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Cult director Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer, Audition) delivers a bravado period action film set at the end of Japan’s feudal era. 13 Assassins - a “masterful exercise in cinematic butchery” (New York Post) - is centered around a group of elite samurai who are secretly enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord to prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a war torn future.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 117
- Fresh: 112
- Rotten: 5
- Average Rating: 8.0/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: Does Guinness World Records have an entry for longest on-screen fight? If it doesn't, Takashi Miike's "13 Assassins" just set it. And if a record actually exists, Miike's film just broke it.
Fresh: "13 Assassins" has what many action pictures need, a villain who transcends evil and ascends to a realm of barbaric madness.
Fresh: This slam-bang remake of a 1963 feature by Eichi Kudo builds slowly, accumulating characters and themes, then explodes into a prolonged and masterful battle sequence inside a deserted town.
Fresh: Familiar though it may be, as samurai movies go, 13 Assassins" is a killer.
A Solid Classic!
This is a great movie by any standard. A visceral compelling plot, a war of iron wills, and a setting that perfectly frames and focuses the action. Casting, acting, and character development are consistently top notch -- truly remarkable for the key characters. I personally appreciated the lack of bungee-cord acrobatics and hydraulic blood-spurting. Instead, it depicts the more gripping and gruesome reality of mortal hand-to-hand combat. If you like a few explosions to keep you going, you won't be disappointed and, remarkably, there is a thread of comic relief that weaves in and out of the action and keeps it from getting too heavy. The first 5 minutes are a challenge to follow. Fast subtitles and faces that are hard to fix in dim light. After that, the plot and action build so fast you couldn't keep up even if was all in English. No problem. You'll want to watch it again immediately, and everything drops perfectly into place on the second pass. I'll be looking to make this part of my permanent collection as soon as its available.
Good example of the genre, but not outstanding.
I think this film is getting more hype for it being Miike than anything else. Overall, I'd say it's a good samurai action movie, with a fairly standard setup. The prolonged battle scene is well done, but IMHO not particularly inventive if you've seen other samurai movies. In modern times, Zatoichi by Takeshi Kitano is more interesting with the way it did new things with the genre, and Ame Agaru (After the Rain) is a deeper insight into Bushido. Of the classics, Seven Samurai is far superior in every way.
The 2 leads are excellent though, especially Goro Inagaki as the amoral, nihilistic Naritsugu. And if you want to see a large, modern production values example of the genre, this is fine. But it's neither Miike's most interesting film, nor a shining example of samurai movies.
Saw this film at SXSW and loved it! A great samurai movie in the tradition of 7 Samurai's. The last 40 minutes is an all out blood bath fight!!