13 ASSASSINS (JÛSAN-NIN NO SHIKAKU)
A band of samurai is recruited for a virtuoso mission: snuff out the Shogun's brother - a foppishly cold-blooded torturer with a hair-trigger temper and royal impunity - by intercepting his unsuspecting and heavily armed entourage as they pass through a remote village en route to the capital. Led by valiant swordsman Koji Yakusho, summoned from his fisherman's retirement to head up the inside job, his baker's dozen of hired killers is gravely outnumbered. Their solution: strategize a spectacular ambush. From its startling opening to its tour de force, "total massacre" closing battle - a grungy cyclone of arrows, explosions, flaming bulls and rapid-fire beheadings - the latest epic from the prolific and fearless Takashi Miike is vastly entertaining Ostensibly a remake of Eiichi Kudo's 1963 classic, Miike's film is faithful to its genre while also being infused with the director's own anarchic sensibility. Its roguish humor, flamboyont savagery and baroque mise-en-scene clearly bear Miike's mark.