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Movie Reviews

13 Assassins



Reviewer: William Mcabee

Released: 6th December 2002

Director: Takashi Miike

Stars: Kōji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yūsuke Iseya

Certificate: 15

Samurai films have been some of my favorites after being spoiled by Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and Yojimbo. Unfortunately there are not many great samurai here at the states so it had been a while since I had seen a solid samurai flick, but as soon as I saw this flick on Netflix I immediately played it. This was also my second foray into director Takashi Miike. I had previously seen Audition and was highly impressed so I had high expectations and knew that I was in for a ride. So would this film be able to meet my expectations? Did Miike continue his solid streak of films? Read on to find out my thoughts…

13 Assassins is about the evil and heartless Lord Naritsugu who is rampaging the land and taking advantage of his power. When news comes out that he might rise to considerable power in the government, a group of samurai decide that he must be stopped. Samurai Shinzaemon forms a team of 12 samurai and one hunter to trap the lord in a nearby town and to end his evil reign.

13 Assassins is a love letter to Akira Kurosawa from director Takashi Miike. Throughout the whole film I felt like it was an updated Seven Samurai but in a good way. It was still unique enough that it stands out on its own but you can tell the influence Kurosawa had on Miike. That said, this movie is just fucking awesome. I enjoyed every second of it and couldn’t stop watching. I think any action or samurai fan should definitely check out this flick.

The film starts slow and builds up to a fantastic climax. As the film builds, Miike creates a strong tension and shows us the true terror of Lord Naritsugu. There is one specific scene that feels especially like Miike style that will horrify some viewers. Still, the film creates a great atmosphere and takes us straight back to the early 1800s where samurais ruled. The sets are beautiful and the costumes feel authentic and add a nice visual touch to the film. The other aspect that stand out here is the acting. The whole cast does a wonderful job in each role. A special shout out to Gorō Inagaki who played Naritsugu because he was subtle and didn’t try to force the crazy out of his character.

Still, what makes this film awesome is the epic battle that comes at the finale. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the same guy who did Ichi the Killer but he certainly did a hell of a good job with the battle. It is intense, chaotic but organized, violent, and most of all fun. These samurai kick some serious ass and look awesome while doing it. This is where the Kurosawa influence really stands out but where Seven Samurai took a few days, 13 Assassins goes from beginning to end without any breaks. It’s one hell of a bloody battle but its damn impressive and wonderfully shot.

The cinematography from Nobuyasu Kita also stood out as a personal favourite because the film just looked damn good. While all the killing and slashing was going on I had to stop and appreciate how impressive the film was visually. Director

Takashi Miike had a nice vision for this film and was able to switch from the build up to the action in a smooth style. Overall this is one hell of a film and I don’t want you to miss it. If you’re a fan of action this is a must see. If your a fan of film this is a must see. If you love samurais then this is a must see. Basically a must see film! Stop right now and watch it! A wonderful film, an action packed thrill ride!

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