Here, a Japanese Lord – Bloodthirsty, arrogant and without regard for those under him – Is about to rise to a position of power, one that, as we find out, could mean times of war ahead. A Samurai’s self sacrifice early on sets a wheel in motion that when teamed with the Japonese Lord: Naritsugu’s past evil deeds, forces an official of power to act against him. This means enlisting what becomes a team of 13 samurai to assassinate Naritsugu during his travels and while accompanied by many guards (we’re talking 200 or so).
Because the samurai prep a town and meet the enemy to do battle there, this movie does give off a “Seven Samurai” (Akira Kurosawa, 1954) vibe. This is especially so, because the movie takes it’s time heading into the bloodbath and spares some moments to recruit all 13 members. It’s easy to shrug that off however, because the movie engages you early on with beautiful and very shocking camera work, good acting and one hell of a buy in to hate the villain. I mean, I don’t know if it gets a whole lot nastier then what Naritsugu is. And this brings me to my first warning.
If blood if off-putting to you. It’s probably not your movie (I mean, the blood is not overly exaggerated (with the exception of a certain explosion) but they didn’t really use it sparingly). Also, there’s some shocking imagery. Another point people might dislike is that English is available only through dubbing (Which I can’t really say was excellent as I decided I would rather the Japanese version with English subtitles early on). If you can handle both those things AND you would like to try out a samurai movie (They are not for everyone) then this might be your thing.
It has the ability to charge you like 300 (Gerard Butler 2006) did to some if you let it. It gets an 8/10 on scale from me.