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Anything to avoid writing February 16, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Blogging, Misc, NBA, Novel, On Writing.
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1 comment so far

Only recently have I come to appreciate just how hard it is to be a ‘writer’.

Sure, it’s fun to ramble on and write on this blog with no regard for what is ‘good writing’, but when it comes to the serious stuff (such as my dorment novels or proper articles), I have a real talent for avoiding it.  Make no mistake — I want to write.  That’s why I quit my old profession and began this path.  I have absolutely no doubt about that.  But somehow, I just keep finding new ways to stop myself from getting down to business (as I like to call it).

Perhaps it’s the fear of failure.  Or maybe it’s the fear of getting started (after all, it is extremely daunting).  Or maybe I’m just a lazy bum.

Lately I’ve been coming up with all sorts of excuses for not working on my ‘serious’ writing.  It’s the holidays.  My folks are in town.  I have video games I haven’t played yet.  I need to finish reading books X, Y and Z.  There are movies I need to see, preferably before the Oscars.  I should watch more live basketball on NBA League Pass.  I should learn about the stock market.  The foreign exchange market.  Enter competitions.  The house needs new furniture (which is true).  I should write a blog post about not writing.

One of my many New Year’s resolutions was to read (books) and write (books) an hour a day.  Two-plus months in, and still nothing.  I have been reading more than an hour a day the last few days, but only because it’s Anne Frank’s diary and it’s bloody brilliant.  But writing?  No. Not as such.  Almost makes me wish I could be locked away somewhere like Anne where it’s so boring that there’s nothing to do but write.

Over this break, I’ve sunk to a new low — exercise (the only thing worse is cleaning up the house).  I tell myself it’s to keep fit, but it’s really just another excuse.  And as a result, I’ve been exercising a lot.  More than I ever did than when I had (or could afford) a gym membership.  Maybe it will get me physically prepared for all the gruelling writing sessions ahead…

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Movie Review: Ninja Assassin (2009) April 20, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Movie Reviews.
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6 comments

Ninja Assassin is a movie likely to polarise viewers.  On the one hand, you have the anime generation numb to the gory violence cheering on every move of the spectacular ninja Raizo (played by Korean actor/popstar Rain).  On the other, there will be those outraged by the excessive blood and carnage, wondering how a movie like this ever got made.

Personally, I didn’t mind all that ridiculous gore.  They are ninja assassins!  That’s what happens when sharp weapons make contact with human bodies!  I did get a nasty visceral shock at the beginning, especially during the opening sequence, but by the end I was starting to get used to it.  It’s actually no worse than films like Saw and Hostel.

So Ninja Assassin had a cool, manga-esque concept.  Young kids kidnapped by some clandestine clan and trained to become super weapon-wielding, kung-fu assassins who kill people in the goriest ways imaginable.  The ninjas move in and out of the shadows like ghosts and no one can touch them.  They are every nerdy kid’s wet dream.

The fight scenes are pretty amazing.  They all looked like they knew what they were doing, and each sequence was wonderfully choreographed and executed.  Knowing a little about Rain (who was previously seen by American audiences in Speed Racer) before the movie, I was impressed by his drastic improvement in English as well as his astounding physical transformation.  I read elsewhere that Rain trained so hard for this film that he vomited after training almost every day.

Rain Ninja Assassin

Korean star Rain may have worked out a little for his role as Raizo

Now that we’ve gotten the positives out of the way, allow me to rip into the rest of Ninja Assassin.  The director, Australian James McTeigue, wasn’t really the problem.  He had previously directed V for Vendetta, so it’s obvious the man has some skill and ability.

The biggest issue I had with the film was the fact that everything else about it, apart from the fight scenes, felt hopelessly amateurish.  It would have been almost better had there been no plot at all.  Raizo is just this killing machine who harbours resentment against his old clan and for some reason decides to save a Europol agent played by Naomie Harris.  These two never click, and its painful watching them try.  The rest of the characters are better ignored, and apart from that, there’s really not much left of the film.

If Ninja Assassins was slightly more credible apart from the fight scenes, it could have had the potential to be a cult classic.  All it needed was a proper plot, more interesting characters and subplots worth caring about.  It didn’t need to be convincing — just more intriguing.  Unfortunately, however, I feel it was ultimately a waste of a promising opportunity.

2 stars out of 5!

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