REVIEW: 13 Assassins

13 Assassins
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Written by: Daisuke Tengan (screenplay)
Starring: Kôji Yakusho, Garô Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura, and Takayuki Yamada

It turns out the man behind the gruesome yet oddly beautiful Japanese horror film Audition has the blood for hard-boiled samurai action. 13 Assassins has perhaps the most gloriously choreographed battle sequence since Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings.  Yes, it is that good.

Outside of that nearly 45 minute slice of cinematic glory is a fairly standard if beautifully shot good vs. evil story.  The aging samurai Shinzaemon (Kôji Yakusho) is taken from his quiet days of fishing and secretly tasked by an official in the Japanese Shogun regime to kill the tyrant Naritsugu (Garô Inagaki), who will take a spot on the council and inevitably disrupt the peace with his war-craving lunacy.

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REVIEW: Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written by: Zack Snyder & Steve Shibuya (screenplay)
Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, and Vanessa Hudgens

Remakes and graphic novel adaptations are Zack Snyder’s MO.  Lately though, with last year’s Legend of the Guardians and now Sucker Punch, he’s decided to take his over-stylized style off of the comic book page and map out novels or original material into his own wild odyssey.

Sucker Punch has Snyder’s name all over it from the get-go.  It begins with a violent slow-motion sequence of a young girl (Emily Browning) accidentally shooting her sister when she was aiming for her wicked stepfather and then being brought to a mental hospital where she will await her lobotomy.

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If they were in television… Zack Snyder

Notable films: Dawn of the Dead, 300 and Watchmen.

Famous for: Comic book adaptations. Slow motion during fight scenes, multiple cuts, zoom-ins and close-ups during action sequences. Shooting films entirely in front of a green screen. Dark, grimy visuals with highly saturated colors. Rock and roll soundtracks. War allegories. Releasing movies in March.

Hypothetical title: The Break

Hypothetical premise: The stage is set in San Francisco only moments after the bombings of Pearl Harbor struck the nation. The city is in political chaos as city and government leaders prepare to handle the increasing population of Japanese Americans living amongst the diverse population. Allegories and criticism toward the reaction of 9/11 and modern terrorism can be made throughout the series. This is Snyder’s fictional re-envision of WWII on the west coast. Continue reading

ARCHIVE REVIEW: Watchmen

Watchmen
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written by: David Hayter & Alex Zse (screenplay), Alan Moore (graphic novel)
Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Malin Ackerman, and Billy Crudup

You must give credit where credit is due: Zack Snyder knows which graphic novels to adapt to the screen.  300 was his claim to highly stylized fame, and now with Watchmen, he tackles perhaps the most important graphic novel of all time.  Of course it won’t live up to the source material, even when/especially because he sticks to it almost frame for frame.

Why storyboard when it’s already been done for you?  This appears to be the only original question Snyder poses.  His source material must do all the talking, because he is concerned with stylistic bloodshed by the gallons.  As he did in 300, he lets his characters run rampant within the frame, leaving nothing- violent or sexual -to the imagination.

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