Saturday, July 23, 2011
"He who values his life dies a dog's death."
This is a terrific samurai adventure in the style of Akira Kurosawa. I like to think of these guys as Jedi who use their skills to fight a true Dark Lord of the Sith. The Lord the 13 Samurai pursue is a man of pure evil - a dog who should be put down if not for his connections to the Imperial throne.
There is unrestrained power and good men dedicated to that evil's destruction. There are parts of this movie that are difficult to watch and it is not only violent but often gruesome. Death is never pretty is this world of kimonos and katanas.
These guys are old for samurai. This is no country for old men. They live in a time that denies them an honorable death by denying them the venue in which they can earn honor. To die in battle and not at one's own hand seem to be the single life goal of each of these warriors.
Don't fuck up. Be on the right side no matter what. If your cause is righteous you can't help but to prevail. After that it's al just a matter of doing the wetwork.
This is a memorable and mythical Japanese historical drama. Old school action and adventure.
The settings are magnificent as is the fight choreography. I never get over the samurai haircuts. They look silly and make it hard for me to take these trained killers seriously at the beginning of the film. However, once they get down to the business of killing, the movie is unrelenting and entertaining.
Katana fights don't last very long. A lot of hacking and slashing and you only need to be sliced once and you are done. The trick is to move and swing as hard as you can with the Ginsu knives at your disposal while avoiding the sword of your opponent.
There are some nice scenes with a criminal that the samurai free on their journey. He is unencumbered by their strict code of honor and only values his own freedom and minute to minute survival. He's a rogue and a scoundrel but he is one of them and they accept him as such.
It's also fascinating to watch them turn the town into a 'town of death' and use everything they have at their disposal to survive and maybe even win the day. The ways that the few negate the numerical advantage of their adversaries is unlike anything I have seen before. It's thrilling film making. By the time they got to the cows I totally bought into the insanity of the whole story. 'Full retard' in the execution of this high concept - the suicide mission against impossible odds.
Posted by Kal at 4:53 AM