Destined to become a classic in the Samurai canon, 13 Assassins pulses with vitality, precision and wild abandon. In classic form, the first half of the film builds a cast of characters, 13 Samurai banding together to seek out and destroy a sadistic ruler and the army at his command. The 13 noble samurai make a final stand in a small town in the countryside. The final half of the film boils over with mayhem and bloodshed. The Samurai fight in close quarters in the alleys, on the rooftops, and inside the buildings of the town against impossible numbers.
Magnanimous to the end, this film’s action sequences are unflinchingly wild and raw. Fighting for glory is enough for some of the characters. Not enough for others. Questions hang in the air regarding nobility, honor, and even elegance for the sake of elegance. Meaning is found in a lives lived in service of noble purposes. Or in defense of the defenseless. Pride and glory are never fully absent from even the most selfless of sacrifices. No manner of loss is too little if it redeems something or someone, and self-sacrifice is an ideal, both for what it is and for what it means.