13 Assassins (15)
Starring: Kôji Yakusho
Friday 06 May 2011
Takashi Miike's historical drama surely breaks records for staging the longest ever fight sequence – roughly the whole second half of the movie.
Set in rural Japan, 1844, it concerns the rise to power of psychopathic killer Lord Naritsugu, who thinks nothing of using his enemy's family for archery practice. Hired by a top Shogun to assassinate the brute, ageing warrior Shinzaemon (Kôji Yakusho) recruits a posse of fellow samurai to assist him, even though their 13-man elite must ambush a 200-strong army. Kurosawa's Seven Samurai is an obvious reference point, and Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch even more so (a wonderful set-piece involves a bridge blast, and the 13's gallant stand echoes the bunch's against the Mexican army). Miike directs the "village of death" battle with an astonishing relentlessness: just when you think you've seen the last bout of flesh-skewering, he tips another bloody bucket of slaughter into the mix.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
MOBO Awards 2014: Jess Glynne hits back at 'ridiculous' criticism of nominated white artists
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - review: Silly, sensational and sensitive
The Apprentice 2014: Nurun Ahmed and Lindsay Booth fired in double elimination
MOBO Awards 2014: Sam Smith sweeps the board with four gongs
The Apprentice, episode 3 - review: Lord Sugar hacks away at the deadwood with double elimination
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters