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13 Assassins Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Narrative
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: July 5, 2011
  • List Price: $29.98

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13 Assassins - Widescreen Subtitle AC3

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer; Sukiyaki Western Django), one of Japan’s favorite cult film directors steps into the samurai genre with the awesome action-packed 13 Assassins, an instant classic anyway you look at it. If you like action, if you like relentless sword play, limbs flying, and the intense drama of the way of the samurai, then 13 Assassins has it all in abundance.

Set at the end of Japan’s feudal period, 13 Assassin’s plot is deceptively simple. It involves an elite samurai, Shinzaemon (Kôji Yakusho) who is tasked to put together a group of elite samurai to attack and assassinate a sadistic Lord before he can be allowed to join the shogunate and plunge the country into war. Tragically undermanned, but determined to carry out their duty, the 12 samurai and one wandering guide hold true to their task, doing their duty to the bitter end. The film culminates in one staggeringly blood-filled battle of clashing swords.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

13 Assassins looks very strong and clean, as one would expect, in this 2.35:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer from Magnolia. There is a thin layer of grain that varies in intensity just a tad. Black levels are somewhat deep while shadow details are very extended.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is very subtle, but also very good. The surround channels engulf you in just the right amount of atmospherics from the crackle of fire to the squeaking of floorboards. High frequencies are natural, which is good given the constant clash of metal to end the film which never becomes fatiguing. One thing I did find, however, was that dialogue sometimes sounded a bit muffled and unnatural. There was a good, wide, and active spread of sounds across the front, particularly during the fight sequences. Low frequencies didn’t boom, but they were used effectively to add a lot of heft to the slash of blades and other blows.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

There’s not much here, but the interview with Takashi Miike will definitely be of interest and, of course, it’s always good to see the studios including a digital copy with their releases.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Interview with Director Takashi Miike
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • BD-Live
  • Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Perhaps 13 Assassins doesn’t reach the epic level of a Kurosawa film such as Kagemusha 0r Seven Samurai, but as far as samurai films go, this is one of the most enjoyable I have ever watched. 13 Assassins is an awesome dose of bloody action and samurai pride. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004XQO8R8[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
13 Assassins - Widescreen Subtitle AC3

Purchase 13 Assassins on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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