Roughly half the runtime of 13 Assassins has to do with assembling the team: Near the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the utterly sadistic (not to mention corrupt) Lord Naritsugu is to be offered a seat on the Shogunate Council, a promotion that will not only see the cruel lord’s power increase, but will likely set off a civil war between his supporters and those who hate him. The Shogun’s justice minister decides that assassination is just the only way, and so hires a dozen samurai in order to carry out the execution. The second half of the film sees the plan put into action, and reminds us that director Takashi Miike made his name in several memorably visceral horror films.
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