Director Takeshi Miike’s take on the samurai movie is the best contribution to the genre since Kurosawa. Brilliantly staged and photographed, this is one of the best recent action films in any language or setting.
It’s a familiar set-up: an honorable samurai must assemble and lead a team of thirteen to kill a psychotically sadistic noble. But first they must hack their way through the bad guy’s 200 bodyguards. What sets 13 Assassins apart is the inventively booby-trapped town and the frenzied pace of the climactic battle. It even has exploding boars!
Kôji Yakusho, a veteran with 72 acting credits, gives an impressive performance as the lead assassin. You may remember him from Shall We Dance? or Babel.