AccessReel Reviews – Thirteen Assassins

AccessReel Reviews – Thirteen Assassins

A group of assassins are hired for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

13 ASSASSINS is set in 1844 Japan in the final years of the feudal Shogunate. The events of the story are precipitated by the ritual suicide of a nobleman (Masaaki Uchino) after his daughter is raped and murdered by the brother of the Shogun, a Lord Naritsugu Matsudaira (Goro Inagaki). This leads the powerful Sir Doi on a plan to assassinate the Lord Naritsugu.

The setting up of this conflict is presented in classical style. After the initial horrific bloodletting. The tension builds slowly as the evil Naritsugu discovers that Sir Doi (Mikijiro Hira) means to oppose him. Sir Doi outsources the job by hiring samurai Shinzaemon Shimada (Koji Yakusho) to hire and train the thirteen assassins of the title. Lord Naritsugu’s ego and position as the Shogun’s brother prevent him from seeing Shinzaemon ands his small band of killers as a threat.

The film’s final showdown has Shinzaemon’s 13 facing Naritsugu’s 200 strong army in a small town. We are in similar movie territory to the 300 where the strategy, planning and skill of the good few has to be a match for the superior numbers of the evil many. The final battle is a skilful combination of explosive special effects and swordplay.

Fans of samurai movies will be well pleased with what is on offer. 13 ASSASSINS is a handsomely mounted, beautifully shot, edited and acted piece of cinema. Director Takashi Miike has remade the1963 movie of the same title and done a sterling job. He is in control of all the elements of this production. The audience can immerse itself completely in this bloody, violent, historical epic.

13 ASSASSINS is in Australian cinemas now. It runs for 125 minutes. I rated it 3.5/5