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Ninja Assassin

Dynamic star can't rescue this action flick

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Cross a gloomy, bloody martial-arts story with a threadbare spy thriller and watch neither genre benefit. What John McTeigue's actioner has going for it is its South Korean star, Rain. As a stoic ninja teaming with Interpol for revenge against the mysterious clan that made him a mercenary killer, he's fast, fluid and pretty (even if usually scarred from hostile blades). But the well-choreographed fight scenes take place mostly in the dark (as ninjas, admittedly, prefer), and McTeigue seems nearly as interested in his gushers of red, red CGI blood as in anything else. Moreover, while it's revealed that advanced ninjas can learn to literally dematerialize, their training seems to omit acting: Rain might be poetry in motion, but it barely compensates for his leaden affect.

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