Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins is an action-packed samurai epic, complete with charismatic characters and a shrewdly-defined structure. The assassins are a broad mix of archetypes; their samurai honor notwithstanding, many would be at home in an American heist movie. And because this is Miike, a prolific director who’s known for brutal violence, there are moments of unflinching barbarism that almost caused me to look away. That is not to say that Miike’s depiction of gore is needlessly abusive. It’s necessary for the growth of his villain, whose sadism is so cruel it’s almost funny.