Magnet grabs U.S. rights to Takashi Miike’s samurai action film 13 Assassins and releases two bloody photos to prove it

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Mark Cuban’s Magnet Releasing announced today that it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Takashi Miike’s epic samurai masterpiece, 13 Assassins. The historical action epic, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, recently had its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, has just been named as the Closing Night film at this year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, and will also soon screen at the upcoming London Film Festival. Described as a gorgeously realized, bravura samurai action film in the tradition of Seven Samurai, 13 Assassins is being hailed as one of the best films of Miike’s prolific career, which includes such cult favorites as Bodyguard Kiba, Ichi the Killer, One Missed Call, Gozu, Izo and Sukiyaki Western Django.

Set in 1844 Japan, and based on a 1963 film of the same name, 13 Assassins stars Koji Yakusho (Tokyo Sonata and Babel), and brings together the cream of Japan’s acting talent. Yakusho plays a brave samurai who assembles an elite team of thirteen killers to assassinate the brother of the Shogun, a sadistic and well protected young lord who’s above the law, raping and killing innocents with impunity. The film culminates in a mind-blowing, forty-five minute battle sequence that rivals anything seen before in the genre.

13 Assassins will be released theatrically by Magnet in the spring of 2011.

13 Assassins was executive-produced by RPC’s Jeremy Thomas, who has long held a reputation for breaking Asian titles into the international market, most notably Bernardo Bertolucci’s nine-time Oscar winner The Last Emperor, Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and Takeshi Kitano’s urban gang epic Brother. Toho (famous for owning the Godzilla license) will release the film in Japan on September 25th.

Click on the images below to see them at full size.

Scene from 13 Assassins
Scene from 13 Assassins
Scene from 13 Assassins
Scene from 13 Assassins