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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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This film is a modern masterpiece the last 20 minutes is some of the best action ever committed to filmPublished 13 days ago by dollamike
I don't want to say it's as good or better than Kurosawa's work, so I won't. *wink wink*Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This is what a movie should strive to be. Any movie that wants to show martial combat that doesn't do it as well as this is going to be a letdown after this.Published 1 month ago by Christopher A. Morgan