13 Assassins

Director: Takashi Miike
Year Released: 2010
Rating: 2.0

Surprisingly 'normal' genre picture - according to Miike standards, naturally - is straightforward and almost resoundingly average. A ragtag team of samurai, drawn together by the respectable Kôji Yakusho, seek to kill a rogue heir to the throne who likes to rape and/or dismember women and shoot arrows through children. First half is very basic set-up (to remind everyone as to who is good and who is bad ... and why the good are good and the bad are bad), paving the way to a well-choreographed but rather mechanical second half with some skilled swordplay for those with a hankering to see human tissue flayed. It's basically a B-version of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai but considerably less serious and artful - I always prefer it when Miike is allowed to break loose and film whatever demented thoughts he has in his head ... for better or worse.