try it and see, you really can’t keep count. So our hero travels through ancient Japan pushing his son on a cart seeking revenge on the man who killed his wife. Anyone who gets in his way is slain is a suitably gruesome manner. Slitting throats is his favorite manner of killing, but there are quite a few other inventive ways. A true bloodfest for all Ninja fans.
In recent years Ninjas have crossed time and space to appear in modern times in modern cities, so a movie that gets back to the grass roots of ancient Japan makes a refreshing change. This is another of the rare films to have a female Ninja hero, a true femme fatale who survives the somewhat ‘Thunderdome’ style training, 10 Ninja enter but only 5 leave. She then sees fit to wreak havoc across the length and breadth of Japan.