Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Koji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Goro Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura and Yusuke Iseya
13 Assassins comes with a big name, a certain Takashi Miike, but does he splatter your viewing senses until you see red or is it a case of less is more from this cult director, lets Audition this film! (see what I did there)
In Feudal Japan a clan suffers under the reign of Lord Naritsugu (Goro Inagaki) who is climbing the ranks and will soon be Shogun, he leaves devastation and destruction to any place he goes with torture and then murder being just playful activities he uses to amuse himself.
With the atrocities against the people becoming worse a Warlord hires Shinzaemon Shimada (Koji Yakusho) to kill Lord Naritsugu. Shinzaemon then pulls together the last of the true Samurai who are willing to give their lives to him in order to kill the Lord. The 12 Samurai, and a common bandit they befriend along the way, set a trap and prepare to battle Lord Naritsugu and his 200 men led by master samurai Hanbei (Masachika Ichimura) a former rival of Shinzaemon and he knows that he must not only kill Lord Naritsugu but also face his former rival Hanbei and so the scene is set.
That is the story in a nutshell, what more do you need, and for the first hour the characters are set out very nicely with Lord Naritsugu shown as the evil bastard (excuse my language but seriously he is!) with his malicious ways being shown to us in all its devilish form. This just sets up the film nicely as you want to see Lord Naritsugu meet his maker but your gonna have to go through hell along with the characters to find out if you get that pay off.
Its a great film, people have mentioned Seven Samurai in the same breathe and although it might not be on the same level as this masterpiece theres alot going for this and the similarities are there for all to see. This being a remake of the original I can't comment having not seen it, but I shall definatly be viewing it at my earliest opportuity.
You really do have to see this film its got everything a good film should and Takashi Miike holds back on his usual gore and keeps it to a minimum using as necessary to pepper and punctuate scenes.
The story, though a simple one, is wonderful and you do really care about the characters as they face off against 200 men. The action kicks in 45 minutes from the end and it is 45 minutes of slicing and dicing and it never gets tiresome as it fleets between the 13 assassins as their plan starts to take shape.
This is a wonderful piece of film making and for anyone that loves a great movie or likes to see the screen splattered with red then your in for a treat and as the character Shinzaemon Shimada said I shall accomplish your task... with magnificence and Takashi Miike you have done just that.