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13 Assassins (Blu-ray) (US Version) Blu-ray Region A

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13 Assassins (Blu-ray) (US Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

He's done gangster action, superhero adventures, Spaghetti Westerns, and even children's films. Now, prolific Japanese director Miike Takashi takes on his first period swordplay epic with 13 Assassins, the remake of the 1963 Kodo Eiichi film of the same name. The film reunites Miike with screenwriter Tengan Daisuke (director Imamura Shohei's son and a director in his own right) for the third time after Audition and Imprint, and the result is their most audience-friendly collaboration yet. Working with a bigger budget and a star-studded cast led by Yakusho Koji (Shall We Dance), Yamada Takayuki (Crows Zero), Iseya Yusuke (Sukiyaki Western Django), and Ichimura Masachika, Miike takes a straightforward approach to his remake, delivering entertaining swordplay thrills reminiscent of the genre's most beloved films. Miike even outdoes the original film's 30-minute action-packed climax (which held the record for the longest action climax in a film of the genre) with a rousing 45-minute finale that earned cheers from audiences all over the world and four grand prizes at the Japan Academy Awards.

In a time of peace, the shogun's sadistic brother Naritsugu (SMAP's Inagaki Goro) goes on a killing spree in the course of his rise to power. Riled by his lord's cruelty, Narigtsugu's head samurai Shinzaemon (Yakusho Koji) assembles a band of samurais to assassinate the lord on his trip home. Despite being outnumbered by Naritsugu's bodyguards - led by Hanbei (Masachika Ichimura), the band of heroic samurais have assembled an intricate plan that will lead to the greatest battle of their lives.

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Technical Information

Product Title: 13 Assassins (Blu-ray) (US Version) 十三人刺客 (Blu-ray) (美國版) 十三人刺客 (Blu-ray) (美国版) 十三人の刺客【通常版】 13 Assassins (Blu-ray) (US Version)
Artist Name(s): Yakusho Koji | Inagaki Goro | Iseya Yusuke | Yamada Takayuki | Ichimura Masachika | Uchino Seiyo | Kondo Koen | Sawamura Ikki | Furuta Arata | Takaoka Sosuke | Saito Takumi | Kishibe Ittoku | Ihara Tsuyoshi | Mitsuishi Ken | Matsukata Hiroki | Matsumoto Hakuo | Rokkaku Seiji | Namioka Kazuki | Abe Shinnosuke | Tanimura Mitsuki | Kubota Masataka | Fukiishi Kazue 役所廣司 | 稻垣吾郎 | 伊勢谷友介 | 山田孝之 | 市村正親 | 內野聖陽 | 近藤公園 | 澤村一樹 | 古田新太 | 高岡蒼佑 | 齋藤工 | 岸部一德 | 伊原剛志 | 光石研 | 松方弘樹 | 松本白鸚 | 六角精兒 | 波岡一喜 | 阿部進之介 | 谷村美月 | 窪田正孝 | 吹石一惠 役所广司 | 稻垣吾郎 | 伊势谷友介 | 山田孝之 | 市村正亲 | 内野圣阳 | 近藤公园 | 泽村一树 | 古田新太 | 高冈苍佑 | 斋藤工 | 岸部一德 | 伊原刚志 | 光石研 | 松方弘树 | 松本白鹦 | 六角精儿 | Namioka Kazuki | 阿部进之介 | 谷村美月 | 洼田正孝 | 吹石一惠 役所広司 | 稲垣吾郎 | 伊勢谷友介 | 山田孝之 | 市村正親 | 内野聖陽 | 近藤公園 | 沢村一樹 | 古田新太 | 高岡蒼佑 | 斎藤工 | 岸部一徳 | 伊原剛志 | 光石研 | 松方弘樹 | 松本白鸚 | 六角精児 | 波岡一喜 | 阿部進之介 | 谷村美月 | 窪田正孝 | 吹石一恵 Yakusho Koji | Inagaki Goro | Iseya Yusuke | Yamada Takayuki | Ichimura Masachika | Uchino Seiyo | Kondo Koen | Sawamura Ikki | Furuta Arata | Takaoka Sosuke | Saito Takumi | Kishibe Ittoku | Ihara Tsuyoshi | Mitsuishi Ken | Matsukata Hiroki | Matsumoto Hakuo | Rokkaku Seiji | Namioka Kazuki | Abe Shinnosuke | Tanimura Mitsuki | Kubota Masataka | Fukiishi Kazue
Director: Miike Takashi 三池崇史 Miike Takashi 三池崇史 Miike Takashi
Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) What is it?
Release Date: 2011-07-05
UPC Code: 876964003940
Language: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Place of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: [HD] High Definition What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 2.40 : 1, Widescreen
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Screen Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080 progressive scan)
Duration: 125 (mins)
Publisher: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Package Weight: 100 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1024512415

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "13 Assassins (Blu-ray) (US Version)"

May 18, 2011

This professional review refers to 13 Assassins (2010) (Blu-ray) (Deluxe Edition) (Japan Version)
Prolific cult Japanese auteur Miike Takashi returns with perhaps his most ambitious work yet in 13 Assassins, a remake of the 1963 Kodo Eiichi classic Busan-nin No Shikaku Marking his first proper foray into the period samurai genre, though one of his more commercially friendly outings, the film is still very much recognisable as a Miike work, with a script by Tengan Daisuke, with whom he previously worked on Audition and Imprint. Certainly, it sees the director working with a far bigger budget than usual, not to mention an all star cast that includes Yakusho Koji (Shall We Dance), Yamada Takayuki (Crows Zero), Iseya Yusuke (Sukiyaki Western Django), Hira Mikijiro (Goemon), Matsukata Hiroki (Tajomaru: Avenging Blade) and Masachika Ichimura. Thanks in no small part to a thrilling 45 minute climatic battle scene, the film has been a big hit with festivals around the world, as well as winning over the critics, claiming four grand prizes at the Japan Academy Awards and being nominated for the Golden Lion at Venice.

Set in mid-19th century Japan during a time when war and strife had all but disappeared from the land, the plot begins with as the Shogun's evil brother Naritsugu (Inagaki Goro) launches a campaign of cruelty against the populace, torturing and tormenting his subjects as he rises to power. Such is his wickedness that his own head samurai Shinzaemon (Yakusho Koji) makes the tough decision to turn against his lord, bringing together in secret a disparate gang of samurai to assassinate him during a tour of the country. Facing off against him is Hanbei (Masachika Ichimura), his former comrade in arms and now Naritsugu's chief bodyguard. Knowing that he is leading his men on a suicide mission, Shinzaemon plans an ambush in a remote village, hoping to overcome the hopeless odds through cunning strategy.

What might be surprising for anyone familiar with Miike Takashi's back catalogue is how well 13 Assassins is handled as a remake, treating the source material with obvious respect, and taking a straightforward approach rather than trying to appeal to his usual cult audience. At the same time, this is quite unmistakably a Miike film, with moments of shocking cruelty, grotesque perversion and even surrealism, all of which are balanced skilfully with the more serious themes of duty, brotherhood, and of course, sacrifice. As well as the original, the film does at times have the distinct feel of a Kurosawa epic, frequently recalling Seven Samurai and showing the same kind of humanity that the great director was known for. The film is a gripping and surprisingly emotional experience as a result, and though inevitably some of the 13 warriors get short shift as characters, the narrative is held together by a real sense of camaraderie that pervades through to the end. Miike handles this and other aspects of the story with consummate skill and subtlety, and the film is never heavy handed or even particularly melodramatic. Amongst its blood and thunder the film has a real sense of warmth, and is all the better for its moments of earthy humour and comic relief, with Tengan Daisuke's script making the film every bit as effective in its quiet moments as in its blood and thunder.

One of the main reasons why the film works so well is that Miike also approaches the film with a pleasing sense of economy not often seen in the genre, wasting very little time and with the events of the story seeming to be crammed into a short period of time. This works very much in its favour, generating a sense of urgency, without trying to manipulate the viewer or trying to pretend that the final battle will leave many survivors. In this respect, the film benefits from its simple but compelling three act structure, which sets up the characters, follows them on their travels to the ambush village, then sits back and allows all hell to break loose. This serves perfectly, and the film moves along at a cracking pace, its two hour running time passing all too quickly.

Special mention does have to go to the amazing action scenes, and the film is violent and brutal throughout, with flashbacks detailing the awful acts of the sadistic Naritsugu. The final battle scene is worth every word of hype, and it surely stands as one of the most awesome and epic set pieces of sword play cinema in recent memory, as bodies fall, limbs are cleaved and head roll with relentless speed. The choreography is superb, making for breathlessly exciting viewing, and for once making good use of CGI gore. It's hard to imagine anyone topping this sequence, and it ranks amongst the best and most memorable of Miike's career to date - high praise indeed.

The same can be said of the film as a whole, and 13 Assassins is a modern classic of the samurai form, sitting quite comfortably amongst the Kurosawa classics. The film again shows that Miike Takashi is indeed a master film maker as well as an enfant terrible or cinematic shock jock, and that he is one of the very few directors truly comfortable and capable of working in any and every genre.

by James Mudge - BeyondHollywood.com

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.
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