As I've mentioned before, Movie Morlocks gave me the idea that I should check out direct-to-video action hero Scott Adkins. Of course, Netflix doesn't have a whole lot of his oeuvre, but we did find Ninja.
Ninja finds Scott studying ninja martial arts in Japan under kindly old sensei Togo Igawa. He is one of the top students, along with sensei's daughter Mika Hijii and plug-ugly Tsuyoshi Ihara. Of course, Mr. Ugly gets jealous, starts a fight and gets kicked out of the dojo. When he returns, he kills sensei and tries to steal the ancient ninja weapons box.
But Scott and Hijii have taken it to New York (a town in Bulgaria, it appears) for safe keeping. So Ugly and a evil cult known as "The Evil Cult" (or something, I wasn't paying attention) start killing people to get ahold of it.
So, I could complain that there is virtually no ninjutsu in this movie. It is 90% normal martial arts, with some silly stuff (the bad guy has Dark Knight style body armor - just like a ninja!). I don't mind that. The action is pretty good for straight to video. Scott Adkins is massively built but very agile, with a style that is almost Gymkata-like. But there is one serious problem:
Scott Adkins looks exactly like Ben Stiller.
Sure, Ben Stiller with muscles on his muscles. Ben Stiller with the martial arts moves of a panther. But, well, Zoolander could move like a panther too. And since Stiller always plays it strictly deadpan, I kept waiting for the punchline. Then I'd get caught up in the action, then I'd get restless because Stiller wasn't being funny, then I'd remember.
So, a mixed experience. This wasn't a great action movie, but it was a good action movie. But in the end, it was a terrible Ben Stiller movie.