13 Assassins Blu-ray
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Directed by Takashi Miike
Produced in 2010
Main Language - Japanese with English subtitles
Contemporary Action & Adventure • Contemporary Period, Costume, Historical Film • Contemporary Blu-rays • Asian Film • Japanese Film • Blu-ray • Action & Adventure - Period, Costume, Historical • Action & Adventure Blu-rays
A mercilessly entertaining samurai adventure that sees Miike remake the 1963 film of the same name, this is also one of the best action movies in years, says James Oliver.
Takashi Miike is the leading provocateur of Japanese cinema; an endlessly prolific troublemaker who never met a taboo he didn’t want to trample. With 13 Assassins, he springs his biggest surprise yet – setting transgression aside to explore themes of honour and dignity within the framework of a classical Samurai movie. And, by golly, it’s amazing.
The plot is simplicity itself: in feudal Japan, Lord Naritsugu – the powerful son of the former shogun – is shortly to be elevated to a position of even greater authority. This is troubling, as Naritsagu is a psychotic loon with a predilection for extravagant sadism.
So, a bunch of concerned citizens plot the assassination of the nutty nobleman before he becomes untouchable, and ask veteran samurai Shinzaemon to do the deed. He recruits eleven battle-hardened warriors, who plan to ambush their target on his journey home, but the task proves harder than they thought...
13 Assassins is a remake of a 1963 film of the same name and consciously tips its hat to the great tradition of Samurai movies. But this is no mere nostalgia piece, no exercise in revival or reconstruction. What’s impressive is how Miike has managed to marry his sensibilities with the genre’s rituals: there’s an utterly shocking illustration of Naritsugu’s cruelty early on that is one of the most indelible images in contemporary movies, while the unrelenting final battle is a blood-soaked triumph of grunting, slicing, hacking, rending and maiming.
Of course, the influence of Kurosawa is apparent but it’s also a film that recalls Sam Peckinpah, with compromised characters increasingly left behind by the modern world. Kôji Yakusho is exceptional as the world-weary Shinzaemon, whose mission is complicated by personal loyalty.
This is masterful filmmaking. More exciting than a dozen Hollywood blockbusters, it’s one of the finest action movies in years.
James Oliver on 21st July 2011
Author of 182 reviews
Mercilessly entertaining, 13 Assassins is Takashi Miike's larger-than-life samurai adventure set in mid-19th century Japan.
Koji Yakusho stars as respected samurai warrior Shinzaemon Shimada, who gathers together 13 skilled assassins to bring down the evil Lord Naritsugu (Goro Inagaki), a young lord who rapes and kills, assured of immunity by law. A feared secret force, each with their own deadly skill, the Assassins undertake a suicide mission to wipe out the Lord. As he embarks on a perilous journey, the Assassins close off his escape route and ambush him in a village of death. The film ends with a 45-minute battle sequence in which the 13 assassins take on the army of 200 men, dispensing with them in a profusion of inventive and surprising ways.
Takashi Miike, the director responsible for such uncompromising and unforgettable movies as Audition and Ichi The Killer indelibly stamps his trademark style on the Samurai genre with this ultra-violent, all-action, blood-spattered epic.
Publisher: Artificial Eye
Length: 125 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Format: Blu-ray Colour
Released: 5th September 2011
Cat No: ART021BD
- Interview with Takashi Miike
- Deleted Scenes
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