Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Film Club Review: 13 Assassins

13 Assassins is a story about 13 samurai who are hired to kill a sadistic lord before he rises higher in the shogun’s counsel. Its similar to Seven Samurai in plot structure (and time period) except that they are on the offense instead of the defense. The first part of this movie is about establishing how evil the lord is and in hiring the samurai. This doesn’t work as well since they go into a lot of graphic detail about just how sadistic the lord is. I don’t know if they needed to go as far as they did, but that’s my own tastes I suppose.

As for the hiring of the samurai, well, there are 13 of them. Luckily they don’t show the recruiting of all of them, but there are a lot of characters in this film and none of them particularly stand out other than the head samurai.

This movie has some great camera work and the props, sets and costumes feel very authentic for the era. However the story was pretty meandering in the middle and I was honestly ready to write this movie off… until the action began.

The last battle between the 13 samurai and an absurdly larger army (they’re pretty much at the same odds as Kill Bill’s crazy 88 battle) lasts for the last 45 minutes of this film. And it is very well filmed. There’s some really good action and some neat gore (from a technical standpoint). There’s also some neat ideas like setting a stampede of flaming bulls on the enemy. So in the end, the action film finally came out and won me over.

2 Responses to “Film Club Review: 13 Assassins”

  1. I had listened to Mark Kermode (BBC podcast) talking about it and I expected a lot more from this movie. The story was basically done in 15-25mins.

    A couple of characters annoyed me, such as the mountain guy (the non-samurai).

    I thought it was an ok movie to watch but nothing more than that. Reminded me a lot of those old westerns where it’s a dozen gunmen against an army of mexicans or gangs.

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