An tale of revenge, honor and disgrace, centering on a poverty-stricken samurai who discovers the fate of his ronin son-in-law, setting in motion a tense showdown of vengeance against the house of a feudal lord.
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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
"Thirteen. The time has come to lay down your lives for the greater cause. Are you ready?"
13 Assassins is all about the payoff. And the payoff comes in the form of 50 minutes of absolute carnage at the end of the movie. The story is about 13 warriors, some of the last truly capable samurai at a time when the era of those legendary soldiers was coming to an end, who band together to kill a despicable, deranged and utterly evil lord who is step-brother and future heir to the ruling shogun. Greatly outnumbered, the men devise a plan to force Lord Naritsugu and his guards to a village that they've prepared as what can only be called as a deathtrap.
If you liked the "Crazy 88's" fight from Kill Bill Volume 1 or the massive battle at the end of Azumi, then the epic showdown at the end of 13 Assassins automatically makes this a must see. But what about the preceding half of the movie? Most of that time is spent introducing us to the 13 assassins, Sir Hanbei - the noble but loyal to a fault man who is in charge of Lord Naritsugu's safety, and making us hate (and I mean REALLY hate) the lord himself. This portion of the movie was necessary to setup finale, but it was understandably not as exciting or captivating as the lengthy battle it precedes.
Rest assured though, the storytelling doesn't stop when the action begins. Some action scenes in movies can be so endless that they become monotonous (and boring, as a result), but 13 Assassins neatly avoids that trap by including character development until the very end.
This is a brutal, visceral movie, from the sadism of Lord Naritsugu to the blood-soaked, frenetic finale. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, I heartily recommend that you give it a shot.
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