The UK blu ray release of Taskashi Miike's 13 Assassins was released here yesterday, I picked it up and last night gave it a spin. First the negatives, unfortunately this region B disc, like the US release features only the international version rather than Miike's longer Japanese cut. This despite the missing scenes being included as an extra. As I understand it the rights for the Japanese version were never made available, so this is not the fault of Artificial Eye (the film's UK distributor). What this means is that currently there is no English friendly release of the longer version available, which will hopefully be rectified soon. The only other issue I have with this release is the terrible cover art as seen below.
Moving onto the good stuff, the blu ray looks superb, the image has real depth and retains a veneer of fine grain resulting in a very film like look. Outdoor scenes look stunning with interiors looking a little flatter, this is due to the scenes being mostly lit by candlelight and are true to how it looked in the theatre. The nigh on perfect image is supported by a wonderfully robust DTS-HDMA 5.1 soundtrack, that delivers the excellent score and brutal sound effects with rich depth and clarity.
Extras include the film's trailer, an almost 19 minute interview with Miike and the aforementioned deleted scenes. The missing 20+ scenes are presented in the form of a 23 minute feature and unfortunately, cannot be selected individually. On the plus side they are of the same image quality as the main feature and subtitled. They vary from extending scenes by a few seconds to whole scenes. Highlights include an attempted mugging on one assassin, an amusing scene where Koyata proves his steel and another where he proves a different kind of steel by working his way through every girl in a brothel before finishing with the male owner of the establishment!
It's a shame the Japanese cut couldn't be included on the blu ray as well as the shorter cut, as it just means a double dip in the future. No matter as this is a fantastic release of a truly memorable and great film and that double dip will just be an excellent reason to watch it again.