13 Assassins (2010)


I always love the philosophy that goes along with the samurai lifestyle. I like the idea of master/teacher and his servant/pupil, and the pupil devoting his life to protecting his master. I also like the idea of a noble suicide, and the idea that one should die an honorable death in battle. Legendary director Takashi Miike keeps true to all of those in his remake of "13 Assassins."

The story is similar to many movies in the Japanese samurai genre: a group of samurai join together to take down an evil ruler. In this case, Lord Naritsugu Matsudaira is the cruel and sadistic tyrant, and Shinzaemon Shimada is the aging samurai who leads the group to defeat him.

One of the hard parts of critiquing any martial arts movie is finding a balance between story and action. Some movies may lack in the story department but still come out great because of incredible action sequences. "13 Assassins" puts forth some great action sequences, including an epic 45-minute finale. It also puts some good storylines out, but doesn't quite give much depth to any of the characters.

Takashi Miike directed very well. Samurai movies lend themselves to great imagery; the shot of a samurai standing tall, sword drawn, with smoke and flames around him will work every time. Miike is also not shy about spilling blood, and there is plenty of violence to go around.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. Nothing ground-breaking or life-changing, but definitely a fun time for fans of the samurai genre.



On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "13 Assassins" gets a 6 out of 10.

[Each week, Varacchi explores cinema from his own perspective. From indie to foreign to mainstream, he'll watch it all. Suggestions and recommendations are welcome, leave a comment below. CLICK HERE for the Celluloid Hero archives]