13 Assassins

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What is worth dying for?

13 Assassins begins with an interesting and enthralling setup, but quickly slows to a crawling pace. The different characters are introduced but, unfortunately, they are not developed enough to make a lasting impact. Having just finished watching this film not 10 minutes ago, I honestly could not describe or name a single one of the 13 assassins.

And then we come to it. The penultimate battle that occupies nearly an hour of screen time. However, the event itself did not match the anticipation. Dull and mundane, the extended fight sequence seems to drag almost as much as the first half of the film. The kills are not interesting or satisfying, but instead tiring and repetitious.

I did enjoy the overall story of this film. The theme of honor is always an interesting one in the context of samurai, and it was intriguing to see two sides of that coin in Shinzaemon (Koji Yakusho) and Hanbei (Masachika Ichimura).

I am left with the question of who – or what – Koyata (Yusuke Iseya) was. It was clear that he died, but at the end of the film we see him alive and well. The film doesn’t explain this and, as far as I’m aware, there weren’t any hints towards an explanation either.

Overall, 13 Assassins is a decent, if somewhat monotonous, film.

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