User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 131 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 131

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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. Collapse
  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. JP_
    Aug 9, 2011
    1
    Terrible. The same crap that I've seen in every samurai movie, repeated step by step and image by image. If you want to see yet another Samurai movie that starts with a monster-leader doing atrocities on innocent people, so that you feel no torture or death is good enough for him, then progress to the little guys defeating the big guys by each of them hacking 10 people to death with simple strokes, this is the movie for you. Why not just watch Seven Samurai again? The high critical reviews for this movie astonish me. Expand
  5. Jul 17, 2012
    8
    Great movie; watched it twice already. It's along the lines of Seven Samurai or Magnificent Seven. I always enjoy stories about the Japanese feudal culture; this one has a good story, acting, and vibrant scenes. I strongly recommend if you are into Asian action. -- This is not your typical kung-fu in which you grow action numbed by the end of the first scene. The action is well spaced, paced, and emphasized by the interesting story throughout. -- Expand
  6. 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
  7. Dec 17, 2011
    7
    Granted, i watched it at midnight, the only showing in our area. Still, the movie was engaging. There is a deep level of violence that will be difficult for most - think kill bill. The story however unfolds brilliantly and somehow i don't think i noticed the time pass.
  8. 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
  9. Aug 18, 2011
    3
    I found this incredible tedious. You've seen all the action sequences before (and the ones you haven't don't come off well--flaming, low-budget, CGI warthogs, for example) and there's just not a lot of substance or real themes here. In fact, though the movie does question the nobility of lower status individuals sacrificing themselves for elites, it's like a typically bad action movie, where the good guys could easily have just shot a bad guy on a bridge (with perfect justification), but instead, let him go, committ hari-kari themselves (who knows why), and allow the bad guy to amass additional forces for the epic final battle.... Expand
  10. 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
  11. Nov 26, 2011
    8
    Well, a really good job (artistic/casting/story..). A very good reference in this genre, and a bit of fantasy with some details. I think this is an excellent mix of Samurai movies and some manga spirit (samurai shamploo...etc). Not a revolution in this type, so 8/10, but just great. Congratulations to this team.
  12. Dec 31, 2012
    7
    A film about honour, justice, zen... and one of the best battle scenes in recent memory, a combat that lasts about an hour in the 'village of death' during which time a whole army is annihilated by 13 samurai soldiers.
  13. May 3, 2011
    7
    This film is directed by the same director that held the reigns for the epic-tastic masterpiece, Ichi the Killer. He has done some other stuff, but it's mostly watchable garbage. This film, well it's.. meh. In short, 13 Assassin has the stank and feel of a bo-bo-fied Kurosowa film sans any real heart: this movie is missing a soul.
  14. 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.
  15. May 10, 2011
    6
    is a brutal and bloody film, hmm but it was not the great movie because I miss and history so to say the same of the Eastern battles. Maybe it was the final battle well prepared, generally a good movie to entertain a Tuesday night =)
  16. Jul 21, 2011
    7
    I just finished watching the movie, and I was thoroughly impressed. The movie is brutal in its portrayal of violence and war, and the movie conveys a very strong anti-war message. For fans of samurai movies, this is a must see. While the film is rather slow and deliberate in the first half it brilliantly contrasts with the hectic chaos of the second half. The final battle, which lasts for about an hour, is notably impressive. The film isn't without flaws though. Only about half of the assassins are given much character, but those that do stand out are very good. The acting throughout the movie was good but not fantastic. The sets, costumes, and fights are all excellent though. If you're a fan of action movies, don't go into this expecting stylized swordplay or acrobatics. The fights are simple but vicious and kinetic, which is a refreshing change of pace from all the action movies that try to outdo each other with elaborate and complicated fights. Expand
  17. Feb 17, 2012
    8
    An engaging samurai film that has both great action and a great story. The world of the samurai is recreated in an entirely believable way, with the clothes, styles, customs and architecture all done perfectly. The movie takes a little while to get going but the set-up definitely pays off in the finale. Huge action scenes are orchestrated surprisingly well although it can be difficult to keep track of who's who in intense moments. Anyone interested in samurai flicks or action movies in general will enjoy this one. Expand
  18. 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. Expand
  19. 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
  20. Jun 4, 2011
    7
    Certainly an entertaining film - and a standout in the genre of Samurai films, even if it's not up there with the very best of them. Great tension and build up to the climatic battle - but the battle itself goes for a long time, perhaps a little too long to maintain the tension built up over the course of the narrative. Still, solid addition to the collection!
  21. Aug 26, 2011
    8
    A pleasurable pastiche of familiar tradition, hyberbolic gore, archetypal characters, excellent build-up, and all put through the filter of the consistently original Takashi Miike.
  22. 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.
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  23. Jun 13, 2012
    10
    excellent old school kickback to samurai genre, effectively drenched in action. Great cinematography, costumes, dialogue, characters......................................................
  24. Dec 26, 2012
    8
    I agree with MarcDoyle, After seeing the brutal introduction, I may have turned people off (it did irk me a little) but it's far less brutal as it goes on, which is a good thing imo. It's well acted, Has a good story, and the ending is incredibly satisfying. I loved it. It is a must see modern action film.
  25. 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)
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  26. Jul 15, 2012
    8
    Set in shogun-era Japan, 13 Assassins tells the story of an elite group of samurai selected to rid the land of the shogun's evil brother who uses his power to rape and kill at will.

    I was expecting fight sequences similar to Chinese produced successes like Crouching Tiger or House of Flying Daggers, with elaborate camera effects and stylish choreography. However, director Takashi Miike
    serves up a totally different kind of action. The fight scenes are much more substance than style and are considerably more gritty and realistic.

    At just over two hours long, 13 Assassins can easily be broken into three chapters. Initially the film is slow to start as the story is told and characters are introduced, although Miike sensibly introduces the assassins in groups, and provides more focus on a few rather than diluting the characters too greatly. The middle of the film deals with the assassins travel to their chosen ambush point as the shogun's brother and samurai approach. Following a few minor fights in the first two-thirds of the film, the ambush and subsequent fight fills the remaining 45 minutes without much pause and can only be described as epic.

    After the initial upper hand is lost, the 13 men fight against a seemingly never ending army of guards and samurai knowing they are fighting towards their inevitable deaths. Having killed tens or hundreds of the enemy each, the realism of the film is underlined by the fatigue shown by the assassins as they are ultimately swamped holding off the enemy forces.

    A largely enjoyable samurai film worth watching if not only for the epic fight between good and evil.
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  27. 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.
  28. Sep 3, 2012
    4
    With a metascore of 80, I was expecting a something special. I got really desappointed.12 Samurai walking and slashing dozens of minions like they were not here. No suspense whatsoever, fake battles with enemies dropping like flies while the protagonists stay unharmed(we are talking about samurai fights of one vs 20), and cheesy humour made me regret to have started to watch it. It might be a Japanese way of filming, but it's been done way better before("Zatoichi"(with Shintarō Katsu) or the "7 Samurai"( Akira Kurosawa) Have everything this movie misses : Realism... Expand
  29. Nov 9, 2012
    9
    Poignant, surprisingly compelling martial arts flick charged with emotional determination and some great performances.
  30. Mar 11, 2013
    5
    There is nothing special about this movie, I don't see the appeal. The main heroes are honorable and strong fighters, but none have any personality so it's impossible to feel any emotion when any of them die. The main villain is also one-dimensional with no personality, so there's no emotion when he dies either (and it's obvious he will die, so at least make him compelling). The production value for a Japanese film is very good, but the content is very shallow. Expand
  31. Aug 26, 2013
    8
    Oh Boy if you're a fan of Takashi Miike, you're gonna love this.

    A remake of Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 black-and-white Japanese film of the same name, Takashi brings "13 Assassins" into the spotlight like a Hammer studio produced monster classic, ridiculous buckets of blood, superb characters and casting with surreal choreography bring 's Miike's most ambitious project so far to life.


    Amongst the beautiful panoramic shots of a superbly rendered period Japan, the movies villain is without doubt one of cinema's most brutal to come along for some time and if I was to quote any flaws I feel some scenes feel too stretched out, even for the style this movie superbly creates.

    But when all is said and done, the overall climax of this movie is without doubt the movies highlight, Limbs fly, Swords cut and a real code of honor comes across our heroes and even the supporting cast.

    Final Verdict: I feel nowadays mainstream cinema is lacking in many Western and Samurai flicks, Which is why I urge you to please find this movie and see what your missing 8/10.
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  32. 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.