Friday, July 15, 2011

13 Assassins

"It is truly a burden being a Samurai..."  says Shinzaemon Shimada in his death throes.

This is hands down, the best movie of the year. While it has a 50 minute final battle sequence, and never a dull moment within that, it is at its heart a drama, not an action picture, so everything is building to the confrontation = Which is EPIC.

Rarely has a film made you loathe  the bad guy,  Lord Naritsugu Matsudaira, this much.
Commodus in GLADIATOR is a rank amateur in comparison. Every time you think he couldn't get any worse-he does, and yet its all still believable. Naritsugu as a privileged junior Shogun believes people only exist to serve him. I did not find his villainy cartoonish but rather all too frightening as entirely possible in the wrong/right circumstances.

Desperate to halt his forthcoming rise to power, and yet not dishonor the royal family, the Shogun's most senior advisor asks a trusted Samurai, to "Take care of Naritsugu".

This isn't a one man job, hence 13 Assassins.

As I said earlier this is a drama, because everything hinges upon a code of Honor and Duty to an extreme beyond the usual western mindset. My favorite other character beyond Shimada was Hirayama, Shimada's Ronin student, if anyone evokes that Toshiro Mifune characteristic in the film its him.

The other thing I liked was just the slight hint of the fantastic-like was that guy a ghost or not? You're not sure and the director intends for you to make up your own mind on what happened in a few spots.

Visceral and bloody, 13 Assassins is thus far, the best movie of 2011 in my book.

10 comments:

Paul R. McNamee said...

It sounds really great! Thanks for the review.

David J. West said...

Paul, this review and recomendation is for my sword friends.

Charles Gramlich said...

ooooh, this sounds really good. I definitely want to see it.

Matthew MacNish said...

This looks incredible. Just put it at the top of the queue. Too bad no instant.

Thanks, David!

David J. West said...

It should bring some inspiration Charles.

Matthew cool, let me know what you think.

Christopher Heath said...

Looks cool. Great review, I must see it, and soon.

David J. West said...

Christopher, I'm pretty sure we like the same movies-you oughta dig it.

Mikeyboy said...

it's now on my must see list with IRONCLAD

David J. West said...

I hope you like it Mikey.

Mikeyboy said...

Watched it last night...a bit overly long...the politics and the B.S. had me yawning a bit. But that evil bastard typified evil at it's basest.
The final battle seemed to go on forever and I had lost track of some of the men for a while there. Was that Edward James Olmos's voice I heard there in the dubbing?
What the heck was with that one guy? I saw him die! Then ...there he is at the end? I was confused by that.
As far as action was concerned...it rocked! It was pretty much the typical 7 Samurai formula... only with 13.
It was pretty damned bloody but not IRONCLAD bloody..the sword slices and cuts were implied..then you saw the blood smear or stain afterward. IRONCLAD you saw people getting cleaved!
But I did like it all in all. The best thing I liked about it was the action and mannerisms of the warriors seemed real and not Jackie Chan over the top chinese opera exaggerated. I liked it!
Yet another good suggestion David! Thanks a Mil!