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I DIDN?T want to go the route of ?Kill Bill? or ?300,?? explains ?Ninja Assassin? director James McTeigue when asked to somehow explain the gruesome splatters of blood that has become a highlight of the film.

In fact, the blood has more appearances in the film than any other character in the movie. It would have gotten lead billing if it had any speaking lines.

But check out reactions of people online after watching ?Ninja Assassin? and you?d see that, apparently, it was a selling point.

That, and the fact that it has been such a long time since Hollywood has done a proper ninja story. With James McTeigue (who directed ?V for Vendetta?) at the helm and starring Korean pop superstar Rain, ?Ninja Assassin? faces great expectations among fans of the genre.

For those who grew up on Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee kung fu/martial arts movies in the ?80s, the return of Sho Kosugi to the big screen is one reason to watch the bloodbath. Kosugi, after all, is the definitive actor of the ?80s wave of ninja cinema.

Plausible setting

Rain doesn?t disappoint, with a physique that makes believable the high-flying stunts his character Raizo must perform to defeat the clan of assassins that were once his brothers in arms, led by Kosugi.

While the plot wears a little thin and the theme of international espionage plays a little forced, it is a plausible enough setting for some serious action sequences that features the sword (of course) and, quite dramatically, the blade and chain, known as the kusari-gama.

Honestly, who needs a story when you?ve got action sequences like these?

Amazing sequence

One amazing action sequence is set in the busy streets of Berlin where Rain is chased by a dozen or so ninjas. Stuntmen versed in parkour were asked to chase the star, jumping over moving cars to create an adrenaline-pumping scene.

McTeigue explains the whole sequence took nine days to shoot, especially because they were shooting right at the start of the German summer and day would break at 4:30 a.m.

?We would panic at 4:15 just trying to get everything done,? he exclaims, laughing.

Here is an excerpt of Super?s conversation with the ?Ninja Assassin? director:

It?s so nice to see a modern, contemporary Hollywood ninja film after a long time.

It?s been a while between drinks on a ninja movie. It?s good to dust it off the genre and bring it back out.

What kind of preparation did you have to do to make a ninja film? What movies did you watch?

I guess a lot of my education came from when I was young, from watching ninja movies. When I set out to make the movie, I wanted it to be a fun cross between anime and film noir and some game play. I wanted elements of horror in there. And I studied the ninja myths so I wouldn?t be bogged down by it and try to set it in a very modern context. That was probably a whole confluence of things coming together.

Of all the things you?ve read up on and researched, what was the one thing you were sure had to be in the film?

I guess the thing that was very important to me was that the ninja always to feel like they were coming out of the darkness. I think if there?s anything of the ninja mythology that lives, it?s that they can move anywhere they like under cover of darkness. I was sure I wanted that to happen.

How did you get Sho Kosugi to be a part of ?Ninja Assasin?? He hasn?t been in a film since 1993.

I basically just rang him up and approached him. He loved the idea of coming back and paying a homage to the ninja movie. He obviously was the king of the ninja movie. It was great. Even though he plays an incredibly bad man in the film, he?s such an incredibly nice guy. It was a pleasure to be able to work with him.

What was it like working with him? Did he give any suggestions?

He did, you know, he?s like a ninja encyclopedia. So that part was fun. If you wanted to know anything, Sho could tell you. He?s also incredibly fit. He?s in incredible shape and has still great martial arts skills. When we started to do some choreography with him, he kicked the butt of some of our stunt men in the training session.

What about Rain? From his profile, he sounds like a perfectionist and a hard worker and he?s an international superstar. What was it like working with him?

Rain is totally great. I know all directors will usually default and always tell you their leading star is a great person, but in this case it?s true. He?s always open, has lots of ideas but knows that you are the director. But he has incredible physical ability and dedication. He really took the training much further than I could ever ask for. I can see why he?s a superstar in Asia.

Did his superstar status get in the way of the role? Did you feel you had to break through that concept, knowing this film was going to be shown all over the world?

He plays a different character than what his pop star persona is. I think he?s interested in changing the perception of who he is. He is interested in making a blend between Asian cinema and American cinema. And I think Rain is the perfect person to appear in this vehicle. He has great cross-over ability. I had no worry working with Rain in this regard.

Online, the comments of people is that they love all the blood and gore. It?s very hyper-real. Can you talk about it?

I?m very glad to hear that kind of feedback, actually. You look at a game like ?Call of Duty? that makes 300 million dollars in five days; you look at kids and adults who like games like that, that represent what they are into. That?s what I hope ?Ninja Assassin? does?cross-over between games and cinema and anime. I think that?s what they are responding to.

What was the inspiration for high-lighting the blade and chain (kusari-gama)? It was used so gracefully and cinematically in the film.

I guess it was that in itself. It was to try to give Rain a unique weapon he could be lethal with and that?s what I tried to do. I wanted something that looked like as soon as you started swinging it, something bad was going to happen. Whenever he took that out, he would be a worthwhile opponent. Rain knew how to swing that thing around.