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
The runtime of the Japanese release is 141 minutes, for but the international distribution a reduced cut of 126 minutes was released, which among other things omits some scenes referring to Japanese mythology (such as several scenes which indicate that the hunter Koyata is not of human flesh, but a demon). See more »
13 Samurai brought together in a spectacular film....
If you've never seen anything by director Miike Takashi then be prepared for a no-holds barred film. I've been a bit of a fan for many years having watched some of his best known films (e.g. Audtion and The Dear or Alive trilogy) and have quite liked his style. It may disturb as much as it amazes, but you will have to acknowledge some great film-making.
The énfant terrible of Asian film-making world (according to one review I read) here he takes a complete sidestep with this take on the traditional samurai tale. A group of samurai are brought together to bring down a sadistic Lord who is expected in time to be elevated to higher levels of authority. As a foil to the group is another senior samurai figure who is hell-bent on protecting the Lord in belief that it is their duty not to take politics in their own hands but to serve.
Some very violent scenes, the story is excellent and builds up to a long battle scene which sees our heavily outnumbered group battle to complete their mission. The fight scenes are incredibly well choreographed and paced excellently, and very violent also as you would expect.
It's not just the action that is the crux of the film, but actually the story is well done and the acting is exceptional. One added member of the group (admittedly not a samurai) adds some comic relief which helps to ease the tension at times, and is a nice touch.
The settings are exceptional and the dialogue is excellent. It can be difficult to follow early on as you try to figure out the political world and the figures that are relevant in this world, but you will capture the gist of what is to be taken from it all.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and if you are into old Samurai tales then this is one for watch. Very engrossing and will likely be one for repeat viewing.
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