Movie Review: 47 Ronin

47

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rinko Kikuchi, Tadanobu Asano, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, and thematic elements , Running time 119 minutes, Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Compare to: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), The Immortals (2011)

Wow, man I’m really surprised. While I could have and did tell many that 47 Ronin wasn’t going to make it’s budget for a long time, if at all, I didn’t necessarily expect those that watched it to hate it the way they have.

Critics and audiences seem to agree that 47 Ronin is a mess. Normally, others opinions wouldn’t go onto these reviews but if you couldn’t tell, this one is a little late. All this being said, this movie is fun. I didn’t say good, I said fun.

After their master is tricked and murdered, an group of Ronin join forces with a “half breed” outsider (Reeves) to plot and take revenge on the backstabbing Lord Kira that conspired against them, along with the witch that works for him.

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There you have it. The plot. Ta-daa! Any period film with as much flash as one like 47 Ronin isn’t going for complex but cool. This is often a major mistake. You end up getting a piece of diluted trash that thinks itself an epic action film of legendary proportions when it’s actually a toy battleship that miserably sinks to the bottom of the tub.

And 47 Ronin has it’s moments where it teeters on the edge of this. Characters you’ve seen very little of are injured and get their moment in the spotlight as they recall a story from days of their youth. But just before you think “Why do I care? Get to the friggin’ dragon!” the scene has ended and the realization hits that it was really more about Reeves’ character rather than the guy we knew for two minutes. Then we move on.

...to another fight!

…to another fight!

For a movie to be enjoyable fun in the slightest, we’ve got to get an idea that the filmmakers know what they’re making. And we don’t have much to go on with director Carl Eric Rinsch (whose previous credits include three short films to the whopping 225 million dollar budget Ronin was filmed with) but I never felt bored or wanted things to speed up anymore than they were. Everything is simple, and it all looks cool.

Oh also- did I mention there’s a dragon? Rinko Kukuchi (The Brothers Bloom, Pacific Rim) is the standout role here as the conniving witch that’s straight out of one of those Japanese Horror remakes that were so popular for nine seconds- but in a good way. Her metachromatic eyes and constant swaying as though she were in water make you feel like anything could happen in the scenes she’s in- as long as your ideas involve someone dying.

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And Keanu is…Keanu. Love him or hate him, he’s just Keanu. His gaze, his fight scenes, and his monosyllabic one liners disappeared for a while but he’s back. When you’ve got the one white guy in the remake of the film that all other Japanese films base themselves on as the centerpiece of the entire film, don’t expect to take it too seriously. “I would search for you in a thousand worlds and 10,000 lives for you.” Or something like that, is how a lot of his lines go.

You get the idea.

Positives- Fun fight scenes, Keanu Reeves fighting a dragon is just funny and cool, Doesn’t bog you down pretending to be something it’s not.

Negatives- Fans of the original won’t recognize this movie, Some might label this as another failing attention grabber, creepy witch for those that hate creepy witches, arguably dumb.

Grade: C+

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Fun fact, the above guy that’s made it onto the poster actually has those tattoos. He’s a model named Rick Genest. Don’t know why he made it on the poster though. He’s in it for about fifteen seconds and I’m pretty sure his one line is spoken by another actor. Dude even got his own poster.

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