Japan’s 13 Assassins is Badass!

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If you can get pass the subtitles you will not regret it!  Takashi Miike‘s 13 Assassins is awesome!  The story follows 13 Samurais that are employed to kill a truly evil man, who is on the path to political power.  It is visually stunning, extremely violent, and beautifully executed.  I haven’t hated a villian this much in a long time–I wanted him to die…slowly and painfully.  Yeah, that’s how involved you become.

I did not know anything about this film when I sat down at The Ritz (Alamo Drafthouse) and I am glad I didn’t.  It was a journey.  Later I discovered it is based on true events–that makes the tale even more interesting. 

You are introduced to every character leisurely.  (That is how the hatred for the sadistic Lord Naritsugu was allowed to fester and grow.)  Each warrior is unique–from the comic relief to the fierce ronin.  They are assembled and led by an aging master, Shinzaemon, at a time when the Samurais’ era was ending– ” I had almost given up the hope of dying an honorable death.”   With this mission they find, not only employment, but purpose.  

I loved it!  From the quiet exchanges to the bloody finale.  The director is known for horror movies and although I can see the violence, this film seems elegant (which I learned is a departure for him, since he is usually graphic and gory).  I will assume this was a new challenge for him and as Shinzaemon states, when accepting the assassination assignment,     “I shall accomplish your task… with magnificence. ”  And I think Takashi Miike did just that. 

Fast Five starts the summer of FUN! (I hope…)

   

I will admit that I enjoy the Fast and the Furious franchise.  Hot guys?  Driving hot cars? Hello.  I appreciate that it is does not try to be anything more than mindless entertainment and as I have stated before, sometimes you want pure escapism.  Fast Five delivers that in spades!  So, if you can put away your reality check meter…sit back–buckle up and enjoy the ride!  

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker have a comfortable chemistry and I am glad neither one has other movies to interfere with their fast and furious-ness!  The supporting cast of familiar faces from the franchise only help amplify the fun factor and I thought Dwayne Johnson was a great addition (even if he is a bit stiff).   I was digging the new setting in Rio de Janeiro and the heist was cool, but, the main focus are the cars and the action and that is where Fast Five brings the goods!  More crazy stunt driving and fist fights…sweet!

If you enjoy this, you must stick around after the credits–it will set you up for Fast Six!  And why not?  These movies are  financially successful because people like to be mindlessly entertained–obviously.