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A dizzying epic with an all-time great final battle slices and dices its way into hearts and minds

Almost an entire hour of pure, unadulterated, action-packed ecstasy.

via Toho

Any historical epic worth its salt is obligated to feature an epic final battle for the ages, one that throws everything but the kitchen sink onto the screen to go out with a bang, although kitchen sinks may be permitted were they in existence during the time period the movie in question is set. Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins barely makes the cutoff by unfolding in 1844, but the filmmaker’s action-packed samurai story didn’t need it to deliver one of the greatest showdowns you’ll ever see in the genre.

Roughly 45 minutes of the film’s 141-minute total are occupied by the grandstanding final face-off, with the regularly controversial and exceedingly prolific Miike proving himself to be a remarkably underrated architect of showstopping set pieces, expertly-orchestrated carnage, and visceral blood-soaked battles between warring factions.

via Toho

In fact, a recent Reddit thread labeling 13 Assassins as “the greatest action movie ever made” may not have found everyone in agreement, but the overwhelming majority of comments and replies nonetheless can’t help but lavish praise on the jaw-dropping execution of a regularly astonishing slice of bravura cinema.

The story finds the titular hired killers secretly hired by a government official to bring a reign of terror to an end, with a local lord embarking on a vicious campaign against his own people. The standard “men on a mission” template it may be, but it’s easy to overlook the more familiar elements in the remake of the 1963 film of the same name when everything else is so undeniably awesome.

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Scott Campbell

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