Sunday, July 24, 2011

13 ASSASSINS (Takashi Miike, 2010)

**½
Japan
Roughly 137 names are referenced in the opening reel - of people, clans, places, honour codes. Of course it's not necessary to follow any of them, but for a long time there is precious little else to follow. Miike relieves the hour-and-a-half-long exposition-sodden buildup with some bloodletting now and then, but it's still something of a slog.

Finally the film gets going with the famed final showdown - which is spectacular to begin with, as the body count starts to quadruple by the second and in the most creative ways. But even this ardent, extended ode to disembowelment gradually devolves into a matter of logistics more than artistry.

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