Last Thursday night, I sat down with my little family and watched Ninja Assassin, which was precisely as good as you’d imagine it to be. (A coworker wonders why they cast a Korean pop star as the awesomest ninja of all; I wonder why we cast American actors as South Africans. But neither here nor there.)
But this movie drew on so many How Not to Make a Feminist Film tropes that I just couldn’t stop laughing. So, young women, if you want to know what it’s really like to be a professional (ninja or otherwise), let’s watch this movie for some lessons.
Lesson One: You might have good ideas, but your boss will only listen to them if he’s attracted to you. He’ll even tell you so, at which point you will blush and lower your head, while prettily thinking about how much you’d like to stick a knife in his guts for belittling you, if only you didn’t need to pay your mortgage. Except in real life, your boss probably won’t look like a movie star. Sorry.
Lesson Two: Even if you are kidnapped as a child and raised in the super secret ninja assassin school, you will be the one person not hardened by years of psychological abuse. Girls are made of sugar and spice.
Lesson Three: Even though you’re an okay ninja (for a girl), having been raised to be one from birth and all, you’re going to be the one who just can’t hack it. So you’ll run away, get caught and be murdered. This is absolutely critical so that you can be avenged by our hero, who we know is worth cheering for because he didn’t just like, forget you existed after watching you get murdered, because he’s a super special dude. You’ve served your purposes…and with about six lines of dialogue!
Lesson Four: If you’re an extra and you have boobs, you’re also going to be murdered. Because only real big jerks murder women, children or kittens. So it helps prove that the baddie is a real baddie with an absolute minimum of creativity. Next time, bring kittens.
Lesson Five: Women are inherently good. Of the two, count ’em, two women in Ninja Assassin that actually get to speak, both are recognized for being “different” and “special”. That’s what happens when you can only hire two women for the fifty roles in your movie. Being average is something that can only be achieved by people in greater numbers.
On one hand, Ninja Assassin was awesome in fulfilling the ketchup blood spewing quotient– so don’t accuse me of having a dislike for the genre. I like watching the human body being pushed to extremes and doing it gracefully and beautifully. Martial arts films tend to be pretty awesome that way. But for the love of all that’s badass and ninja, give me a little original plot, would you?