I love me a good samurai flick. I own a nice little group of 'em and Seven Samurai is one of, if not my favorite movie of all time. So color me a bit skeptical when I saw that Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer, Sukiyaki Western Django) was doing a samurai flick.
13 Assassins is the story of a group of samurai who undertake the task of killing a ruthless lord before he can join the Shogun and ruin the peaceful lives that they have helped create for so long. The way of the samurai is being forgotten and dying with honor could be a good way to go.
I won't even beat around the bush: I loved this movie. It's premise has the feeling of Seven Samurai meets 300. Not to say the story plays out like either, but that it has the set-up and emotion of them combined. As though Leonidas was a samurai instead of a Spartan. The first 2/3 of this movie were a little slow as it was mostly all set-up but it played out beautifully. As the last forty+ minutes was the actual fight, it needed to make us know and understand these characters so that we wanted to follow each swing of a blade. And there was plenty of it during this fight.
13 Assassins is an amazing samurai movie. It's an amazing movie movie. It made me think of when I first saw a Kurosawa samurai flick. It doesn't beat out his Seven Samurai, but I do feel that it deserves a place amongst his great ones. I found it to be that good.