Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that 13 Assassins is an incredibly violent samurai action movie, from the maverick Japanese cult director Takashi Miike, who is known for some of the most intense movies of the past ten years (including Audition). The final 45 minutes of the movie is a bloody, sustained battle sequence that literally includes rivers of blood, spraying and spurting blood, and hundreds of dead bodies. Weapons used include swords, bows and arrows, fire, and bombs. Rape, the murder of women and children, and the act of hara-kiri are all portrayed off-screen. Most disturbingly, we see one of the villain's victims: a naked woman whose arms, legs, and tongue have been cut off. Additionally, there's some sexual innuendo and some sake drinking. This review applies to the American theatrical release and the DVD/Blu-Ray release, which runs 126 minutes. The original Japanese version, which is not yet officially available in the U.S., runs 141 minutes.
There's no sex, but a naked woman is shown; she's the victim of the main villain; her arms, legs, and tongue have all been cut off. Needless to say, it's not a sensual image, but rather a violent and disturbing one. There's also some sexual innuendo in the form of dialogue among the men. A small naked boy is seen urinating.
Not much happens until the movie's final third, when it turns into one of the longest, bloodiest, and most sustained battle sequences ever filmed. There are literally rivers of blood flowing from the hundreds of dead bodies slain on the battlefield, in addition to spurting and spraying blood. We see one of the villain's victims, a woman with her arms and legs chopped off (and her tongue cut out). It's a gruesome, disturbing sight. Characters use swords, bows and arrows, bombs, and fire. We see bashing, stabbing, and beheadings. Bulls are lit on fire and sent into battle. The villain rapes women, and kills women and children (all off-screen). A man commits hara-kiri (off-screen).
The movie's main theme is revenge, although the target is a sociopath so unspeakably evil that his death feels like a good deed. (It is implied that killing him will save the lives of many future victims.) Characters bravely and calmly agree to risk their lives and work together to stop him.
Drugs / Tobacco /
The men drink sake in one scene, in a social setting.