The ‘he’ I am talking about is Jeong Ji-hun (정지훈) a.k.a Rain (비). He is of course, the big-ass Korean supernova sensation who has often been compared to Justin Timberlake. With sweeps of fans across world who would gladly plonk down their hard-earned money for a chance to fix their gaze on him on the big screen, the movie will certain make back the production budget within a few weeks, I should think.
Hence, I had dismissed it as nothing than a movie that doesn’t seem very interesting.
This was despite the fact that the team behind the film is quite impressive. The director is James McTeigue, coming up from the long slumber after ‘V for Vengeance’. In truth, he was kept incredibly busy afterwards, going back to what seems like his true calling of an assistant director (15 years worth of experience!). I don’t know of many other directors who would do that, especially after their big break (and ‘V’ was a big break, I should think). Nevertheless, I respect him enormously for that. He did some good work on ‘Speed Racer’, directed by the Wachowskis and produced by Joel Silver. Why do I mention them? Because they’re also involved with this project as the producers. Good, but it still doesn’t really grab my attention.
It doesn’t help that the story seems oh-so-bloody typical. Rain plays Raizo (nice name; didn’t want to stray to far from his actual stage name, did they? :)), reputedly one of the world’s most dangerous assassins. He was kidnapped when he was a young child, and was brought up by the Ozunu clan. However, feeling somewhat betrayed by the clan, he goes into hiding, turning up years later to bring them down. There are some other subplots involving an Interpol agent (Naomie Harries, who was in ’28 Days Later’ and the second and third ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films). However, I doubt very much whether this would translate into a large amount of screen time relative to Rain’s. Having said that, a film’s success lies very much not only in the idea, but also its execution. All things considered, the idea doesn’t sound truly extraordinary.
Not that I want to take anything away from this project. Like I said, this project appears to be made by well-regarded people. I certainly don’t want to take anything away from rain; his recent brush with the law doesn’t help his image much, and quite frankly, I happen to think that the superstar singer Rain is an ego-maniac. I mean, look at all of his albums so far. ‘It’s RAINing’, ‘Eternal RAIN’, ‘Rain’s World’, ‘Rainism’…if that’s not egotism disguised as conventional K-Pop marketing strategy, I don’t know what is. “I bet that by the time his tenth album comes out,” I joked with a friend, “it’s probably going to be called ‘Rain is Still Here!'” Laughs. “And the one after that…’It Stopped RAINing…NOT!'” 🙂
However, I do understand the need to play the game; strip all of that away and you’ll find a humble young man well-respected not only because he’s good looking or a good dancer, but because of his professionalism, work ethic, and humbleness. These are the values that I always respect, and I think that while this film doesn’t strike me as being particularly good, he has deserved the step up. Furthermore, it’s not as if he hasn’t acted before; his role in ‘Speed Racer’ wasn’t that big, but his first acting effort, ‘I’m A Cyborg But It’s OK’, was rather impressive. Whatever people say about the film, I don’t think his acting should be pilloried because of it. He did well there, and I am sure that he’ll do well here again.
But still…it is still missing that little something. I don’t know what that little something is, until I saw this:
The nunchucks. The knife on the chain. Oh, how it appealed to me, called out to me from the days of playing ‘Shinobi’ on my Sega Mega Drive (remember those? :)). Even his English has improved; gone are the days of bloody-weird American accents that Koreans tend to put on when they’re actually trying, really trying to speak English properly.
You might also find Stephen Colbert’s rivalry with Rain hilarious. ‘Ninja Assassin’ will hit cinemas some time at the end of the year. And Fikri probably still have the Mega Drive somewhere in his mother’s house in Penang. Don’t throw it, mother! 🙂