Friday, July 8, 2011
365 Movies Day #101 "13 Assassins"
Let's kick off the next 100 films!!!
I heard a lot about John Woo's "Red Cliff" and while I respect it as w beautiful film reminiscent of a Chinese Trojan War tale, Takashi Miike's samurai tale "13 Assassins" is way more my speed. This film could practically be a sequel to Kurosawa's masterpiece "Seven Samurai" as the plot and character line-up bear many great similarities. Miike has been featured on this blog before with "Audition", but this film is an entirely different animal. Frankly, I'm surprised that he had it in him. To go from a film like "Ichi: The Killer" to doing this is a surreal leap in the right direction. It's not the last time you'll hear about Miike on this blog either.
Basically the story is about a group of 12 samurai and a ruffian tracker who join together to take down a maniacal lord in the form of Naritsugu. Now, Naritsugu is like an incredibly toned down Kakihara from "Ichi" and is the closest link to Miike's previous films. Miike establishes him as a sadistic villain quickly with his senseless slaughter of innocents in a way that makes you want him dead in a big way. The samurai turn a small town into a deathtrap for Naritsugu and his entourage on his was to see the Shogun (his half-brother) and the film culminates into an epic samurai battle that almost makes you wish Kurosawa made "Seven Samurai" today! Some of the coolest sword combat I've seen.
Lots of badass dialogue in this one and some familiar faces to film goers...maybe. The leader of the 13 Assassins is played by Koji Yakusho. You might recognize him as Yasujiro Wataya from "Babel" or Nobu from "Memoirs of a Geisha". While I personally found the film tough to stomach in the story department but beautifully shot (though the blurred look grinds on you), the lead from "Casshern" makes an appearance as Koyata. He also had a small role in a wonderful film called "Blindness" we'll be talking about later.
If you like badass samurai movies and want to see what "Seven Samurai" might look like if it were made today, then DEFINITELY check out Takashi Miike's "13 Assassins".
13 ASSASSINS ON IMDB