Prolific Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike's (back this week with First Love) epic is his magnum opus – a stunning, spectacular and action-packed account of a group of Ronin fighting against a ruthless warlord.
The 13 ronin – samurai without a master – in question are outraged and disgusted by the cruelty of Lord Naritsugu. Fearing his desire for power will result in more innocent deaths, they devise a plan to be rid of him. But this means destroying his entire army.
Like Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, the first half of Miike's film details Naritsugu's crimes and the rising force against him. Their plan is laid out in detail before the film enters its second half and the battle itself, which is executed with extreme prejudice. It's a spectacular battle, balancing breathtakingly choreographed sequences with more intimate scenes, highlighting the courage of and cost to the ronin.
★★★★ "Intense and always spectacular" - Anton Bitel, Little White Lies
★★★★ "Remarkably controlled" - Tim Robey, The Telegraph