47 RONIN is a tale inspired by the true
story of how 47
ronin planned two years to avenge the death of their lord who died at the
treachery of another lord in the age of the samurai in Japan. It has been adapted
before into movies and
plays and now Universal Pictures has made their mark with their version which
is a big budget experiment that didn’t fantasy creatures and CGI landscapes in addition
to finding a weak excuse to explain why Keanu Reeves is supposed to be at the
center of this revenge plot as a half breed named Kai. Kai and 46 ronin
put together a plot in
short fashion after Kai is put into slavery and the lead Japanese ronin is
thrown in a pit for a year after their lord commits seppuku due to the
treachery laid by a witch who can shape shift into a white fox and a dragon
while also being able to manipulate her hair to use chop sticks (and look damn
evil sexy in green satin robes and messy bed head hair).
I enjoyed 47 RONIN to an extent even though
I realize it has
to be one of the most awesome bad big budget movies of the year while writing
this review. Did they really need
fantasy elements to tell the tale of 47 RONIN?
No. Did they need to spend $175
million to $225 million to make this CGI overspend of this movie? No.
Did Rinko Kinkuchi look really sexy as the evil witch and seem to really
enjoy it? Yes, you bet her ass she did.
Should they have got a different director
for this movie and scaled back on the massive budget before even filming
Did they get Japanese culture and the code of the samurai correct? Yes.
They even stay with the ending of the true tale. Maybe they should have
got the director of 13
ASSASSINS to direct it instead and you should check out the plot and execution
of 13 ASSASSINS to see how the revenge plot by ronin plays out much better than
47 RONIN does play out better on a second viewing
notice more how it does give a window into Japanese culture and the samurai
code. The production design is great,
the costume design is luscious, the action sequences are very well executed and
easy to follow (no crazy editing), and the actors are spot on with breathing
life into their characters. Keanu Reeves
is in his zone playing action characters as he imdues with emotion through his
eyes. I am one of the many that is disappointed that the tattooed guy with a
gun on the cover only features in a blink and you will miss him moment. I
say the movie isn’t as bad as some
reviewers make it out to be, but it isn’t my favorite Keanu Reeves movie
Four deleted scenes (almost eight minutes total)
bits that were cut for pacing and story reasons.
RE-FORGING THE LEGEND- The cast and crew talk
about how they
brought 47 RONIN to life for Western audiences with re-imagining it with
fantasy elements. Interviews with cast
and crew are interspersed with behind-the-scenes footage and clips from the
KEANU & KAI- all about the character of Kai
performance of Keanu Reeves as Kai (with praise from the director and crew for
his dedication to bringing the character to life).
STEEL FURY: THE FIGHTS OF 47 RONIN- a behind-the-scenes
at the fighting of 47 RONIN which shows katana training between Keanu Reeves
and Hiroyuki Sanada, modifying the fight scene between Keanu and an eight foot
actor (because they decided not to go the CGI route with the eight foot tall
evil samurai), and more.
MYTHS, MAGIC & MONSTERS: THE FX OF 47 RONIN
looks at how
they created the mythological monsters for the film with a combo of practical
stunt work and CGI effects. Director
Carl Rinsch was responsible for reimagining the creatures of Japanese myth for
Rounding out the blu-ray disc are previews for
and BATTLESTAR GALATICA.
The movie is included on DVD in standard definition
addition to being apply to download and stream the film in Digital HD which
works with Ultraviolet and iTunes.
RONIN plays better on repeat viewings with its blend of action and a look into Japanese
culture of the past. I do wish they
included more extensive making-of featurettes, but the brief featurettes still manage
to give some info on the making of 47 RONIN.
This review is ©4-4-2014 David Blackwell and
reprinted without permission. Send all comments to email@example.com
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