Thanks to Takashi Miike, the director responsible for movie scenes wherein tongues are cut out of mouths and piano wires chop through limbs. His latest film, 13 Assassins—which we mandate you add to your Netflix queue this weekend—has more of the same. But with Samurais. GQ's Eric Sullivan Elaborates:
Set in the mid-19th Century, the story revolves around a small group of samurai, led by an old master named Shinzaemon, covertly sent to assassinate a sadistic successor to the Shogun leadership named Lord Naritsugu. The arc is simple really: Naritsugu commits heinous acts for which there is no justification; Shinzaemon gathers the best samurai he knows to track down the sadistic Lord; an epic battle ensues.
Miike’s creative energy shines brightest during scenes of violence: Watching the limbless girl that Naritsugu used as a plaything thrash about is the most haunting image of the film. And the final battle scene, which runs for 40 relentless minutes, is packed with so many clever contraptions of destruction that it never dulls.
The one means of killing that dominates all others is death by sword. Dozens of torsos are ribboned, stomachs lampooned, and blood spritzed through the air like so many blasts from a Super Soaker. There’s something deeply satisfying about hearing the shing of a blade as it cuts through the air, dropping disposable bad guys every half a second. Will honor win out in the end? You can probably guess. But it’s the journey getting there, filled with questions of duty and a steady pile-up of bodies, that makes it worthwhile.