Shinobi: The Law Of Shinobi (Japan 2002)

Rating: **
Review Date: 2/26/06

A super low budget ninja period piece, where a ninja's skill is gauged by the amount of hair gel they use. Kagero is an exceptional shinobi with exceptional hair from Shiroyama village, and a personal favorite of the clan leader. This causes all of the other shinobi to become jealous and hate him, except for Kagero's adorable childhood playmate, Aoi. A formidable ninja in her own right, she is the only one he trusts, and she also harbors a secret love for him. Ah, but there is no room for love in a shinobi's heart... When a nasty boss decides to take Aoi as his mistress, she violates the laws of shinobi and runs away. The gravest of crimes, Aoi is hunted like an animal, and only Kagero can save her.

First of all, the visual quality of the movie is awful and it looks like it was shot on digital video with cheap lighting. Just terrible. While some of the fight sequences are entertaining and well executed, they tend to be spoiled by undercranking and overly exagerrated sound effects. The acting is on par with the rest of the production values, which isn't saying much. The guy who plays Kagero is a cocky young punk with a lot of attitude, but he also has the charisma and physicality to back it up. His action performance is fierce, fluid, and graceful, which is nice to see. The girl who plays Aoi (Chika Inada?) is elfishly cute, with a tiny body, huge eyes, and prominent ears. She also has immaculate hair and puts up a decent fight when cornered. Sadly, other than a showcase for the characters' hairstyles, "Shinobi" has little else to offer.