He's done gangster action, superhero adventures, Spaghetti Westerns, and even children's films. Now, prolific Japanese director Miike Takashi takes on his first period swordplay epic with 13 Assassins, the remake of the 1963 Kodo Eiichi film of the same name. The film reunites Miike with screenwriter Tengan Daisuke (director Imamura Shohei's son and a director in his own right) for the third time after Audition and Imprint, and the result is their most audience-friendly collaboration yet. Working with a bigger budget and a star-studded cast led by Yakusho Koji (Shall We Dance), Yamada Takayuki (Crows Zero), Iseya Yusuke (Sukiyaki Western Django), and Ichimura Masachika, Miike takes a straightforward approach to his remake, delivering entertaining swordplay thrills reminiscent of the genre's most beloved films. Miike even outdoes the original film's 30-minute action-packed climax (which held the record for the longest action climax in a film of the genre) with a rousing 45-minute finale that earned cheers from audiences all over the world and four grand prizes at the Japan Academy Awards.
In a time of peace, the shogun's sadistic brother Naritsugu (SMAP's Inagaki Goro) goes on a killing spree in the course of his rise to power. Riled by his lord's cruelty, Narigtsugu's head samurai Shinzaemon (Yakusho Koji) assembles a band of samurais who decide to assassinate the lord on his trip home. Despite being outnumbered by Naritsugu's bodyguards - led by Hanbei (Ichimura Masachika), the band of heroic samurais have assembled an intricate plan that will lead to the greatest battle of their lives.