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Director: Miike Takashi Year: 2010 Country: Japan, UK Running time: 126 mins Censor Rating: R16 - violence, content may disturb Genres & Subjects: Adrenaline, Drama, Period films

“A mixture of bloodletting and exultation that would make Sam Peckinpah sit up in his grave and howl with pleasure.” — David Edelstein, NY Magazine

Director Miike Takashi is a filmmaking machine and 13 Assassins is the maestro cranking it in top gear. Turning towards the chambara (sword-fighting movies) he adored as youth, he’s applied a much bigger budget and taken far more care than usual to create one of the finest Japanese films in years. In 1844, Japan is ruled by the Tokugawa Shogunate. Shimada Shinzaemon is secretly asked to assassinate an evil lord. Shinzaemon assembles a Dirty Dozen plus one to ambush the lord on his annual journey home. Outnumbered 15 to one, it appears they have no chance of surviving. Luckily honour, heart and a trick or two may just balance the books. Miike, channelling epic Kurosawa, has enough humour and nods to contemporary Japanese society to create something fresh and new out of the past. The final 45 minutes of this film could be his best orchestrated action sequence, a true marvel of construction and fiery kinetic thrills. — AT