7. 13 ASSASSINS (2011)
For its first hour, 13 Assassins is a skillfully made but unexceptional samurai flick. Focused more on exposition than action, the first two acts offer a great deal of backstory and set-up, which, honestly, drags a little bit. But once the shit hits the fan, however, Miike’s mad genius surfaces and 13 Assassins earns its place amongst the director’s craziest works.
The last 40 minutes of 13 Assassins are devoted to one long, vicious, adrenaline-infused battle sequence; it’s a towering achievement for Miike. Hearing of a “40-minute battle scene” might trigger thoughts of boredom or repetition, but neither word is in our dude Takashi’s vocabulary. The sword fights are hardbody, the blood flows in sporadic yet well spaced outbursts, and the actors never slack off.
Back in 1998, Steven Spielberg earned tons of props for the opening battle in Saving Private Ryan; as much as we admire that movie’s extended fight, Miike’s piece de resistance in 13 Assassins is, for our money, far crazier.