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I came across 13 Assassins, after watching a line-up of old Japan
movies with samurai's which made this movie a eye opener for me.
While watching 13 Assassins, I noticed the dialog, the acting and the physical part (action), all those were a prefect match. I have seen great movies, and I'm proud to put this one on the list of movie worth watch.
I don't know about you guys but I get the feeling that sometimes I wish I never saw movies that are great, so that I can watch them for the first time again and again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I just finished this movie last night. I really loved the film for what
it's purpose was, a classic action movie. The beginning is very similar
to how many movies of this genre begin. They find the few men who are
willing to fight for what they believe in, and then they go fight in an
The movie really takes off when you learn about the young man who is the brother of the current Shogun and the next in line for the throne. This man is supremely evil. He kills a newly married couple after defiling the young bride, and he also slept with a woman only after cutting off all of her limbs. This man is wreaking havoc on the nation at this point in the story.
Our main character is approached by the elders in his village and is asked to stop the Shogun's brother, and the only way to do it is by killing him.
The protagonist gathers his initial 12 men and sets off to kill the second-in-command. Along the way the men get lost in the mountains and stumble across a young Japanese man. This man is not a Samurai, but has extensive knowledge of the surrounding area. He joins the twelve, leaving us with the final thirteen men.
When they finally reached their destination they decide to set the trap. The Shogun's brother ends up with a small unit of about 200 men, but heavily outnumbers our heroes. The initial traps were awesome, all except for the bulls that the men set loose only after setting them on fire. I really hated this part of the movie because you can clearly tell that is was CGI. The terrible animation of these running bulls really detracted from the story. The whole rest of the movie looks really natural and has some really great shots. This was really the only negative for me. I think when people watch this in twenty years, that scene will stick out like a sore thumb.
Finally, the ending. Ten of the men initially die and we are at the final sequence with the protagonist and his nephew. They are face- to- face with the Shogun's brother and his commander with two guardsmen. The guardsmen are killed pretty quickly and so is the commander. The protagonist and antagonist face off for a split second and you think the bad guy wins. He sticks his sword into our main character, but that is quickly reciprocated. The heir-apparent thanks the men and tells them that it was the best day of his life. Our protagonist dies and we are left with his nephew and the mountain man who appears at the very end of the movie.
Altogether, it was a great film. It was very reminiscent of Seven Samurai and I think they even drew a bit of inspiration from that film. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves action movies. Enjoy!
It's histrionic and overwrought, and hard to believe if you don't buy
it's premise of duty and conflict, set in Miike's beautiful and
masterful style. But if you do allow Miike's unabashedly sympathetic
portrayal of feudal Japan and the caste system of the Samurai to appeal
to you, then this is an epic. It's also a positing of the modern
Japanese questioning of the purpose of duty, of values trumping
allegiance to a static system, and interestingly Miike doesn't have a
neatly gift-wrapped answer in this film to Western observers who are
curious about where modern Japanese identity is headed. So it's great
fodder for dinner conversations!
The pathos of the victims of the villain, the absurd and gory violence that Miike relishes and makes you sit through throughout the movie, the beauty of rural Japan, and his punctilious attention to beautiful traditional costume and architecture are all just wonderful elements of this film. Anybody can enjoy this movie, and walk away from it with a very rich aesthetic sense of Japanese feudal history. And so I think as a viewer you have to congratulate the director for making something which feels commercial and big budget and paced and crisply edited, and yet captures moments of ambiguity and moral complexity that make the experience of watching it very compelling.
13 Assassins is a film by renowned director Takashi Miike, a man most
famous for films like Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, and Audition. If
you're familiar with his previous work then it comes to no surprise
that 13 Assassins is a very violent movie, though the violence in this
film is never as "disturbing" as in his other films. It is also a
remake of the 1963 film of the same name directed by Eiichi Kudô. In
short, 13 Assassins is both a visual pleasure and an engaging tale of
violence, honor, and tactics set in 19th century Japan. If you want to
watch a film with well directed action, then this is a great film to
13 Assassins is a very drab looking movie, and I use the term "drab" in the most respectful way possible. For most of the film the screen is covered in shades of grey, while other scenes are painted in such striking color that you can immediately tell what Miike was going for, which was to show the obvious wealth gap between the rich and poor. While it's never pointed out specifically, it would be an historically accurate representation of Japanese society in the 19th century. The actors, particularly Tsuyoshi Ihara, all do an exceptional job at giving their characters a sense of realism and a legitimate purpose in their reasons for joining the Assassins. Every character breathes with life in ways that few films manage to do and this might be the strongest aspect of the entire film. We often see characters interacting with each other and making jokes in way that provides some insight into why they're risking their lives for each other.
Despite for a few quick battles, much of the action is reserved for the final act of the film which serves as a very long battle in a small town turned into a death trap. Some might say that the battle alone is reason enough for watching the movie, but I personally found it boring at parts, though I recognize how impressive it all is despite that. The scenes with actor Gorô Inagaki are easily the show stealer for me. His character, Lord Naritsugu Matsudaira, is such a comically evil bad guy that despite his incredibly disgusting actions, I can't help but love him. His cruelty is unmatched in this film and everyone, including his own men, knows it.
I would recommend 13 Assassins very much. It might be Miike's most approachable film and is a great example of blending story and action in a way that doesn't feel forced and trite.
"13 Assassins" is an epic battle of good versus evil, with the stakes as high as they could possibly be. You've got a group of rag-tag heroes pitted against a villain so diabolical every cell in your being wants to see him killed. Don't think that means he's a cartoon though, because what really makes this movie something special for me is that while the film is grandiose and epic, it's never so outlandish that it feels like a fantasy film. The climax is nothing short of incredible. It grabs you, pumps up the stakes as high as they can get and never lets go until the credits start rolling. It's a sure hit for anyone who loves Samurai movies or any film where the underdog stand to lose everything but decide to take the chance anyway. One note though, when you watch the movie have your remote ready during the first few scenes because with the subtitles being at the bottom of the screen at the same time as some crucial written information being displayed, you have to pause the movie in order to get all of the little bits of information and the names memorized. If that sounds like extra work, you won't even mind after seeing the explosive action contained within this truly legendary battle. (Original Language with subtitles on DVD, January 2012)
Takashi Miike, better known for darkly funny and sadistically violent fare like AUDITION and ICHI THE KILLER, delivers an excellent period samurai film which also comments on the nature of honor, bushido and the concept of the samurai itself. The plot is rather simple: a group of 12 samurai (plus one other person they meet on the way) have decided it's in Japan's best interest to kill a lord with ties to the Shogun. The reason, well-established in early scenes, is because of his reckless disregard for human life. The first half is concerned with how the samurai conceive their plan and the second half is the execution of the plan, which is glorious and bloody. There was a lot of attention paid to the characters and their various motivations, and the story unfolded at a very nice pace: not too fast and not too slow. Also, being a Takashi Miike film, there was a couple of elements which put his stamp on the material (which is a remake). One is a particularly graphic suicide which opens the film, and the other is a naked, limbless woman without a tongue. One thing I did like about the movie was the meta-comments that were made on the concepts of bushido and the samurai, which completely removed any romanticism that might have at one point been associated with them. These ideas are expressed mainly through the 13th assassin and the lord (Naritsugu) who they're on a mission to kill. In such a stunning film, the only thing I can really complain about are some obvious CGI bulls (which are on fire) that appear in the second half. Other than that, this is an impressive movie no matter which way you look at it. Highly recommended, especially for fans of Japanese samurai films.
I'm partial to Samurai and Kung Fu movies, but whether or not that was
the case, I still loved this movie. Nothing is better than a gritty
tale of correcting injustice.
This movie did an excellent job of pulling you in to the actual plight and motive of the 13 assassins. There wasn't a lot of special effects to rely upon, and as a subtitled movie, the dialogue was concise and good at conveying the plot. I especially loved the speech given to the Samurais as they were training: "If you don't have a sword use a stick... if no stick use a rock... you'll die but make the enemy feel pain." It's not a precise quote, but those are some very inspirational words. Comment
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Boy if you're a fan of Takashi Miike, then you're gonna love this. A
remake of Eiichi Kudo's 1963 black-and-white Japanese film of the same
name, Takashi Miike brings "13 Assassins" into the spotlight like a
"Hammer" studios produced monster classic. Ridiculous buckets of blood,
superb characters with surreal choreography all brings Miike's most
ambitious project (So far) to life stunningly.
Amongst the beautiful panoramic shots of a superbly rendered period Japan, the movies villain is without doubt one of Eastern Cinema's most brutal to come along in quite some time. If I was to tell of any flaws, I would say some scenes feel too stretched out even for the style this movie superbly creates. But when all is said and done, the overall climax of this movie is without doubt the movies highlight. Limbs fly, swords cut and a real code of honour comes across our heroes and even the supporting cast.
Final Verdict: I feel nowadays Cinema is lacking in many samurai flicks (Even westerns), which is why I urge you to please find this movie and see what your missing. 8/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There is this fellow with a lot of power who is jolly unpleasant to
people. So this bunch of samurai get together to bring about his
The first half of this film is set up and getting the samurai together, the second half is almost all action. There is an interesting question - never fully resolved - as to the conflict between doing the morally right thing ie. defending the victimised peasants, and following the samurai code ie. loyalty to one's master.
The story is essentially a variation on 7 Samurai, but it is done well. It is, please note, extremely and sometimes graphically violent in the modern manner.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In 1844 peace in Japan is threatened by the cruel lord Naritsuga and
his followers. A council is held by the shogun adviser Sir Doi, and as
he tells the mighty samurai Shinzaemon Shimada of Naritsuga's evil
deeds, it becomes clear that the man must be taken care of. 13
assassins was a movie I avoided watching for a long time, partially
because of my ignorance towards foreign films (which is long gone) and
also because I judged it to be a typical action movie with little plot
and over-the-top action. Reflecting on this stubborn mindset, I don't
think I could have been any more wrong.
Takashi Miike, who I'm quickly becoming a fan of, directed the hell out of this movie. He did an excellent job of establishing the villain and getting you to side with the 13. The actors in this film, none of whom I was familiar with, all did a terrific job in bringing their respective characters to life. Each of the samurai were unique, and all showed humor and heart to contrast with the dark tone set by the film. I even found myself getting upset as they were felled one at a time in the final battle. The first half of the film was more akin to a drama, and that was fine. There is a great deal of talking and walking as the characters are introduced, and at the same time we become more aware of just how evil Naritsuga really is. The film has a heart, and the values of the samurai, their honor and their beliefs were exceptionally well done. These men are shown as tea drinkers who rise up when called upon to protect their country. You see how they are willing to lay down their lives for the greater good, and would rather die than be dishonored. The climax of this movie was unforgettable and truly a highlight of modern cinema. The movie built up to the confrontation between the 13 assassins and Naritsuga. The battle, a 45 minute show fest of swordsmanship and blood was possibly the best action I've ever seen in a movie. forced to go through a village, Naritsuga and his force of 200+ men run into booby traps and explosives in what was to be a "total Massacre." After some messing around the 13 samurai all unsheathe their blades and jump into a suicide battle. The shots, choreography and editing in the scene were fantastic; it was vaguely Tarantino-esque in terms of violence, (think kill bill) but it was beautifully done. Nothing was better than seeing the 13 of them cut through Naritsuga's samurai like butter. Overall, this was a great movie and a very satisfying watch. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys action and sword fights, or to someone who just wants a really well told story.
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