Movie Details

47 Ronin

A 3D movie about 47 samurai who, upon the death of their master, they are unable to commit hara-kiri, thus, shamed into becoming the titular ronin as ronin is a Japanese term that means lordless samurai. Despite the great wound to their pride and spirit, the newly anointed ronin rediscover their reason to fight when they decide to avenge their dead lord. Over the course of a year, the ronin patiently wait out their plan against the villain who brought about his downfall. But what happens when Kai (Keanu Reeves), a half-breed outsider, with a mysterious past falls in love with a princess?

Language: English
Subtitle: Chinese
Classification: PG13
Release Date: 19 Dec 2013
Genre: Action / Adventure
Running Time: 1 Hour 59 Minutes
Distributor: United International Pictures
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki
Director: Carl Rinsch
Format: 2D, 3D

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Review
Writer: Casey Lee

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Watch this if you liked: "Pathfinder", "The Last Samurai".

Kai (Keanu Reeves) is a half Japanese and English boy, who manages to escape from a magical forest and is taken in by Lord Asano (Min Tanaka), protector and governor of the Ako province. Years later, the province of Ako is preparing for a visit from the Shogun (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and the hosting of a martial tournament between the champions of Ako and a rival district, governed by Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano).

Using deceptive magic from a witch (Rinko Kikuchi), Lord Asano is disgraced for attacking his guest and is commanded to commit ritualistic suicide to restore the honour of his clan. Upon his death, this leaves his samurai followers, led by Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), without a master and they are cast out from the province as ronins.

Those who had heard a little about Japanese history would have certainly heard about the 47 Ronins, which is the source material that had clearly inspired this feature debut of Carl Rinsch. Though those who are familiar with the story should be made aware that this is a highly fictionalised (from an arguably very Western perspective) retelling of the story, with the insertion of mythical creatures and magics, where the average Japanese can speak an accented English while claiming to take place in the real Japan. This is mostly distracting for those who want to see a story about loyalty, honour (persistently interchanged with the word 'dignity' here throughout) and the way of the warrior, that gets addressed superficially and unconvincingly. Added with the gaudy costumes by Penny Rose and a case can be made that Rinsch hasn't found a balance to pay homage or using the story of the 47 Ronin as a framework for a more outrageous vision.

Keanu Reeves' character is created here just to be attached with this project, which to be honest, gives as much variety to the proceedings of the movie as his expressions. The pacing starts out with an overdrawn opening, and the beats are nothing remarkable even with the decent quality of CGI but cannot do the work of overcoming the stiff performance from a constraining script. Although there is a climax to look forward to, it is hard to tell whether it is because of diminishing returns of excitement being set in the beginning that the final battle looks more impressive.

"47 Ronin" feels pretty much made for an audience who can grab onto the appeals of the samurai tradition being told in a fantastical fashion, but it can only fool those who can barely tell the difference between a wakizashi and a katana. To call it a samurai movie would be a dishonourable, but to the average movie goer who can enjoy not knowing the real context of its inspiration, it cleanly meets their expectations.


Cinema Online, 23 December 2013
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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