4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exhilarating!
This is a beautifully crafted battle movie in the times of the Samurais. Think Tarantino, Peckinpah, Kurosawa but revised and updated. Whirlwind action, great battle scenes, a credible (bad-bad) villain, intelligent dialogues (a debate on the duty of a samurai: to stay loyal to and defend his lord however bad he behaves or to defend his oppressed subjects?), including...
Published 10 months ago by M. R. Sathiah
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film of two halfs
Many violent films are let down by poor character development but make up for it with fantastic action scenes. 13 Assassins was the other way round. The first hour did a fantastic job of building up the tension. It's very atmospheric and well acted. The bit with the decapitated girl really sent a chill down my spine. You really got a sense of how evil this man was. It...
Published 10 months ago by My Honest
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exhilarating!,
This is a beautifully crafted battle movie in the times of the Samurais. Think Tarantino, Peckinpah, Kurosawa but revised and updated. Whirlwind action, great battle scenes, a credible (bad-bad) villain, intelligent dialogues (a debate on the duty of a samurai: to stay loyal to and defend his lord however bad he behaves or to defend his oppressed subjects?), including comic relief punctuating the action in the person of a irreverent dilettante drifter who joins the 12 rebels and proves to be a gem.
Very entertaining and beautifully shot.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A future classic,
Though most media reviews seem to focus on the 45 minute battle sequence, this does 13 Assassins a disservice. The opening 1hr 15mins are what makes this film - they build up the tension, set-up the characters and emotionally connect you to their plight in a way that too many samurai films (chanbara) fail to do. The fact Miike achieves this with 15 major characters (the 13 assassins, Lord Naritsugu and Hanbei Kitou) most of whom you actually learn little or nothing about is testimony to his skill. The atrocities committed by Naritsugu are captured on screen perfectly - we rarely see the acts themselves, but the consequences are unveiled (quite literally in one case) before our eyes in a brutual realism that allows us to understand why the ultimate mission must succeed.
Without being a hypocrite - the final battle is stunning. Its length could all too easily undermine it, however Miike has created a sequence in which the action is relentless yet intelligent. You always understand where each character is and at which stage of the plan they are - yet very little is actually said. The part with the building made the whole cinema gasp.
Rarely have I finished a film and been so desperate to watch it again immediately.
I only hope its limited UK release does not stop too many people getting to experience what I hope will become a future classic for cinephiles.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film,
This review is from: 13 Assassins [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
One of my favourite Samurai films, great action, stunning sets and very well directed. A great addition to any collection
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly great,
I've never seen a "samurai" film except for the Last Samurai with Tom cruise so I wasn't sure if it was my type of film but I decided to buy it due to recommendations and the bargain price. I must say that it was amazing with pretty spectacular acting even down to the child that was tied up. The cinematography was really well done and you can imagine that this was set in the 1800s easily. I would recommend it on blu-ray for the landscapes. The main actors are well written, and funny at times which you can't see from the trailer and because they are such good actors you start to care about the 13 and view them as real people and not invincible soldiers.
There is a lot of violence as you can imagine with some harrowing scenes but they don't really seem exploitative like Tarantino's films and are more to show the brutality of the time and are realistic. The last hour is amazing and just flies by.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review,
Excellent film. Was recommend to me as a good film to watch. Totally agreed, it is a classic film. Loved it
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Last Of the Samurai,
This is a very Japanese film with many overtones of the Seven Samurai. Our heroes endure the first half of the film coming up with a scheme to kill the Shogun's half-brother, a sadist. The intricacies of Samurai honour explaining this time requirement. Then off for the final battle in the Japanese equivalent of a shoot-out as the 13 Assassins make mincemeat (or otherwise) of the sadist's guards. There is a higher body-count than in TAKEN and the suicides rival a scene or two of the DIE UNTERGANG. It is an exceedingly grim film, lightened only by the athleticism of the combat scenes.
4.0 out of 5 stars A little slow to begin with but worth it...,
This film is a good watch, its a little slow to begin with but by the end you'll be watching it intensely, the final half of the film is one of the best fight scenes I've seen in a long time.
The plot is your basic revenge story with the group fighting to kill an evil lord, each one has their own unique way of fighting against the larger forces of the lords bodyguards, upon entering a village they are subjected to a brutal ambush by the assassins using weapons and booby-traps which as I mentioned leads to some of the best fight scenes I've seen in a long time. Well worth the buy
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Some call it elegance. Some call it cruel. I like it," says Lord Matsudaira, kicking a head.,
It's the old, old story...a small group of men we come to know are willing to die for a noble cause, and die they do, fighting against the odds, sacrificing themselves for honor and justice. Just as we probably wouldn't do. They still make us tear up. Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins owes much to the story of the 47 ronin. The story still works, whether it's the 47 ronin, those seven samurai or Robert Taylor and his 13 buddies on Bataan.
Look upon 13 Assassins as a movie with four acts, set in Japan in the middle of the 19th century. The Tokugawa shogunate is decaying, falling apart because of outdated customs, calcified hereditary government, corruption and too many armed warriors with sharp swords and nothing much to do after nearly three centuries of peace. There's a weak, disengaged shogun; his ambitious, cruel and probably psychopathic younger half brother who pushes the envelope when it comes to other men's wives and his own servants, who soon will move into a position of power; a samurai of honor and bravery who is recruited to end the young man's career permanently; the 12 men he recruits to assist him; and how it all ends. No love stories, no sex.
Act one: We see what a monster Lord Matsudaira Naritsugu is. For an attractive-looking and privileged young man, even Jack the Ripper might find off-putting his ways of relaxing through rape and murder. He gives sadism a bad name.
Act two: We meet Shinzaemon Shimada (Koji Yakusho), an experienced, tired and trusted samurai. We follow how he is recruited by those high in the government, how he recruits 11 others (along the way a mountain peasant will join them), and how he sets his traps to attack the young psycho as Naritsugu and his warriors travel from Edo to Naritsugu's clan province.
Act three: A 50-minute battle that leaves just about everyone in sight slashed, burned or exploded to death.
Act four: A better world...maybe.
Yes, the story is a cliché. Miike, however, has delivered a movie of excellent craftsmanship. He immediately sets the point of the movie with a scene of queasy but not gory seppuku, and develops why this act leads to the assassination plot. For the most part, the 13 assassins are well-defined enough that the audience is drawn to them, and is saddened at their inevitable and noble deaths. Miike presents a vision of feudal Japan, its leadership, the county and its life that is realistic as well as beautifully photographed. The action may be brutal but the views are first-rate. He handles the long, climatic battle with mastery. This action is set in the village of Ochiai, a village of death Shinzaemon calls it, where he and his 12 fellows meet head on Matsudaira and his 200 retainers, considerably more than they expected. Shinzaemon and his men have laced the village with deathly, unexpected traps that surprise the opposing samurai as much as they surprise the audience. It's 50 minutes of rousing sword-slashing action, the few against the many, with each assassin having his moment of bravery while he cuts down or blows up dozens. Miike hurtles the action along and he is skilled enough not to lose the clarity of how the long battle proceeds.
Two quibbles, one serious. Whoever wrote the subtitles did a disservice to the movie by using American vernacular far too often. Informal phrases that we wouldn't notice in a contemporary American film are jarring when supposedly coming from the mouths of samurai in the 1840s. "Listen up" is only one of several examples.
At the end we're also faced with the question, is one of the 13 a ghost or simply a hardy survivor of a sword thrust through the neck and abdomen? Miike says it could be either, and either way a viewer might take it is fine with him. I feel it's either sloppy or pretentious directing, bringing in an unneeded question at the end of a very good movie.
For those who admire and have enjoyed this movie, I recommend they watch Chushingura (1962), a nearly 3-1/2 hour telling of the story of the 47 ronin.
The DVD of 13 Assassins includes an interview with Miike by a constantly smiling and deferential young woman who lobs easy questions. Miike at one point says, "This is not an action film, but a drama." He's right. For all the action, the movie has a pervasive feeling of something like sadness and inevitability. But later Miike says, "When a sword hits another sword, it's not about metal hitting against metal. It's someone's soul battling another soul." Shades of Mishima. The truth probably lies among Lord Matsudaira's last words. As he says, "It hurts."
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute cracker.,
Can't add much to the other reviews here. For anyone with an interest in the broad genre of martial arts, this is an absolute cracker of a film. Reviewers naturally tend to highlight the climatic battle at the end of the film, but actually for me the most visceral points of the film came near the start - however I will not spoil the impact for people who have not yet seen the film. Saw it twice on TV before I bought the DVD - it's that good.
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 ASSASSINS,
A GREAT FILM SO GOOD I BOUGHT A FURTHER TWO COPIES FOR RELATIVES.THIS FILM RANKS ALONG SIDE WITH THE SEVEN SAMURAI OF AKIRA KURASOWA
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13 Assassins [Blu-ray] by Takashi Miike (Blu-ray - 2011)