Japanese director Takashi Miike has made some absolutely incredible movies. From the insane violence of Ichi the Killer to the dark and twisted family drama of Visitor Q to the love story gone awry of Audition to the sweet comedy of Happiness of the Katakuris, Miike has some fantastic cinema to his name. And yet I hesitate to call myself a fan of his work because the odds you see, are against me. Miike has over eighty feature credits as director, and while I can’t claim to have seen them all I have seen quite a few… and those four listed above are the only ones I find truly worthwhile.

The trailer for Miike’s latest film has hit the web, and I have to admit it looks pretty damn good. The prolific director has a habit of working fast and cheap (and many of his flicks suffer for it), but Thirteen Assassins looks like a larger scale production than he’s used to. It also has a more straight-forward narrative than much of his work as evidenced by the synopsis below (from 24framespersecond).

In the era of the Shogun, an evil young lord rapes and kills, assured of immunity by law. But he didn’t count on the Thirteen Assassins. A feared secret force, each with their own deadly skill, the Assassins undertake a suicide mission to wipe out the Lord. As he embarks on a perilous journey, the Assassins close off his escape route and ambush him in a village of death. But little do they know, they are outnumbered four to one by the Lords crack team of bodyguards. The streets will run RED.”

So basically it’s a samurai smack-down. Which sounds awesome. My only concern is that the thought of an Asian western sounded cool too until I watched Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django. (Luckily Kim Ji-woon restored my faith in the hybrid genre with The Good the Bad the Weird.) Check out the trailer for Thirteen Assassins and let us know what you think.

No clue what they’re talking about but I imagine it has something to do with honor, loyalty, and barbers. The film looks remarkably solid and legitimate and would easily fit in with many of the higher profile Asian period pieces of late including Bodyguards & Assassins, Red Cliff, and The Warlords. On a somewhat smaller scale of course, but still big for Miike. The final third of the trailer features some impressive action scenes and help push this higher on my list of anticipated foreign films.

What do you think of the trailer?


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