Finest Battle Sequence Ever?

Iconoclastic, idiosyncratic Japanese auteur Takashi Miike is set to release possibly the most restrained and mature work of his career in his latest feature '13 Assassins'. Although it does contain some of the elements familiar to Miikes 'usual' output, such as sadomasochism and brutal violence, this remake of the 1963 film directed by Eiichi Kudo, promises to appeal even to those who normally find his work hard to stomach.

Miike's prolific genre defying ourve has include the torture horror of 'Audition', the fantastically graphic violence of 'Ichi The Killer' and the absurdist slapstick claymation zombie musical that is 'The Happiness Of The Katakuris'. Decried for being perverse and excessively extreme in his themes, this could very well bring his film making to a new audience.

Based on a true story, the premise is of '13 Assassins' is refreshingly straightforward (albeit close to 'The Seven Samurai'). Set in 19th Century feudal Japan, the psychopathic younger brother of the Shogun, Lord Naritsugu, is indiscriminately raping, torturing and killing his subjects. Bearing witness to these unspeakable atrocities urges honourable government official Sir Doi to enlist the last of the Samurai to get rid of him. In what is ostensibly a suicide mission, the skilled assassins ambush the Lord as he travels between territories. But these men are outnumbered ten to one. What ensues in the final act is already widely regarded as one of the finest battle sequences ever to be captured on film; relying on traditional traditional choreography at that.

It also promises to include some truly beautiful landscapes of Japan, which will appear especially poignant in the wake of the recent devastation to hit the country.

13 Assassins hits UK cinemas on 6th May 2011.


Follow Clash: