Tag Archives: Samurai

52. 13 Assassins – Takashi Miike (2010)

First Viewing.

It’s been so long since I’ve last made a blog entry that I can barely work my way around wordpress’ newfangled layout. Stupid changes. No one likes change. And, I’d like, at this point, to be able to cite a multitude of reasons for not posting a review in months, but, the honest truth is, I’ve worked up such a vast list of films to write reviews for I ended up not writing a single one and just vegged out on episodes of Community instead. It’s also became painfully clear that someone is parodying my life in the form of Abed, except that I’m not Asian and I have better taste in movies than him. Although Kickpuncher is a classic, no doubt.

<Chest slap/hi five>

Anyway, that’s enough of my standard deviating-away-from-a-film-review-to-write-nonsense spiel and onto the review. Huzzah. So, you all remember back at the turn of the 21st century when everyone was into Asian movies again, right? Well Takashi Miike was making some of the best/coolest/weirdist shit around then. There was Visitor Q made for no money on DV-cam and painfully disturbing – lactating breasts being spayed all over the place, anyone? – The tone-perfect The Happiness of the Katakuris, a full-on Zombie musical with appropriate comedy gore and faux cheerfulness. And, of course, the, well, how to put this? The twisted, fucked up genius of Ichi the Killer. I’ve yet to see a credit sequence that can top cum being dispelled from the main character’s dick and thus subsequently morphing into the title of the movie. Beat that Michael Bay. (No pun intended) And the list goes on and on with strange, strange movies. So anyone familiar with Miike’s work wouldn’t expect the beauty and humility of 13 Assassins. Not to diss Miike work at all, but this film doesn’t need any of the weird or controversial gimmicks of previous movies because it’s just so amazingly fantastic. Akira Kurosawa was one of the first of a small bunch of directors who I became completely obsessed by. He made some of the great Samurai films; Yojimbo, Sanjuro and, the brilliant, Seven Samurai. And I wouldn’t hesitate to put 13 Assassins in that company. It has everything a great Samurai movie needs. From fantastic acting and interesting characters, right up to great storytelling- storytelling that starts with a slow pace and builds into a climatic and mesmerizing final battle. It’s a genre film with little faults to no faults at all. If you like Samurai movies you will love this.

Marks out of ten – Nine

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25. Ghost Dog – Jim Jarmusch (1999)

Repeat Viewing.

An action movie without any action, well isn’t that just typically Jarmusch? The cross-over between Samurai movie, Gangster movie and beatnik culture is a rare treat. With RZA’s damn-right dirty score and Forest Whitaker’s finest work-  this role was made for him, literally so JJ says- it cannot help but entertain you if you put in a little effort. And I can’t let this review hit the press without a mention for Isaach De Bankole, perhaps the most under-appreciated actor ever. He should be a star.

Marks out of ten – Nine

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