User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 133 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 133

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  1. May 1, 2011
    9
    Best samurai movie ever? 13 Assassins just might be. The cinematography is superb, the story is solid and the acting is respectable. Takashi Miike's directing is fantastic, and the fight scenes are EPIC. Let me say ive not been a fan of samurai flicks.. till now.
  2. May 2, 2011
    9
    The first three or four minutes had me slightly worried about how accessible this movie might be, but shortly after the introduction, it grabbed me by the throat, and I was wide-eyed and enthralled throughout. What was most welcomed, for me, was the steady strand of humor running through it. The extreme violence and cruelty at the outset, and the resultant revenge plot and execution would have been too heavy without some lighter moments, and Miike draws an excellent balance. Koji Yakusho's performance is stellar, and the "13th" Assassin is hilarious. Really solid film. Expand
  3. Jun 25, 2011
    10
    13 Assassins is enthralling, beautiful, violent, and disturbing. It takes from everyplace, adding feeling to every portion. The fights are exciting, intense, and bloody as hell. The humor is perfectly peppered in which is a refresher for the momentous and gripping action movie it is. Perfection.
  4. Apr 29, 2011
    9
    13 Assassins may not be a perfect movie, but it is a superb samurai flick. Solid acting, believable plot, and a tremendous action sequence make this one of the best modern samurai movies that I have ever seen. Having said that, I should also state quite clearly that samurai movies are not for everyone. If you don't know whether you like samurai movies, this one is a fine example of them. Takashi Miike's direction and camera work were excellent. I highly commend this movie to anyone who loves samurai, feudal Japan, or Asian action movies. Expand
  5. Mar 30, 2012
    9
    13 Assassins works on numerous levels, as a sumptuously rich period drama, as an action-packed historical epic, as a complex political thriller and as a moral tale of revenge and honour. The film follows a small group of samurai and ronin who band together to bring down a diabolical, but politically untouchable warlord. The film utterly engrosses you from the very start, and you are given time to get to know and care for the protagonists, and learn about their vastly differing ways of life and views of the world, and witness the conflicts these differences create within the group. Despite their personal, social, intellectual and spiritual differences, it is hugely rewarding to watch the assassins put their grudges aside to fight together for what is right. It's a slow burner, but the narrative never plods, and you really feel like you are on the same seemingly impossible quest as the 13 assassins. Through a mixture of fantastic performances from the whole cast, stunning visuals and production design, flawless fight choreography (particularly in the extended, jaw-droppingly complex battle of the finale),Takashi Miike's masterful direction of every aspect of the film, and a perfect balance between fantasy and reality, 13 Assassins makes for a truly spellbinding viewing experience. Expand
  6. Aug 22, 2011
    10
    Right away you could tell it should be taken seriously. Nothing fantastical or Hollywood about it. Very well shot and has an excellent story, as well as, enthralling dialogue. You are so invested in the story that when the action arrives it seems like a bonus. The action itself is fast-paced and gritty with very little c.g.i. Once the major battle ensues it continues unwavering until a completely unique and creative ending. Easily my favorite Japanese film ever! Expand
  7. Aug 22, 2011
    10
    Amazing movie. incredible build up to one of the most epic battle scenes ever committed to film. Definitely the best samurai movie I've seen. A flawless piece of cinema. Takaski Miike is a true master.
  8. Aug 19, 2011
    9
    I cannot recommend this movie enough. 9/10 for bringing back the glory days of using no CG, using no pretty boy pop stars as actors and just brutal, brutal swordplay choreography. As much as I didn't want to, I had to subtract 1 point from a potential 10 because of a lack of character development for some of the other characters in that group of 13. We knew very little about them and they seemed too generic. I know that while some more background on them would have made the movie longer, I might have actually cared about whether they lived or died in the end. That said, I still loved this movie. Collapse
  9. May 17, 2011
    9
    A great foreign film. There movie does a great job of making the enemies utterly despicable. The action is great and surprisingly original, and there was never a point where I went "Yeah, I saw that coming". The main flaws were a couple of very short scenes felt forced to add comedic relief when there was no need to and the movie could of benefited if the main action scene was a few minutes stronger, but this did not hurt the movie that much at all Expand
  10. Jan 13, 2013
    9
    Epic on every scale, 13 Assassins destroys the competition as one of the greatest samurai films this side of the millennium.
    Set in 19th Century Japan, we see see the despicable Lord Naritsugu, brother of the current military dictator (Shogun) doing what he sees fit, whether its beheading, raping or destroying who or whatever is in his path.
    Through orders form a government official,
    battle tested samurai warrior Shinzaemon(Koji Yakusho) is tasked with the killing the evil Lord.
    Not only is the film beautifully created to show a different era, but certain set pieces are truly wonderful, not relying heavily on CGI has also benefited this film greatly as a better story and more emotional depth can be obtained without these special effects. An added bonus to this is that all 13 Assassins have a story to be told and to be played out, not many films can boast such a large array of characters but with something to prove for all of them.
    What first seems like simple stealth film story really flips this on its side, a story emotionally driven, engaging and enjoyable from start to finish.
    Excellent costumes, great sets make this film rise above and beyond, and the last 45 mins showcase and epic battle of the masses that doesn't rely on simple guts and gore style fighting, but choreographed to portray the experience and expertise of these samurai warriors, who will lay their life down for the cause at hand, so easily it could have been to have an all out battle royal but instead a story is still being told even within the violence, which are the best vignettes of the film.
    But don't be fooled, this film does have a fair share of extreme violence throughout and some scenes may not be for the faint-hearted, but these were showing the troublesome and harrowing times of this period. Simply brilliant and a very thought-provoking, emotionally driven film, with a wonderful cast and chilling antagonist who rises above your typical villain, 13 Assassins will slash slit and explode its way into your mind and not leave.
    Expand
  11. Jun 13, 2012
    10
    excellent old school kickback to samurai genre, effectively drenched in action. Great cinematography, costumes, dialogue, characters......................................................
  12. Feb 7, 2012
    9
    A Japanese movie made by Japanese people FOR Japanese people. Cultural, dramatic and action-packed, quite possibly the best samurai movie to date. (Story follows a said-to-be-true epic nearly all Japanese people are familiar with).
    Underneath the lengthy end battle scene, there is an underlying message: Samurais are making their last stand for the traditional samurai code. Modern times
    are infringing on Japan and it's their last chance for honor, to restore balance, and bring forth the mighty katana of justice.. This is what makes Japanese culture so bad ass. It's always about the HONOR. The movie begins and ends with samurai performing harakiri (seppuku). Supposedly the last act of honor a samurai can perform. You simply do not see this kind of passion or commitment from anyone these days. Though disemboweling yourself for honor may be crazy and illogical to us, it made perfect sense to them.
    There were some light-hearted parts in the film that really helped carry the audience on. The humor was subtle, but just enough to lighten the mood between gore and cruelty and violence.
    Not to mention the cultural beliefs, costumes and traditions were very accurate for the time period (around 1840's.)
    Acting was beautifully done. Most of the samurai seem stoic, just like they were in real life... Overall, awesome movie. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Japanese history/culture. (I only rate it a 9 just because of the similarity between this movie and Seven Samurai)
    Expand
  13. May 16, 2012
    10
    The story is so simple, but it offers so much depth as well as plenty of room fever dreamt carnage. This was such an amazing movie. If you are a fan of samurai movies this is a perfect movie to watch. The last thirty minutes is one of the best battle scenes I've seen since Lord of The Rings.
  14. Nov 9, 2012
    9
    Poignant, surprisingly compelling martial arts flick charged with emotional determination and some great performances.
  15. Jan 26, 2014
    9
    I have always admired Japanese filmmaking, and this just makes me love it even more!
    Each and every character was so rich and purposeful, clearly directed by a master.
Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Jun 2, 2011
    75
    It may not be the most memorable saga put on film, but as far as Miike is concerned, it doesn't have to be.
  2. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jun 2, 2011
    91
    The great Kôji Yakusho stars as a revered samurai who decides that enough is enough, and sets about assembling the assassins of the title like a men-on-a-mission movie.
  3. Reviewed by: Sean OConnell
    May 27, 2011
    88
    Does Guinness World Records have an entry for longest on-screen fight? If it doesn't, Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins just set it. And if a record actually exists, Miike's film just broke it.