13 Assassins (Magnet/Magnolia, Blu-ray or standard DVD, R, 125 min.). Japanese director Takashi Miike is noted for pushing the envelope, but here he presents a very traditional film, reminiscent of the “Seven Samurai” and a remake of a 1963 film. The story is set in 1844 at the end of Japan’s feudal era, a time when the samurai era was ending due to extended peace. However, that peace is threatened by Lord Naritsugu (played by Goro Inagaki, a member of the boy band SMAP). He is the Shogun’s sadistic younger brother, who is gaining in power.

Miike spares the viewer nothing in showing Naritsugu’s horrors. But first, there is a ritual suicide in protest of Naritsugu’s actions. In a flashback, we see Naritsugu kill his host’s son after murdering the man’s wife. We meet a woman whose limbs and tongue he cut off so he could make her his plaything. And we see him use a whole family as archery target practice. It is clear Naritsugu must die, and so top Shogun official Sir Doi (Mikijiro Hira) takes action, enlisting Shinzaemon (a wonderful Koji Yakusho) to do the deed. Shinzaemon enlists 11 other samurai to help him and decides to take a stand at the town of Ochiai, which lies in the path they force Naritsugu and his warriors to take, by having another route blocked by the man whose son he had killed. Shinzaemon and his men booby trap Ochiai, after buying out all the innkeepers. Along the way to Ochiai, they pick up member 13, a strange mountain man who seems impervious to pain. Ultimately it is 13 versus 200 in the final, climatic battle, which takes 50 minutes of screen time.

The Blu-ray version looks great — Miike knows how to frame a scene — but it also has a superb audio track, from footfalls when walking to the whiz of arrows and the sound of a sword entering flesh. There are 18 short deleted scenes (18:14), including four bits excised from the battle sequence. There also is a 15:43 interview with Miike, but with a very weak questioner. The Blu-ray comes with a digital copy. Grade: film 3.75 stars; extras 2.75 stars

The Warrior’s Way (Fox, Blu-ray or standard DVD, R, 100 min.). In this highly stylized film — nearly every backdrop was done via green screen — Jang Dong-Gun plays Yang, the greatest swordsman in history (we know this because we see him defeat the previous greatest swordsman). He is part of the Sad Flutes (“The sound made when the throat is cut”) assassin clan, ordered to wipe out an enemy clan totally. However, Yang spares the last of the enemy, a young infant girl he decides to protect. This act, though makes him the enemy of his own clan.

Yang decides to head for the U.S. Badlands, where a friend of his had moved. That friend is dead and the town, Lode, is down to about 500 souls but, led by midget 8-Ball (Tony Cox), they hope to turn things around with the circus they are putting together. (How poor is the town? Well, the hotel door just leads to the desert beyond … There is no real building.) Lynne (Kate Bosworth) befriends Yang and helps him run his dead friend’s laundry. Lynne has a violent past involving the Colonel (Danny Huston), and now he and his cowboys ride into town. She is determined to get revenge, and again parts of the town are set as traps for the cowboys. However, the Sad Flutes arrive midway through the battle, adding a whole other dimension. Geoffrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”) plays the town drunk, who just happens to be a gunslinger with the weapon known as The Circumciser (the 11 deleted scenes include two versions of how the gun got its name).

Korean writer-director Sngmoo Lee has created a visually stunning film. (I particularly like the assassins in their black capes so they look like bats when they jump from the rooftops.) The heightened colors are quite interesting as well. The music, by Javier Navarrete (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), is wonderful. Only the script lets  the film down. Other than the deleted scenes (12:10), the Blu-ray has a 2:26 behind-the-scenes montage and a digital copy of the film. Grade: film 2.75 stars; extras 2 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

Additional reviews are available online at villagesoup.com and include Nicolas Cage in “Season of the Witch,” and more Far East fighting in “Legend of the Fist” and “Kingdom of War.”