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5-minute movie reviews: 'Old Dogs,' 'Ninja Assassin'
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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Old Dogs

Opens Wednesday at theaters everywhere; rated PG for some mild rude humor; 88 minutes.

This excruciating comedy tests the limits of how many shots to the crotch a movie can show, or an audience can absorb. Robin Williams and John Travolta play Dan and Charlie, business partners whose lives are rocked when Dan learns -- because of a wild Miami night with Vicki (Kelly Preston, a k a Mrs. Travolta) seven years earlier -- that he is the father of twins (Conner Rayburn and Ella Bleu Travolta). Dan and Charlie end up watching the kids, revealing their cluelessness at child-rearing. (For example, Dan not knowing a 7-year-old can fly solo in a toilet stall.) The movie lurches from one awful situation to the next, setting up painfully unfunny gags and trotting out several slumming stars -- including Matt Dillon, Justin Long, Ann-Margret and the late Bernie Mac. Director Walt Becker ("Wild Hogs") never met a bad joke that he couldn't make worse with hammy acting and sledgehammer editing.

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Ninja Assassin

Opens Wednesday at theaters everywhere; rated R for strong bloody stylized violence throughout, and language; 99 minutes.

Like a shark attack, this martial-arts drama is constantly moving, thrashes around a lot and is as bloody as all get-out. The Korean pop star Rain ("Speed Racer") stars as Raizo, rebel outcast of a clan of hard-trained ninja warriors, who protects a law-enforcement researcher (Naomie Harris, the voodoo priestess of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series) from the killers he once called brothers. Director James McTeigue ("V For Vendetta") creates some energetic martial-arts set pieces. He also brings some edgy style to the iconic origin story, flashing back to Raizo's training under the harsh Master Ozunu (played by '80s ninja-movie legend Shô Kosugi). But the gory decapitations and gushing blood -- imagine filling a million balloons with cherry Kool-Aid and using them in a water-balloon fight -- turn the action scenes into an indistinguishable sea of red.

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