- Cast: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yûsuke Iseya, Gorô Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura, Mikijiro Hira, Hiroki Matsukata, Ikki Sawamura, Arata Furuta, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Masataka Kubota, Sosuke Takaoka, Seiji Rokkaku, Yûma Ishigaki, Kôen Kondô, Ikki Namioka
- Director: Takashi Miike
- Writers: Daisuke Tengan, Kaneo Ikegami
- Producers: Minami Ichikawa, Tôichirô Shiraishi, Michihiko Yanagisawa
- Executive Producers: Takashi Hirajô, Toshiaki Nakazawa, Jeremy Thomas
- D.O.P.: Nobuyasu Kita
- Editor: Kenji Yamashita
- Music: Kôji Endô
- Production Design: Yuji Hayashida
Set in mid-19th century Japan, a Shogun advisor sets in motion a plan to be carried out by a samurai strike team to kill a sadistic but influentially growing noble lord while he's enroute home. However he's well protected and lead by a warrior who knows the leader of the strike team well.
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- MPAA Warning: Sequences of bloody violence, some disturbing images and brief nudity
- Production Budget: $6 million
- Production Companies: Sedic International, Recorded Picture Company, Dentsu, Shogakukan, TV Asahi, Toho Company, Yahoo Japan
- Production Schedule: July 2009 - September 2009
2011 Guide Analysis: "Not many 50-year-old Japanese men can get Western geeks sexually aroused, but one of the few is filmmaker Takashi Miike. With over four dozen films to his name (he churns out 2-3 films a year) and two bonafide underground genre classics in the forms of "Ichi the Killer" and "Audition", Miike is renowned for his excess, taking extremes to new heights of tastelessness and ultra violence. Topics like incest and necrophilia are common place, as are inventive camera angles ranging from the bottom of a toilet bowl to the inside of a vagina.
When genre directors like David Cronenberg and David Lynch have toned down their voraphiliac and surrealist tendencies respectively, it has resulted in some of their most wide-appealing and acclaimed works ("A History of Violence," "Eastern Promises," "Mulholland Drive," "Twin Peaks"). Miike looks to be adopting the same approach with this remake of Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 black-and-white Japanese film - bringing a few touches of darkness and horror to the all too familiar avenging samurai story which seems to have stayed pretty comfortably in the same mold since Akira Kurosawa's highly influential "Seven Samurai" over five decades ago.
With producers Toshiaki Nakazawa ("Departures") and Jeremy Thomas ("The Last Emperor") onboard, Miike launched the film last year at Cannes and managed to score a nomination for the prestigious Golden Lion a few months later in Venice. Reviews were strong, calling it beautifully photographed, largely faithful to Kudo's original, epic in scale and refreshingly straight-forward for a Miike film. Celebrating both his and our love for the genre and carefully deconstructing it without mocking it, 'Assassins' should also be packing genre fans in for its last act which contains a "45-minute showdown that has to be the best final battle sequence in cinema" according to one review."