13 Assassins - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

13 Assassins Reviews

Page 1 of 97
December 28, 2018
Majestic scenery and blissful blood showers reveal themselves later as the director chooses to immerse the audience in steady character development . A calm build up leads to glorious battle scenes ( the first and last many of these men experience). Powerful indeed. I'd give it 6 stars if I could.
November 18, 2018
A bit boring but still one of the better recent samurai films.
½ July 28, 2018
Love a good samuraii movie, and this ones pretty awesome!
June 21, 2018
An unforgettable movie.
April 9, 2018
Well that was comfy for what it was.

A pretty simple and well choreographed samurai action movie set in the end days of old Japan.

Basically, there's a very simple premise half set up through some exposition text slides at the very beginning, and the other half through some "I'm putting together a team" scenes.

It was made well enough. The costumes and sets felt authentic, although not perfect. Some of the makeup was a bit off. Mostly some helmets and the top knot wigs that were really noticeable at times. Some pretty basic usage of very rudimentary CGI here and there. The worst CGI was definitely with the burning bulls. Kinda pulled me out of the experience. The cinematography was very dry and simple. The music was just generic.

The characters were actually too underdeveloped for the most part. Maybe the main 3 or 4 characters got some semblance of characterization, but all the rest were left a bit too paper thin. I think there was definitely more that could've been done to flesh them out and to make the viewers care more about them. When you make a movie based on a team that dies off one by one under dire circumstances, it will work better if we actually care about who dies. And in this case more differentiation would also help a lot. Too many of the assassins were just a name with a sword.

The acting is a bit hard to judge, since it's a rather stylized Japanese period piece, but I'm pretty certain some of the acting was way off, even despite the culture barrier that's inherent with a non-Japanese viewer like me.

There was also a very weird tonal hiccup square in the middle of the movie where the immortal idiot basically anally rapes a mayor after the mayor oggles his dick..? It was supposed to be a comic relief moment, but.. What?? There was nothing similar to this at any other point in the movie. That was just bad. Totally fucked with the overall quality of the movie, as did the immortal idiot himself.

The best part about this movie was definitely the great samurai action. Really well choreographed. Steady, visible action. Very visceral, animalistic, desperate. It also felt like it lasted longer than any of the other aspects of the movie. It could've probably been shortened a bit in favor of stronger characterizations and set up for a more dramatic and explosive final execution. But I have to admit that when this movie worked, it was an engrossing and watchable experience. The atmosphere was maintained well besides those weird points I mentioned.

The ending seemed to linger for way too long after the final climax. It just felt like more precious time that could've been used to create better characters.

It's like this movie started off by appearing to be serious and dramatic, but then just turned into a schlocky samurai chaos movie. If that was the goal, then well done. If not, then a lot could've been done to make it into that serious and impressive movie. A more cohesive and, in the end, a better movie.
April 4, 2018
It was refreshing to see a movie of this type where the fighting didn't include people jumping over buildings and running on tree tops.
½ January 13, 2018
Takashi Miike's homage to classic Japanese samurai films is a marvel to look at, a fast-moving, bloody delight.
November 26, 2017
One of the best movies I saw in recent years. And probably the best japanese movie I saw of all-time.
November 18, 2017
13 Assassins: While being a remake to an original film. 13 Assassins misses most of the marks.
½ November 15, 2017
13 Assassins is a tale of bloody, bloody vengeance and this tale is thoroughly entertaining. Another impressive addition to Miike's stellar filmography.
November 11, 2017
One of the best Japanese samurai films of all time.
October 7, 2017
This could be the greatest martial arts period piece I've seen.
September 4, 2017
Takashi Miike's fictional historical film is quite an experience; having the first half of the film being a visually stunning set up, with great production and hard tones, the second half is pure samurai-action-gory fest, and in both ways the movie works for the benefit of storytelling, and entertainment purposes, offering a satisfyingly enough experience in the end.
August 30, 2017
awesome! Just plain AWESOME!!
½ July 27, 2017
A period piece set towards the end of the samurai era. The movie is very well-made.

And yes, there is sword fighting in it.... :-)
June 24, 2017
Almost A perfect action movie. I couldn't be more impressed. This is a masterwork. Miike was already one of my favorite filmakers, but this movie puts him over the top.
Miike finally made a straight forward action movie. I thought it would never happen. I wasn't sure I wanted it to happen. But it happened. And its a masterpiece.
The movie has a very long set-up. They front load the first 20 minutes of film with some violence so we properly hate the bad guy, then the next hour brilliantly slows down, as they assemble the first 12 assassins and slowly plan things out and build up the the big battle. Its this hour that gives the film its impact.
Two competing "generals" (who have a great respect for each other) play cat and mouse as they size each other up. Shinzaemon, the leader of the Assasins is a great enigmatic character who is willing to sacrifice the whole mission on "Luck"
He is best described by his rival Habei where he basically says; "Shinzaemon is not the smartest tactician, he's not a particularly good fighter, but he never gives up. He's the kind of guy that outlasts you and wins in the end" Its Shinzaemons movie, and he's perfectly acted by koji Yakusho.
There is a brilliant melodramatic scene toward the end of the planning phase where Shinzaemon makes a "lets ride to our deaths" speech as thunder and lightning builds in the background setting up some great shots of our heroes riding horses in the rain.
There is almost no comedy, until they introduce the 13th assassin. I don't want to ruin anything about him. except to say he is the comic relief, and he kills it. Very funny, and I don't think it could be played by any other actor. I don't know where they found that guy, but he owns the role. He's kind of the classic "step and fetch it" character, but his ongoing commentary on samuraii culture is a nice touch. The absurd character is the perfect person to point out the absurdity of the noble man.
The final battle scene is close to an hour long and take place entirely in one location. Thats right, almost an hour. Miike makes you wait for it, but when the chaos begins, he gives us spectacular pay off.
You get all the tough guy moments you could want and more. I won't ruin any of the surprises, but I assure you, its awesome. One of the hero death scenes in is my favorite hero death scene I've ever seen.
And theres flaming bulls.
Miike holds himself in check all the way untill the last scene of the movie, where he clearly couldn't help himself and had to do something weird, almost just to say "oh you like that shit? Well don't forget, Im Miike Takashi!!!!!"
An instant classic. Its an age old story, told straight forward. I highly recommend this movie.
½ March 25, 2017
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½ March 21, 2017
Miike's Samurai epic may be a remake of Eiichi Kudō's 1963 film, but the film it is most reminiscent of is "Seven Samurai". Both are set in an era where the samurai's influence was waning, and both involve a group of samurai banding together undertake a suicide mission as a last expression of their code and way of life. The villain is not bandits in this film. It's the Shogun's brother who is a monstrously evil, narcissistic monster who needs to die because he is also the Shogun's heir. Shinzaemon Shimada is enlisted to assassinate him, and he recruits 12 other warriors to ambush him as he passes through a small village on his way to Edo. The 75 guards they are anticipating turn out to be 200 and a battle commences that takes up the last half of the film. This is some of the best action choreography I have ever seen, and like "Seven Samurai", an hour of this isn't even close to too much.
January 6, 2017
Definitely one of if not the best samurai movie I've ever seen. The storyline helps to setup one of the most intense fight scenes. The enemy is a monster which makes the battle well worth waiting for in the last 45 minutes. Not a huge fan of subtitle movies but this ones worth it. I've watched this movie a dozen times and would watch it again. Love the part where our hero drops the "total massacre" banner.
½ November 22, 2016
I'm not a huge fan of samurai pictures in general, especially the ones like "13 Assassins" where people kill each other and fills the screen with bloodbath. I'm also not a big fan of Takeshi Miike either; while I admire him as director and he sometimes does make some entertaining films, generally I don't really like his style. There are several gripping and spectacular moments in the film, and it has very well-rounded characters, including its villain. It has a lot more substance than most samurai films, but I also found some of the violence grotesque and there is one minor flaw involving the "death" of one of the assassins, which didn't make any sense. Overall, "13 Assassins" is an entertaining film and a well-crafted one, but it's not really my cup of tea.
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