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13 Assassins

984 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Cult director Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer, Audition) delivers a bravado period action film set at the end of Japan's feudal era. 13 Assassins - a masterful exercise in cinematic butchery (New York Post) is centered around a group of elite samurai who are secretly enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord in order to prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a war torn future.

It stands to reason that there must be something pretty dastardly about the target of the assassination plot that makes up Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins; after all, an enormous amount of energy and planning goes into this effort. And hoo boy, have we got a dastardly villain for you: Japanese feudal lord Naritsugu (Goro Inagaki), the demented half-brother of the emperor. His taste for perversity results in a few early scenes that will test the gag reflex of unprepared viewers (and let fans of Miike know that the director of Audition still has his gonzo streak, even if the rest of the movie is conventional by his standards). Court councilors agree that somebody needs to take Naritsugu out, lest this madman actually ascend to power; thus a veteran samurai (Koji Yakusho, the charismatic star of Shall We Dance and Cure) is charged with assembling a team that can eliminate him. The movie spends some time on the (always sure-fire) method of picking the expert samurai who will join the mission, and then plunges headlong into an epic battle sequence. 13 Assassins delivers on the spectacle, as Naritsugu has 200 soldiers at his side, so the destruction of an entire small town is called for in the final throwdown. Miike is an adept field marshal, and the movie has plenty of crazy-go-nuts moments (as well as a couple of borderline-mystical puzzlers), but he also takes the time to explore the delicacies of the samurai code: in particular, Naritsugu's chief of security (Masachika Ichimura) is as disgusted with his boss as anybody else, but must live according to the oath he swore when he took the job--an exquisite sort of self-debasement. In short, action connoisseurs will find little to fault in this big-scale samurai epic. --Robert Horton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Koji Yakusho
  • Directors: Takashi Miike
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 5, 2011
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (984 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004XQO8MS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,897 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "13 Assassins" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

310 of 331 people found the following review helpful By Coolsaya on March 29, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Being native Japanese, I can be a little nit-picky about movies that are era-centric especially when it comes to feudal Japan. This movie did not insult my intelligence, was true to form with depicting the nature of Japan pre-Meiji era and gave me goosebumps with its intensity. This movie is both entertaining, intelligent and brings to life a culture (Samurai) that few today may be aware of. This is a true Samurai movie in form and delivery without being over the top. Thank you Amazon for making it available online. This is a definite must add to my movie collection.
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106 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Craig Clark on May 2, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
I caught this on HDnet movies last week and was thoroughly impressed with everything about it. Great action sequences, great acting and dialogue (although I don't know Japanese - going by the subtitles), and the cinematography is amazing. Japan is a beautiful country and you certainly see this in wondrous HD.

The build up to the final battle scene is a little slow and the gruesome scenes which setup the evil nature of the protaganist's target might be a little bit overly done (the target practice on the remaining Mamiya family in particular). I would have actually liked to see more character development with the original samurai and the couple of ronin but then the movie would have been over 3 hours long.

Visually a few CG elements look less than stellar (flaming cattle and horses falling from an exploding bridge), I am guessing this is probably more to do with the CG production than anything else.

Despite a few qualms I wouldn't take a star off because the final, extremely long battle scene is just incredibly awesome. I haven't seen the original B&W version from 1963 but I might have to try to find it, if its half as good.

Even now with the movie sitting on my DVR I am looking forward to picking up Takashi Miike's masterpiece on bluray as soon as it comes out.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By MadMacs on May 31, 2011
Format: DVD
The strength of the story alone will carry along most viewers. But to fully appreciate the tale that 'Assassins' is crafting, you have to understand the Samurai - their machinations for power, political infrastructure and shared heritage.

In this period, prior to the West's forced entry into Japan via Commodore Perry, the samurai culture had just past its zenith. Peace had ruled the land for so long that the warrior class were mostly that in name alone - few had tasted real combat. Fewer still wanted it. Luxury and prestige were often chosen above stark training and an ascetic life. And the ultimate glory, to die in battle, was considered poetic by many who carried the 'daisho' (two swords), not a literal truth as in the past.

Additionally, absolute loyalty without question was honored above all else. The entire structure of governance was based on this concept, and without it, chaos would ensue.

So when an unspeakably horrific monster, born into the family of the Shogunate (the warrior ruling class), was about to be promoted as the Shogun's primary advisor - it was inconceivable that the retainers would do anything to rid themselves of this human cancer; not without bringing terrible shame and dishonor to themselves and their families. And, by default, destabilizing the very structure of their existence and potentially plunging the country back into civil war.

The question is, and the crux of this film, what do you do?

Borrowing heavily from the true story of 'The Forty-Seven Ronin' - very special men, old school samurai if you will, would take on the task of killing this living demon in human form.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 15, 2011
Format: DVD
This gets off to an acceptable start. A sadistic warlord stands way too close to the throne - bad enough what he does to the commoners around him, it would be vastly worse if the whole nation were his plaything. A band of 12 assassins is enlisted, and they're off. We establish personal loyalties and conflicts early on, compressed into traditional forms by the rigid code of bushido. Although well executed, this seemed ordinary up to about the half-way point, when an improbable thirteenth joins the band.

The group picks a small town for their ambush. They buy out the village and turn it into their trap. The villagers bait the trap with themselves, lure the warlord and his retainers in, then escape to safety as the trap springs. The rest of the movie, a solid 45 minutes, presents one of the most incredible fight scenes in cinematic history. I mean, the fighting is believable - no flying swordsmen or outlandish weaponry - but I've never seen a movie sustain an adrenaline rush for so long. And, despite the fast-moving action, it never turns repetitive. The 13th, although the comedic element, brings his own contribution to the mayhem as well.

The ending comes in suitably heroic (and Japanese) style, with a brief reminder of just why the world would be better off without that warlord. Then, in a final moment, we suddenly wonder just who or what that 13th might be.

A world with Kurosawa in it has very high standards to meet. Maybe "13 Assassins" doesn't meet the very highest, but its a good one anyway, and worth coming back to.

-- wiredweird
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Topic From this Discussion
Yet ANOTHER dodgy cover, hiding "Asian" eyes? Ridiculous!
To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Aug 3, 2011 by Obvious |  See all 2 posts
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