Let me first say, that if you have a severe amount of A.D.D and have a hard time with subtitles, just skip this flick(or just skip to the last 45 minutes in what will entirely justify your time spent). This is a movie by Takashi Miike, if you are unfamiliar with this brilliant man’s resume, do us all a favor and commit “seppuku” on yourself(public disembowelment, you’ll get the joke after you see this). Seriously though, you need to see this guys efforts behind a camera, as he is truly a visionary and quite brilliant.
This film takes place during the mid 1800′s where the time of the Samurai is coming to an end. Its a rough and rather poetic transformation from what society has generally respected to what society now holds contempt for. The bad guy, and epitome of all things evil, is Lord Matsudaira “Naritsugu” who is the son of the former Shogun(a highly respected military figure directly appointed by the emperor), and younger brother to the current shogun. The reason that’s so important is because he essentially has total disregard for all things right or wrong, as you will see him rape and kill a noble family all in the first 15 minutes of the movie. Lets just say, he personifies evil in a rather creepy way, and couldn’t be more deserving of somebody in need of a painful death.
After the destruction of the family, is where we see things take a rather mystical and unified turn, as the father of that slain family(Sir Doi, cute I know) seeks out a seasoned warrior and samurai Shinazaemon. A man that comes as revered as one could imagine, as the “last” of the true samurai warriors. His request is that Shinazaemon gather 11 of his most well trained and respected samurai allies in hopes of ambushing that D-BAG Naritsugu(if your already confused with the 3 names I’ve used thus far, your a hopeless individual and borderline racist). The main struggle in this film is the gathering of samurais and the travel to the ideal ambush point. It’s a brilliant mix of characters and renowned Japanese actors, in what many of them considered their favorite role they’ve ever had the pleasure of being in. The climax is what really something that leaves you speechless and in total appreciation for the journey that is ‘13 Assassins‘. Without spoiling too much of the fun, i’ll say that its final 45 minutes of pure action bliss blows every “Samurai” movie before it out of the water(fuck Tom Cruise).
My last word of advice regarding this, is too avoid going into it thinking that Tom Cruise and some English dialogue are going to be coming your way at some point. This movie is very traditional in terms of story and plot, but very eccentric in regards to the directing and cinematography(as are all Takashi Miike films). And if you do happen to enjoy this film(doubtfully as much as I did/do), check out some of his other movies, which luckily for you, can also be found on Netflix.
- 13 Assassins (mrmovietimes.com)
- Once Upon A Time In Japan (rantbit.wordpress.com)
- Sukiyaki Western DJANGO (2007): Takashi Mike & Tarantino Ride… (mikesfilmtalk.com)