47 Ronin (2013)

“None of us are samurai!”

words: desmond “neo” childs

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47 Ronin is a tale about a group of “failures”–underdogs who are supposed to be disgraced. Ironically enough,

the film itself seemed to be shamed and looked down upon on its theatrical release. Why? Oh, perhaps a movie starring Keanu Reeves always runs that risk of failing to make a profit. Now add a movie based on a Japanese folk tale. Yeah, it’s not looking so good. And we haven’t even gotten to the important part–is the movie any good?

Directed By: Carl Rinsch

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Mr. Rinsch’s work here is solid. The pacing was great, and the characters flowed in and out of a mysterious, magical land pretty seamlessly. There wasn’t anything I disliked about the direction, and the scenes depicting the Tengu (demons of the forest) were among the best–along with the ‘evil dragon’ scenes. Some of the knocks against the film seemed to be that it simply glossed over the old Japanese folk tale. Okay, what if it did? If the negative is that parts of the original story were left out, that is not really a criticism of the film, but of the early stages of Mr. Rinsch and co’s work on the project. With that being said, I only choose to analyse what does take place in the movie–whether it was cohesive, or if I understood and enjoyed all that took place. And with this iteration of 47 Ronin, I did. I will say the one part of the film that felt “glossed over” was the rejoining of the 47 masterless samurai. The movie did not spend any real-time getting to know any of the samurai on a personal level (save one or two), and settled on light touches of humanity to go with the dizzying sword fights and sieges. I was okay with that. Apparently there were many that weren’t as thrilled about it. Those are the breaks of being in the business of making movies. This was a solid-grade picture which I recommend for pretty much anyone. There are some scenes that involved mythical creatures that make the movie a little scary for anyone under 13–but it’s a bloodless, upbeat take on an old folk tale that generally carries a pretty downbeat ending. Loyalty and honor above all else–the way of the Bushido. The 47 Ronin (click here to read more on it) displayed those two qualities to their fallen master which makes them heroes. At least in this version of the tale.

As for Keanu Reeves, the only American actor you’d recognize in this film–the actor many often poke fun of for his “robotic delivery” and “horrid acting”–he did well serving as the “half-breed” with ties to the forest demons.

Red Box ’47 Ronin’ now, because it’s a good movie to watch–along or with some friends.

 

 

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