13 Assassins (2010)

Posted: August 20, 2011 in Movie Review
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13 Assassins {Jūsannin no Shikaku?} (2010)

Directed By: Takashi Miike

Starring: Koji Yakusho, Hiroki Matsukata, Takayuki Yamada, Kazuki Namioka, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Yusuke Iseya, Gorō Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura, Mikijirō Hira

Subgenre: Samurai, Exploitation

13 Assassins

Synopsis: 13 Assassins, consisting of 12 Samurai and one hunter, set out to kill the evil Lord Naritsuga, brother to the existing Shogun.

Thoughts: While Takashi Miike has given us some amazing horror films, it is impossible to categorize him as a genre director.  He has shown his skill in everything from period pieces, family films, westerns and yakuza flicks.  In 13 Assassins, Miike brings us a gripping epic set at the twilight of Feudal Japan, but adds his penchant for amazing works of violence.

The movie is essentially split into two parts, with the first hour telling the story and building on the characters.  The acting is superb and you really feel closer to the Assassins by the time the second half starts.  The second half is one of the most amazing battle scenes I recall seeing on film. It literally lasts an hour and includes amazing sword play and ingenious booby traps.  The only other battle scene that I recall being drawn into like this was the beach scene in Saving Private Ryan.  Miike has mud and blood splashing the camera lens to really draw you in.

I can’t recommend this one enough.  It really isn’t a genre film, but with Miike’s reputation and the final battle scene, it has a place on my review list.  I am going to have to give it another watch, but this may land on the top of my list of movies Directed by takashi Miike, which is saying a lot.


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