• Great Killing, The

    Released on: July 3, 2012.
    Distributed by: AnimEigo
    Directed by: Eiichi Kudo
    Starring: Koutaro Satomi, Ryutaro Ohtomo, Mikijiro Hira, Toru Abe, Nami Munakata
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    The Movie:

    Building upon the success of his 13 Assassins director Eiichi Kudo and writer Kaneo Ikegami set up a similar tale with The Great Killing. However, in this time around, the motivation of the assassins involved are much more socialist in nature and, thus, more connected to real-world parallels.

    The story here focuses mostly on Jimbo, a lowly Shogunate bodyguard, and how he gets dragged into a revolution against the current oppressive regime. But the story does not stay solely on him here; rather, the storyline moves from conspirator to conspirator while balancing with the character of the Inspector General who’s committed to rooting them out and stopping them at last.

    What The Great Killing does best - beyond another fantastic long ending of the assassination itself - is to convey the various human faces of the political world and how it affects the personal world. Some, like Jimbo, are dragged unwilling into action, while others are delusional religious fanatics or parents concerned with life for future generations. None of these participants come to this revolution by “either/or” decisions and the film takes its very intentional time in getting that point across. It’s not belabored by this exposition, though, but rather serves to not only enhance the plausibility and realism but, also, to explain and justify the very final turn of events in the film’s story.

    Well-paced, very well-shot and with a gripping story of political activism to tell The Great Killing is an exceptional samurai film.


    While the print for this DVD from AnimEigo suffers from some considerable pockmarking that’s limited to just a few scenes and only in the blackest parts of the shot. Otherwise, the presentation is rather stunning, retaining the full 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen display that’s necessary to this epic film. The audio is handled by a Dolby Digital 2.0 that is very well balanced, contrasting the quiet, peaceful scenes with the outright riotous finale. Subtitle options are the regular high-standard for AnimEigo’s DVD’s, offering Japanese-language-only audio but with yellow or white subtitling and the further options of dialog only, captions only, or full subtitles (which includes on-screen explanations of some terms used).

    Program notes and production bios are included which, while not lengthy, are certainly informative. An image gallery - featuring the outstanding poster for the film - as well as trailers for other samurai films are available as well. And a chapter selection with animated scenes rounds out the extras found here.


    The second film in Kudo’s tremendous Samurai Revolution Trilogy, The Great Killing successfully and artistically combines the notion of political activism in repressive regimes and the human cost of it all.