Jūsannin no Shikaku (13 Assassins)
2010
**½
Director: Takashi Miike
Cast: Koji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yusuke Iseya, Ikki Sawamura, Hiroki Matsukata, Matsumoto Koshiro Ix, Goro Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura

Takashi Miike’s samurai movie is a remake of Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 film. In the 1840s, a politician assembles a team of assassins to stop the sadistic lord Naritsugu before he manages to rise to a more prominent position. A group of 12 samurai (and one hunter) draw up a plan to ambush and murder Naritsugu. The first half is spent assembling the group and discussing the essence of honour. The second half is nonstop action. Just because Miike has more numbers does not mean that his film is a match to Seven Samurai. There are many problems: the villain is one note, the group is a faceless bunch, the build-up is long and boring, and the monotonic climactic battle cannot make up for it.