Sunday, December 29, 2013

Opens December 25, 2013
1 hr 59 min
PG-13 | Intense Sequences of Violence, Some Disturbing Images, Intense Sequences of Action and Thematic Elements

Director Carl Erik Rinsch puts an interesting twist with his version of 47 Ronin.  But with a plot that is all over the place and characters better suited for an Anime, 47 Ronin is destined to fall on its own sword.  From the classic tale of the 47 Ronin that avenges their Lord, Carl Erik Rinsch adds a fantasy element, bringing us witches, dragons, and other mythical and supernatural creatures.

As much as Keanu Reeves is a part of the movie as an outcast to the Japanese shoguns and eventual Ronins, he and the other characters lacked coherent character development that ultimately made you not care if the 47 Ronins succeeded or not.  Throw in a rather slim propped up romance story and seppuku (ritual suicide) that still escapes the westerner's traditional logic of self preservation over honor and you get 47 Ronin.

The highlight of the film is Rinko Kikuchi who plays the witch Mizuki.  You would have seen her most recently in Pacific Rim as Mako.  Her bewitching stare in every scene she's in just gives her a presence that draws your attention.  The chubby ronin whose name I didn't catch was another standout character.  Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) and the other ronins were good in their roles but characters were just not memorable.  The CGI effects were good though not overly impressive.

Overall, I would recommend watching this film as a matinee or just waiting for it to come out for rental or Netflix.  There are just better holiday films out currently that are more deserving of your box office dollars.  For a better Keanu Reeves martial arts film, watch Man of Tai Chi.  For a better fantasy film, watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5.0 Stars


  • Keanu Reeves as Kai, a former slave who joins the Ronin.
  • Hiroyuki Sanada as Oishi, the leader of the Ronin.
  • Kou Shibasaki as Mika, Lord Asano's daughter and Kai's love interest.
  • Tadanobu Asano as Lord Kira, the Shogun's master of ceremonies and the one responsible for killing the Ronin's master.
  • Min Tanaka as Lord Asano, the former master of the Ronin.
  • Jin Akanishi as Chikara, Oishi's son.
  • Masayoshi Haneda as Yasuno
  • Hiroshi Sogabe as Hazama
  • Takato Yonemoto as Basho
  • Hiroshi Yamada as Hara
  • Shu Nakajima as Horibe
  • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shogun Tsunayoshi
  • Rinko Kikuchi as Mizuki, a witch who serves Lord Kira.
  • Yorick van Wageningen as Kapitan
  • Rick Genest as Foreman

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