Tuesday, April 26, 2011

13 Assassins (2011-in the U.S., 2010 in Japan)

I first heard about this movie through Kim Morgan's Facebook page. Last week I had a conversation with a a friend, coworker, and fellow blogger about keeping on top of what is showing on On Demand because every once in a while you can catch a gem. This all happened in the span of a week or so, so I did just that and noticed that 13 Assassins was on my On Demand, but it was only going to be there until 4/28. Which means it would be perfect for watching on my birthday. Which is exactly what I did.

This is a samurai movie by Japanese director Takashi Miike, and from my experience, this has got to be one of his more subdued and less, well, crazy efforts. Who make no mistake, there are definitely some Miike touches, particularly in the early going. But what Miike offers up here is a mashup of well known elements from Samurai movies as well as the Western. It's set in the waning days of the Samurai in late 19th century Japan, and follows one group of Samurai as they try to get rid of the sadistic brother of a Shogun before he can take REAL political power. The problem? He is also guarded by a huge army of samurai. It's your average set up, and the first part of the movie is the slow burn as all these elements come together (getting the team together, the plan, etc.) Then it just explodes in this crazy battle which lasts for a good half hour to forty five minutes. Its really a sight to see, although at times it does get repetitive. All in all a really interesting effort by Miike.


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