Scott Adkins stars as Casey Bowman, who returns home one day to find someone has brutally killed his wife Namiko (Mika Hijii) and their unborn child. Bereft, Casey has only one thing left to live for… Revenge.
The only clues to Namiko’s killer are the barbed wire marks left around her neck. So, with the help of his trusted friend Nakabara (Kane Kosugi), the trail sends Casey from Osaka to Bangkok to the jungles of Rangoon in search of the assassin. Honing his battle skills to a new level, Casey is as discreet as he is deadly, as he becomes a warrior that truly deserves the title Ninja.
Presented with a superb 1.78:1 AVC 1080p video transfer, this Blu-ray looks brilliant!
Detail is amazing throughout! Everything from facial and hair details, clothing and both indoor and outdoor scenery look simply superb with great sharpness. From the wooden dojo floors, the city streets to the jungle everything looks great. Colours again are also spot on; especially noticed with the lush greenery of the jungle. Black levels are also superb, whether it shadow details or the night time producing no noise from what I could see adding some good depth to the picture. Skin tones also appear natural throughout.
There was some ever so slight motion blur in a couple of instances but other than this the transfer is pretty much flawless.
Only the one track on this release, but it’s an extremely good English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track.
From the start the track will fill your room immersing you straight into the movie. Whether it’s the busy noise from the city streets to the more enclosed dojo settings throughout the movie, you feel like you are there. Dialogue is delivered with great clarity but can sometimes, but not very often, be lost in the track as it’s a loud one. Sound effects and environmental effects are picked up superbly by the fronts and rears making up a superb surround experience. LFE effects will give your sub a great workout also, every punch and kick is met with great thuds as well as explosions and gun shots.
Overall the track is a very exciting one and matches the film perfectly.
English SDH subtitles are also included, and automatic burnt in English subtitles also appear on-screen for all foreign speaking parts.
“Ninja: Shadow of a Tear” comes with only one extra on the disc –
* Making Of (HD, 7 mins) – A very brief making of featurette with interviews from cast and crew looking at the fight scenes, stunt work and Director Isaac Florentine’s work behind the camera
In all honesty, this is a very poor set of extras especially considering the US release has this featurette as well as 13 minutes of cast and crew interviews and around 6 minutes of raw behind the scenes footage.
I’ve been a big Scott Adkins fan ever since I first saw him in the ‘Undisputed’ sequels (also directed by Isaac Florentine) and made it a bit of a goal to myself to hunt out more movies featuring who I thought could be a new leading man for action movies. Watching films like ‘Ninja’, ‘The Tournament’, ‘The Shepherd’, ‘Assassination Games’ and more recently ‘The Expendables 2’ and of course ‘Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning’ it only has confirmed my desire to see Adkins get more leading roles proving himself to be able to lead a movie on his own pulling away from the ‘Eastern European’ stereotype that he seemed to have found himself in for quite a while. There’s no denying he has the moves to showcase some fantastic fight scenes, but he also has the onscreen charisma to show he can be a good lead for his own movie, and I hope that people watch ‘Ninja: Shadow of a Tear’ to fully appreciate how good Scott Adkins is (I highly recommend ‘Universal Solder: Day of Reckoning’ too).
The movie itself is a refreshing change from a lot of the action movies we see today. The story isn’t anything new nor does it bring anything new to the table, but the way its filmed seems more traditional to the style of the older 80’s martial art movies that I know and love. It appears that director Isaac Florentine has let Adkins lead the way with the fight scenes, there’s no quick cutting, no wirework, no slow-mo, no shakey-cam, no ‘bullet time’, no quick flashy edits to make it look good as it doesn’t need it. Fight scenes are shown in their fullest, which is where Adkins can really dazzle and showcase what he’s capable of, letting him go at his own pace (which is damn fast) to provide a certain sense of realism and grittiness to the fight sequences. The film isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s a damn fine way to spend 90 minutes and watching an extremely good action/martial arts movie. I do hope this is the start for more prominent leading roles for Adkins as in my opinion her deserves it.
In terms of the Blu-ray itself, aside from severely lacking in the extras department it looks and sounds fantastic and is an absolute must for all action fans out there!
Purchase your copy from Amazon.co.uk