13 Assassins new movie from Takashi Miike

Discussion in 'Asian Horror and Other Pleasures' started by satans-sadists, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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    From Yahoo movies:

    "13 Assassins" is easily one of the best movies to come out of Japan in a while and the best action flick to come out so far this year.

    Unlike the anodyne action sequences of such recent sword fighting fare as "Sucker Punch," this movie wasn’t created in a computer; the violence in this film feels real and raw. Unlike the spastic battle scenes in "Battle: Los Angeles," this film doesn't feel like the cameraman was being chased by a bear. Instead "13 Assassins" has the sweep and grandeur of an old-school Akira Kurosawa samurai movie -- only with more blood. A lot more blood.

    "We set out to make a movie the way they were made in the past," director Takashi Miike told me recently via Skype. "It was a challenge to ourselves to see if we could do it."

    Miike is something of a legend among cult film aficionados. The insanely prolific director--he released eight, count 'em eight, feature films in 2002--has made movies of just about every genre under the sun, from thriller, to horror, to family comedy, to musical. And in the case of his 2002 movie "Happiness of the Katakuris," he managed to roll all of the above genres into one delirious work.

    Yet Miike's reputation abroad rests primarily on two supremely disturbing movies. "Audition" and "Ichi the Killer," in different ways, are unhinged, surreal, and spectacularly violent. For the Toronto Film Festival premiere of "Ichi," publicists handed out barf bags. And, as someone who was in the audience, they were used.

    For the first half of "13 Assassins," with is a remake of Eiichi Kudo's 1963 classic, Miike's direction is remarkably quiet and restrained. Then a brutalized, limbless peasant girl gets thrust in front of the camera about 20 minutes in; you know you’re in Miike-land. The unfortunate woman was presented to the movie’s hero, Shimada (played by Koji Yakusho of "Memoirs of a Geisha" fame), as the handiwork of a certain sociopathic lord who looks poised to take a senior role in the shogunate. Vowing to stop him at all costs, Shimada assembles a dozen top-drawer samurai to face off against this upper-class twit along with his army of 200 men.

    Magnolia Pictures The second half of the movie is one, long brilliantly sustained battle, replete with clashing katana, spurting blood, and manly declarations from the doomed. If you're the sort of person who complained that "Kill Bill" didn't have enough swordplay, this movie is for you.

    Many of Miike's movies were direct-to-video flicks shot on the cheap. This movie was made for about $20 million. In spite of the blockbuster budget, there were still plenty of challenges with making a traditional samurai movie.

    "You can count the number of stunt horses in Japan on your hand," he lamented. "The challenge was getting horses and getting people who could wrangle them, and then of course, training the actors to ride them."

    During the 1950s and '60s, the heyday of the samurai movie, studios had stables of actors trained in the skills of a warrior. Not so now. "Our actors had very little training in how to use a sword. In fact, over half of our cast was learning how to use the sword and how to fight for the first time in their careers as actors."

    In spite of that, Miike found the experience of making the movie rewarding. "There were a lot of challenges, but, for us, it was quite fun to make."

    Miike clearly did enjoy making the movie as his next film -- "Ichimei" (Harakiri: Death of Samurai) -- is premiering next month in Cannes. And it's in 3D.

    In the meantime, "13 Assassins" hits the theaters on April 29, or you can watch it right now from the comfort of your own couch through Video on Demand.
     
  2. MaxRenn

    MaxRenn Member

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    I'm surprised to see no comments on this especially since it is now streaming on Netflix and seems to have garnered excellent reviews.

    Fantastic "mainstream" effort by Miike shows his filmmaking ability and flexibility. Obviously modelled on "Seven Samurai", the film builds slowly, laying out the reasons for the mission, the recruitment of ths assassins and the planning of the mission before launching into an awesome 40 minute battle scene.
     
  3. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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    Thanks for commenting, Max. :) I caught this in a theater back in May. Great movie, very different from anything else I've seen by Miike. The final battle was truly epic. I would definitely watch this again.
     
  4. spawningblue

    spawningblue Deadite

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    I have been waiting for it to be released here in Canada for a while now! The Blu was set here the same day as the US release, but when I went to store to grab it no one knew anything about it. Went home to order it from Amazon.ca and they changed the date until Sept. here in Canada! BS. It looks amazing, can't wait!
     
  5. russweiss

    russweiss Well-Known Member

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    I watched this streaming on VUDU and thought it was a well done film.
     
  6. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister The Schlock King

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    I'm not the world's biggest Miike fan. I like him just fine but his films have never blown me away.

    Until now.

    Absolutely fantastic. The build up never bored me and the final 45 minutes of NON STOP action is completely nuts and entertaining as hell.

    Highly Recommended.
     
  7. Ptflea2

    Ptflea2 Well-Known Member

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    This film has been sitting in my queue for a couple weeks now. Sounds like I need to finally sit down and watch it!
     
  8. othervoice1

    othervoice1 Well-Known Member

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    I own this on blu-ray - blind buy - and I loved it. Id give it a very solid 4 out of 5 score.
     
  9. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    I caught it in the theater last May.The first 20 minutes boasted some rather disturbing scenes,not so much violent as unsettling,edgy.Once the film gets going though it becomes a very good,high energy (and high body count ! ) period action film with strong production values and fine performances.A remarkably hateful bad guy too,you'll really detest him ! Good work,well done !
     
  10. Darga

    Darga Narcissistic Personality

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    This was totally off my radar. I used to be a huge Miike fan but kind of lost track of his work in recent years. Just put this at the top of my Netflix queue- it sounds great.
     

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