13 Assassins

Hey, what’s a movie without sex and violence? Not much if you’re hot Japanese director Takashi Miike. Miike makes movies at a phenomenal speed, with some 80 video and film productions since his 1997 debut, but his work is not for the faint of heart. Outrageously dripping with sadism and stomach-churning violence, even his 2006 contribution to Showtime’s anthology Masters of Horror was banned as too disturbing for U.S. audiences. Here, in the period piece 13 Assassins, in its Houston premiere, Miike intones Kurosawa and a whole lot of Bruce Lee, as he remakes in his own slashing style Eiichi Kudo’s somewhat famous 1963 film. The very evil brother of the shogun is targeted for assassination before he usurps further power. A venerable samurai is entrusted with the deed, and he enlists 12 others to help him. That’s all there is to the plot; it’s the visceral excitement, gruesome details, and whiplash editing that make the movie. Heads get sliced off, bodies burn, arrows pierce and justice prevails - a little. 11:55 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray. For information, call 713-866-8881 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com. $9.50.
Fri., May 27, 11:55 p.m.; Sat., May 28, 11:55 p.m., 2011
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D.L. Groover has contributed to countless reputable publications including the Houston Press since 2003. His theater criticism has earned him a national award from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) as well as three statewide Lone Star Press Awards for the same. He's co-author of the irreverent appreciation, Skeletons from the Opera Closet (St. Martin's Press), now in its fourth printing.
Contact: D. L. Groover