The first half of the film is very much plot-oriented, and if I’m quite honest; I had trouble keeping up with all the different characters. Having said that, the plot is straightforward, so trying to remember the important characters doesn’t disrupt the plot at all. With the stage set, and the assassins ready to ambush Naritsugu in a village that he is travelling through, it just remains for the trap to be sprung. The second half of the film is essentially the battle between the 13 assassins and the 200 samurai protecting Naritsugu, though I’m sure more than 200 were killed! The action is all fantastic, very well choreographed at times very brutal; and some of the traps set in the village are very inventive including a stampede of flaming cows!
Visually, the film has a sepia look to it, perfect for presenting medieval Japan; this also makes the blood and explosions stand out all the more. Director Takashi Miike is inventive in his style creating a dynamic, stylish and brutal (sort of) revenge movie.