13 Assassins

Film

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue May 3 2011

Likely to tan the high-concept hides of every Hollywood action flick this year, this majestically violent film from ultra-prolific Japanese maestro Takashi Miike is probably the closest modern cinema has come to Akira Kurosawa’s mud-and-blood-caked Samurai showdowns.

The first hour is a pure, slowburn tease. One plot strain demonstrates the outlandish barbarism of a feudal lord, while another has a select unit of fighters hatching a grand plan to take him down. The film is built as a long crescendo, opening at a level of considered, Zen-like reflection and ending with a prolonged cacophony of elaborate, town-wide annihilation.

There are occasional dashes of CGI for elements that couldn’t be staged for the camera (cue rampaging herds of burning bulls), but Miike’s film is all the more triumphant for offering elaborate, tangible sets, elegant period attire, hardboiled dialogue and rolling oceans of glorious, rosy red blood. Pure joy.
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Release details

UK release:

2010

Duration:

126 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Takashi Miike

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

2.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:5
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|32
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Andrew

It seems the film has the merit of pleasing some, though I for one definitely did not get its brilliance. The bad guy is simply a maniac, and aside from his lieutenant no one in his army has a character, they are just interchangeable figures who fall silently when mortally wounded (goodies die more slowly, but always bravely). The comic inserts were poor slapstick that didn't fit in. It's like we've made no progress since the westerns of the 1950s. Perhaps TO should have a committee to OK five star ratings, so you don't collectively make fools of yourselves.

Andrew

It seems the film has the merit of pleasing some, though I for one definitely did not get its brilliance. The bad guy is simply a maniac, and aside from his lieutenant no one in his army has a character, they are just interchangeable figures who fall silently when mortally wounded (goodies die more slowly, but always bravely). The comic inserts were poor slapstick that didn't fit in. It's like we've made no progress since the westerns of the 1950s. Perhaps TO should have a committee to OK five star ratings, so you don't collectively make fools of yourselves.

Phil Ince

>>this list of comments by what seems to be mostly a bunch of illiterate commentators, whose main prejudice seems to be that the film is 'Japanese'

Phil Ince

>>this list of comments by what seems to be mostly a bunch of illiterate commentators, whose main prejudice seems to be that the film is 'Japanese'

Phil ince

No offence, by the way. (Surely the pointless bastard won't swallow THAT, will he?).

Phil ince

No offence, by the way. (Surely the pointless bastard won't swallow THAT, will he?).

Phil Ince

Gitface (whatever your name is) you're talking shite. If you can't tell the difference between this bollocks and good Kurosawa you're either dead or mad, have no discrimination or think you've seen Kurosawa when you were really watching Monkey. This is a clumsy, b-movie fantasy and your posts are cock.

Phil Ince

Gitface (whatever your name is) you're talking shite. If you can't tell the difference between this bollocks and good Kurosawa you're either dead or mad, have no discrimination or think you've seen Kurosawa when you were really watching Monkey. This is a clumsy, b-movie fantasy and your posts are cock.

Tom

I don't think that saying I have seen Seven Samurai is 'spouting off my cinema cv'. It is simply stating that I have seen the classic film from which this one clearly draws a lot of inspiration and many people have commented on the parallels. And if you think the ending of Seven Samurai had the superhuman exploits seen in 13 Assassins, you are mistaken. I do agree that this film was a nod in the direction of Seven Samurai, but just think it was a very disappointing nod and could have been a lot better.

Tom

I don't think that saying I have seen Seven Samurai is 'spouting off my cinema cv'. It is simply stating that I have seen the classic film from which this one clearly draws a lot of inspiration and many people have commented on the parallels. And if you think the ending of Seven Samurai had the superhuman exploits seen in 13 Assassins, you are mistaken. I do agree that this film was a nod in the direction of Seven Samurai, but just think it was a very disappointing nod and could have been a lot better.

ghidera

"The climatic battle scene I felt decended into a farce of individual superhuman samurais single handedly defeating hoards of enemies before eventually being killed in melodramatic ways". Is that not how most samurai battle scenes end? I did not refer to your review when I mentioned the negativism prevalent on this page. There are people out there who like this film and some of those people have seen the 7 Samurai too! (as well as countless other movies of the same genre) So there's no need to spout off your film cv in order to substantiate your point, is there? In essence, I understand how you feel, but I believe this film is merely a nod in the direction of The Seven Samurai and should be taken as such.

ghidera

"The climatic battle scene I felt decended into a farce of individual superhuman samurais single handedly defeating hoards of enemies before eventually being killed in melodramatic ways". Is that not how most samurai battle scenes end? I did not refer to your review when I mentioned the negativism prevalent on this page. There are people out there who like this film and some of those people have seen the 7 Samurai too! (as well as countless other movies of the same genre) So there's no need to spout off your film cv in order to substantiate your point, is there? In essence, I understand how you feel, but I believe this film is merely a nod in the direction of The Seven Samurai and should be taken as such.

Ghiders

I would sincerely suggest that those of you who read this list of comments by what seems to be mostly a bunch of illiterate commentators, who's main prejudice seems to be that the film is 'Japanese' and with 'subtitles.' Takeshi Mike's latest effort confirms his status of one of the world's premier film makers and it is certainly a relief to still receive Japanese films of note despite the subtitle-xenophobia displayed on this page. I believe most of these reviews on this page come from those who think that 'Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' is a masterpiece! Well, it's in Inglish, innit! Not for the feint-hearted though.

Ghiders

I would sincerely suggest that those of you who read this list of comments by what seems to be mostly a bunch of illiterate commentators, who's main prejudice seems to be that the film is 'Japanese' and with 'subtitles.' Takeshi Mike's latest effort confirms his status of one of the world's premier film makers and it is certainly a relief to still receive Japanese films of note despite the subtitle-xenophobia displayed on this page. I believe most of these reviews on this page come from those who think that 'Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' is a masterpiece! Well, it's in Inglish, innit! Not for the feint-hearted though.

Yemi

I think this film is for people who can already watch films with subtitles and keep pace. I've watched many excellent films by Akira Kurosawa and others so watching a film like this wasn't a struggle for me. Many friends refused to watch this film with me the minute I mentioned subtitles, so I watched it by myself. If you don't watch samurai films, don't watch asian cinema films or foreign language films for fun, you won't get your fix from this. I enjoyed it from start to finish. You will only enjoy this film if you are willing to accept that you can't have everything in English. It's set in Japan during an era you wouldn't want to live in. The villains are a nightmare to ordinary subjects of the Shogunate. The plot is hard to swallow because the mission is insane. "Seven Samurai" had it easy compared to the enemies in this film.

Yemi

I think this film is for people who can already watch films with subtitles and keep pace. I've watched many excellent films by Akira Kurosawa and others so watching a film like this wasn't a struggle for me. Many friends refused to watch this film with me the minute I mentioned subtitles, so I watched it by myself. If you don't watch samurai films, don't watch asian cinema films or foreign language films for fun, you won't get your fix from this. I enjoyed it from start to finish. You will only enjoy this film if you are willing to accept that you can't have everything in English. It's set in Japan during an era you wouldn't want to live in. The villains are a nightmare to ordinary subjects of the Shogunate. The plot is hard to swallow because the mission is insane. "Seven Samurai" had it easy compared to the enemies in this film.

Mike

Definitely over-rated. I should have known better - anything carrying 5 stars from David Jenkins ranks as approximately 2 stars for anyone else. Wouldn't see it again. Not going to get it on DVD. Not recommending it.

Mike

Definitely over-rated. I should have known better - anything carrying 5 stars from David Jenkins ranks as approximately 2 stars for anyone else. Wouldn't see it again. Not going to get it on DVD. Not recommending it.

Ed

Yet again I don't learn - always be wary of a 5* Time Out review (or even a 6*, like the bafflingly dull Wendy & Lucy). I see a good few subtitled films, but this one with its just-too-fast text got me annoyed from the first minute. Made me want to watch Zatoichi again instead. Not my bag, not my style.

Ed

Yet again I don't learn - always be wary of a 5* Time Out review (or even a 6*, like the bafflingly dull Wendy & Lucy). I see a good few subtitled films, but this one with its just-too-fast text got me annoyed from the first minute. Made me want to watch Zatoichi again instead. Not my bag, not my style.

Tom

This could have been a great film, but ended up as a poor shadow of 'Seven Samurai', lacking its subtlety and characterisation.The slow build up failed to develop most of the characters. With a couple of exceptions, it really just presented a group of faceless warriors. The climatic battle scene I felt decended into a farce of individual superhuman samurais single handedly defeating hoards of enemies before eventually being killed in melodramatic ways. Giving it two stars, but only because I really like the genre.

Tom

This could have been a great film, but ended up as a poor shadow of 'Seven Samurai', lacking its subtlety and characterisation.The slow build up failed to develop most of the characters. With a couple of exceptions, it really just presented a group of faceless warriors. The climatic battle scene I felt decended into a farce of individual superhuman samurais single handedly defeating hoards of enemies before eventually being killed in melodramatic ways. Giving it two stars, but only because I really like the genre.

Phil Ince

I don't want to punish the film but I can't think of any reason to give it more than one star. Special mention goes to the subtitles which make the thing almost unwatchable - a middle-aged Samurai Lord is given as saying, "So, listen up ..." and "We've got a level playing field." It's excrutiating. If the Japanese script is as feeble as the American English then 13 Samurai is even worse than I thought. The first hour is torpid and the denouement is a jumbled row, long and frantic. It's generally not possible to see which of the 13 Samurai is fighting in these scenes. They're just prolonged shots of single samurai thrashing about, apparantly seeing off hordes of their enemy but the manner is unconvincing. This goes on for almost half an hour. I appreciate it's a convention of action films but it lacks any kind of flair or clarity. The CGI bulls are extraordinarily crudely-moved through the picture when they first appear. The actual resolution is extraordinarily feeble with the 2 main protagonists simply standing, facing and then stabbing each other with their swords. The film has the effrontery to make each look surprised by the action of the other. Absurd. The characterisation is vague and weak and the comedy sometimes so broad that it undermines their general dignity. Last but not least, the villain's chief Samurai is impossible to take seriously because he looks too much like Ronnie Corbett with a mood on. I appreciate this is a cultural obstacle the director couldn't have been expected to foresee but it's a final nail in this crap film's coffin. You migbht like it but then pigs like shit.

Phil Ince

I don't want to punish the film but I can't think of any reason to give it more than one star. Special mention goes to the subtitles which make the thing almost unwatchable - a middle-aged Samurai Lord is given as saying, "So, listen up ..." and "We've got a level playing field." It's excrutiating. If the Japanese script is as feeble as the American English then 13 Samurai is even worse than I thought. The first hour is torpid and the denouement is a jumbled row, long and frantic. It's generally not possible to see which of the 13 Samurai is fighting in these scenes. They're just prolonged shots of single samurai thrashing about, apparantly seeing off hordes of their enemy but the manner is unconvincing. This goes on for almost half an hour. I appreciate it's a convention of action films but it lacks any kind of flair or clarity. The CGI bulls are extraordinarily crudely-moved through the picture when they first appear. The actual resolution is extraordinarily feeble with the 2 main protagonists simply standing, facing and then stabbing each other with their swords. The film has the effrontery to make each look surprised by the action of the other. Absurd. The characterisation is vague and weak and the comedy sometimes so broad that it undermines their general dignity. Last but not least, the villain's chief Samurai is impossible to take seriously because he looks too much like Ronnie Corbett with a mood on. I appreciate this is a cultural obstacle the director couldn't have been expected to foresee but it's a final nail in this crap film's coffin. You migbht like it but then pigs like shit.

Mabel

I thought this movie was incredible! A 45 minute bloodcurdling sequence at the end had me utterly gripped -- I though all the samurai were great particularly the 'mountain man' who jumped down out of a tree. They all had such wonderful faces filled with character. I do agree with reviewrs that this is Miike's best film yet.

Mabel

I thought this movie was incredible! A 45 minute bloodcurdling sequence at the end had me utterly gripped -- I though all the samurai were great particularly the 'mountain man' who jumped down out of a tree. They all had such wonderful faces filled with character. I do agree with reviewrs that this is Miike's best film yet.

Bafflo

I don't know I tried watching this movie but couldn't bare it. It's like watching new Tarantino movies. It tries, I guess, to be an original movie but as it goes along it's more and more a mirror of a movie "Seven Samurai". And also actors are not much believable which brings this Tarantino tone I was talking about: it looks more like actors are playing samurai then of acting samurai.

Bafflo

I don't know I tried watching this movie but couldn't bare it. It's like watching new Tarantino movies. It tries, I guess, to be an original movie but as it goes along it's more and more a mirror of a movie "Seven Samurai". And also actors are not much believable which brings this Tarantino tone I was talking about: it looks more like actors are playing samurai then of acting samurai.