7.6/10
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Jûsan-nin no shikaku (2010)

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A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

Director:

Takashi Miike

Writers:

Kaneo Ikegami (based on a screenplay by), Shoichirou Ikemiya (story) | 1 more credit »
14 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kôji Yakusho ... Shinzaemon Shimada
Takayuki Yamada ... Shinrokuro Shimada
Yûsuke Iseya ... Koyata Kiga
Ikki Sawamura Ikki Sawamura ... Gunjiro Mitsuhashi
Arata Furuta ... Heizo Sahara
Sôsuke Takaoka ... Yasokichi Hioki
Seiji Rokkaku Seiji Rokkaku ... Mosuke Otake
Kazuki Namioka Kazuki Namioka ... Rihei Ishizuka
Kôen Kondô ... Yahachi Horii
Yûma Ishigaki Yûma Ishigaki ... Gannai Higuchi
Masataka Kubota ... Shojiro Ogura
Tsuyoshi Ihara ... Kujuro Hirayama
Hiroki Matsukata Hiroki Matsukata ... Saheita Kuranaga
Kazue Fukiishi Kazue Fukiishi ... Tsuya / Upashi
Mitsuki Tanimura ... Chise Makino
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Storyline

In 1844, the peace of Feudal Japan is threatened by cruel Lord Naritsugu Matsudaira, who is politically rising and getting closer to his half-brother, the shogun. After the harakiri of the Namiya clan leader, samurai Shinzaemon Shimada is summoned by the shogun's advisor Sir Doi of the Akashi Clan to listen to the tragedy of Makino Uneme, whose son and daughter-in-law have been murdered by Naritsugu. Then Sir Doi shows a woman with arms, legs and tongue severed by Naritsugu and she writes with her forearm a request to Shinza to slaughter Naritsugu and his samurai. Shinza promises to kill Naritsugu and he gathers eleven other samurais and plots a plan to attack Naritsugu in his trip back to the Akashi land. But the cunning samurai Hanbei Kitou that is responsible for the security of his master foresees Shinza's intent. Shinza decides to go with his samurai through the mountain, where they find the hunter Koyata that guides them off the mountain and joins the group. Now the thirteen men... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Take up your sword.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sequences of bloody violence, some disturbing images and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan | UK

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

25 September 2010 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

13 Assassins See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£124,377 (United Kingdom), 8 May 2011, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$45,854, 1 May 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$802,524, 21 August 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (International)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is set in 1845. See more »

Quotes

Shinzaemon Shimada: He who values his life dies a dog's death.
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Venice Film Festival 2010 (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Another brilliant genre masterpiece from Takashi Miike
2 May 2011 | by cadillac20See all my reviews

Takashi Miike is arguably one of Japan's hardest working directors who has tackled several different genres, generally with good results. It used to be he would do a dozen or so projects a year, and more in his earlier days. This, of course, has diminished in place of bigger projects, but the man still remains one of Japan's most well known and prolific directors. So, it shouldn't surprise anyone that his undertaking of yet another new genre, the samurai epic, is something of a highly anticipated film. And yes, it succeeds in being another brilliant masterpiece from the man.

13 Assassins, though full of characters, is quite simple actually. A master Shogun samurai is charged with the killing of a cruel and masochistic Shogun lord before he can become more influential in the Japanese Shogunate. With this mission, he gathers together 13 samurai to join him in what appears to be a mostly suicidal mission as they take on a small army of soldiers. For years I have argued that Miike is a master filmmaker that doesn't get nearly the kind of recognition he deserves, as his experience and resume put him up with the likes of other classic filmmakers. This shows in Assassins as he brilliantly puts together this simple, yet purposeful film that calls back to the era of epic samurai films of the likes of Akira Kurosawa. In fact, the influence of Seven Samurai is quite apparent here, even going so far as to model some similar characters. However, do not be mistaken, as this is very much a Miike film, a combination of his abilities to craft a mainstream film and a cult hit.

And the trademarks are certainly there, with the sadistic young Shogun lord bearing the bizarre violent fetishes that have been displayed in Miike's more obscure works, namely Ichi the Killer. As you might suspect, the violence early on is shocking, effective, and often unexpected. This gives way later on to more stylish violence, but none the less, the film is incredibly violent, worthy of a hard R rating by American standards. Miike fans should be very pleased as he both employs his skills as a filmmaker while at the same time adhering to the general guidelines of making a samurai film. Here, he delves greatly into the genre, showing what it means to be a samurai and questioning their purpose through multiple views. Our master samurai, Shinzaemon, sees samurai as being for the people, while Hanbei, his rival, sees them as entirely in servitude to their master without question. Even the young lord, Shinzaemon's target, has a view, thought it is certainly the most negative of any of them.

If I have any complaints, it's two. First, the film does little exposition of the large cast and most of the assassins are simply there to be a fighting force. We learn very little about most of them, and even the samurai we do learn about, including Shinzaemon, get little exposition besides what we already expect, that he's a great samurai of justice. The second would be the clunking over the head about samurai ideals. Miike continues to push messages we've already acquired early in the film and it becomes slightly redundant by the end. However, these are minor complaints that are mostly easily ignored as the film runs at a fast pace with a 45 minute battle that is one of the best samurai battles I've seen on film, comparing to Azumi or Zatoichi's finale, but arguably handled better and with a master's touch.

It's hard to know if this is Miike's pinnacle. He certainly creates a modern samurai masterpiece of an epic here. One particularly powerful scene will remain with you for a long time, and this is the power of Miike's film, one that goes to places many are afraid to tread to leave a lasting impression. Violent, entertaining, and with good examination of the samurai and their duties, fans of Miike's previous films and fans of the samurai epic will not be disappointed.


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