by Chris MaGee
Lately I haven't been to kind to Takashi Miike. The man behind "Audition", "Ichi the Killer" and "Happiness of the Katakuris" has recently been shifting away from these Midnight Screening kinds of notorious films and towards big budget manga and anime adaptations like "Crows Zero" and "Yatterman". Hey, the guy works fast, has a great eye, and brings films in on time and on budget! Why shouldn't he benefit by making bigger films and making a bit of money? Don't get me wrong! He should, but at least for me these most recent Miike films have been kind of ho-hum; and when you're the man who brought us such brilliant films as "Audition", "Gozu", "Izo", and "Big Bang Love Juvenile A" ho-hum is downright bad.
Why do I bring this up? Because it looks like Miike's continuing into mainstream blockbuster territory with his upcoming film, the remake of Eiichi Kudo's 1963 jidai-geki "13 Assassins". The difference between this film and "Crows Zero" and "Yatterman" is that if the new trailer for it is any indication Miike's applying some of his old cinematic brilliance to a historic epic. Kudo's original tells the story of thirteen samurai who are secretly enlisted to assassinate a maniacal lord, the younger brother of the Shogun who also happens to be a serial rapist and overall nasty sonofabitch. Miike takes this story to create what looks to be a wildly ambitious action film starring Koji Yakusho and Yusuke Iseya. If I wasn't that excited by the film before I certainly am now. You will be too after watching this trailer!
"13 Assassins" is due out in Japanese theatres on September 25th. Thanks to Wildgrounds for pointing the way to this.