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47 Ronin
Runtime: 118 min
Rated: PG-13
Released: 25 Dec 2013
Director: Carl Rinsch
Writer: Chris Morgan (screenplay), Hossein Amini (screenpl
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano
DVD release: 01 Apr 2014
Box Office: $38.3M
Company: Universal Pictures
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Tomato user meter: 55%
Tomato consensus: 47 Ronin is a surprisingly dull fantasy adventure, one that leaves its talented international cast stranded within one dimensional roles.

47 Ronin

2013
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
A band of samurai set out to avenge the death and dishonor of their master at the hands of a ruthless shogun.
6.6IMDB
12%Rotten Tomatoes
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    REVIEWS:
    • Honor in Death!!!A band of samurai who have lost there master set out to avenge his treacherous death at the hands of Lord Kira. Enter Kai, a humble "half breed" with more to him than meets the eye, with catching favor with the fallen Lord's daughter, Kai must join the 47 Ronin to not only avenge his honor but save the woman he loves..

      Very visually appealing with a nice blend of action and a wonderful nod to ancient Japanese mythology. I felt though that there could have been more to the story, simple and cliched in some areas but overall an enjoyable film. Keanu does a decent job with his part but the true meat and potatoes comes from Hiroyuki Sanada, who does a masterful job in his portrayal as the chief ronin, Oishi . The true pleasure and joy within this film is its nod and ode to the ancient Japanese mythology of the time, which in my opinion is done very well. Some may not understand the conclusion of this film but in a little learned knowledge of the culture one would see it for what it was intended for.. All in all an enjoyable movie and film for any fan of action films and historical fantasy.
      show full movie reviewsource7/10
    • Not bad at all.I just saw the movie and my expectations were met. It wasn't over-hyped, it wasn't over done as far as marketing is concerned. It probably could have used a little more, but none the less... It turned out to be a fun film to watch.

      I am pretty familiar with the original tale and legend of the real 47 Ronin and despite historical inaccuracies, which even most stories today are going to have to create a more dramatic and exciting story like old tall tales. One comes to mind as Frank Miller's Graphic Novel 300 which ended up being film, it was widely inaccurate compared to the true events that occurred, but it made the 300 Spartans look even more awesome and exciting to watch. Most stories have embellishment in them. Otherwise they would be kind of dull. The real world usually tends to be just that.

      Making this film isn't just about telling a cool story, it is to immortalize those warrior's that stood fast and strong to fight for what they believed in and at the same time make them look good doing it.

      The visuals were great, the costume design was great, the filmography was amazing, capturing the essence of Japan was awesome. Everything down to the colors, the landscape, trees, buildings and everything. Not everyone will like this movie, but I for one would recommend it to anyone that enjoys good movie about Samurai. This movie I thought had a good story. It wasn't great or Academy Award worthy but it was good. It wasn't all non stop action. The director did a good job of building up without making parts drag and become dull.

      I honestly thought while watching it, it felt like watching a live action anime. Not to mention, I have an obsession with Samurai so I was sold when I saw the first trailer for the film.

      Overall, I thought the acting was well done, I think Keanu Reeves did a good job. His character may not have been part of the true story, but for the film I thought it introduced something good for the film. First being an outcast and then being welcomed into the fold later in the film.

      I also liked Hiroyuki Sanada's acting job in this. I think he did an amazing job as well as the entire supporting cast. They all acted as if they truly belonged there. No one ever felt out of place.

      If you want historical accurate view on the story, I suggest you buy a book or do some hardcore research into the subject. If you just want to watch a good entertaining movie full of mysticism, and Samurai action. Then this is a good way to go. This is just my opinion, take it as you like. Watch it before you criticize it. That is all I have to say!
      show full movie reviewsource8/10
    • An odd, fantastical twist on a true story - not as bad as you're expecting, though not as good as history would have it.It never bodes well for a film when its release date is delayed - much less when it's been pushed back a whole year, ostensibly to accommodate reshoots that would bump up Keanu Reeves' completely imaginary role in a Western blockbuster take on a classic, awe-inspiring tale right out of the Japanese history books. That way lies disaster and madness, one would think - and certainly the bland, monster-heavy trailers for 47 Ronin did the film no favours. Smack down your inner critic, however, and this epic fantasy flick - for that's what it is - turns out to be reasonably palatable fare.

      The bare bones of the true story are all there: the kindly Lord Asano (Min Tanaka) is ordered to commit seppuku - ritual suicide by disembowelment - when he almost mortally offends Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano - a nicely ironic name if ever there was one). This renders all the honourable samurai in Asano's service masterless i.e., ronin. Led by the noble Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), the loyal band of 47 ronin vow to avenge Asano - even though they have been ordered by their Shogun (top military commander) not to do so.

      What's less accurate, of course, is pretty much all the rest of it. Reeves plays Kai, a half-British, half-Japanese orphan who's taken in by Asano but treated like an outcast by everyone in the household - except, of course, for Asano's loving daughter Mika (Kou Shibasaki). Kira's nefarious plans have the support of Mizuki (Rinko Kikuchi), a witch who can apparently take any form she likes: wolf, snake or dragon. It's all a bit nonsensical, especially when Kai tries to get swords for the ronin amongst some pretty creepy folk who have gone from society's outcasts to being part of what looks like a supernatural cult.

      In other words, 47 Ronin is a faintly ridiculous addition to the wealth of Chushingura - fictionalised accounts of the 47 ronin tale - that already exist in Japan. It's the kind of big, dumb blockbuster in which the good guys literally live to die another day as long as the plot calls for it. These fearless ronin even survive when the villain is protected by a witch with crazy mystical powers! She can set an entire field on fire, create poisonous spiders and turn into a dragon! And the ronin - at least 47 of them - live anyway! It's crazy!

      That's what makes it all the more surprising when 47 Ronin turns out to be... well,actually not half-bad. Once you've accepted the sillier aspects of the film for what they are, it's easy to get swept along by its very earnest drama and spectacle. Reeves' storyline is a made-up jumble of nonsense, but is played very straight - this is, in effect, Sad Keanu: The Movie - and it just about works. Casting Reeves as the outsider allows him to do what he does best: play the role with stony-faced reserve, whether he's levelling up by battling demons in cage matches or pining moodily after Mika. Kai's restrained love story with Mika is fairly predictable stuff, with the girl fading a little too much into the background (don't expect any bloodletting from Shibasaki, Battle Royale fans), but it's salvaged by the rather non-Hollywood way in which it all ends.

      For all that Reeves takes centre stage in the publicity campaign, the film belongs just as much to Sanada's Oishi. He undertakes a more arduous emotional journey: one that takes him from grudging to full-hearted acceptance of Kai's worth as a warrior and comrade. His relationship with his family is more fully examined than Kai's unwavering loyalty to the Asano clan. As Oishi plots his course of action, one that will bring him shame for disobeying the Shogun even as he avenges his master, he warns his wife and son Chikara (Jin Akanishi) to disavow him. Their reactions provide some of the most emotionally resonant moments in the entire film.

      All things considered, the title of the film is a bit of a misnomer - it would more accurately be called 2 Ronin, subtitled Oishi And Kai's Excellent Adventure - and it suffers from a lamentable lack of humour and historical accuracy. But it's not a complete travesty. Tucked away beneath a layer of mystical beasts and witches lies a story with enough heart, nobility and soul to survive even the oddest twists and turns.
      show full movie reviewsource6/10
    • Not nearly as bad as haters are making it out to be!The reviews for this film seem to be pretty negative generally speaking. Pivoting around the historical inaccuracies and the addition of the "Half Breed" character played by Keanu Reeves to this legendary tail. More on that further in.

      In a nut shell. 47 Ronin has a fair amount of mystical magic and demons peppered throughout a historical tail. A tale of Samurai who's master is killed and their status is reduced to Ronin. Only for them to rise up and seek revenge against the evil ruler and his witch who are responsible.

      Let's get to some positive stuff. Visually the 47 Ronin is beautiful. The costumes design and color choices to separate each of the different clans is impressive in it's complexity. The villains are not just dressed in black, but a fair amount of purple and silver is mixed in to highlight the details in their armor. The sets have an epic feel that is grounded and doesn't feel to fantastic, but rather believable.

      Now on to the "Half Breed", who mainly adds the taste of a forbidden love story as well as a lifeline to the audience, drowning is a sea of unfamiliar faces. Many, if not most reviewers who've pan this movie for the addition of the "half breed" character fail to realize his importance for the audience. Around the start of the third act, there's a scene where one of the samurai apologies for his treatment of the half breed in a way that communicates to the viewer exactly where a Ronin places in the Japanese cultural/social structure vs where a Samurai does. The inclusion of this character and his treatment throughout the movie is an important plot device. Seeing his treatment by the Samurai as an outcast in the first act, then later his acceptance once they are labeled as Ronin is vital to the evolution of the main Japaneses characters of the story. Not to mention it helps to bridge a gap for an audience unfamiliar with Japanese cultural and social structure.

      Historical inaccuracy are common in Hollywood. I personally view the ones in 47 Ronin to be no more reprehensible then the ones committed in superheroes films. Yes, I am comparing changes made to characters from Batman, X-Men, Spiderman and Iron Man's cannon to this historical tale of the 47 Ronin. Deal with it, they're just stories after all. We really have no way to know it there really wasn't a half breed character, do we? After all, history is told by the winners, and often inaccurately.

      With a 2 hour run time, it did feel a bit slow to start, setting the stage for the second and third act. Once it gets going tho, it moved rather nicely. I didn't find myself checking my watch every 10 minutes wondering when it would end like another holiday release I won't mention. If the trailer interests you then you could probably do worst at the box office this holiday season. I enjoyed it, but that's just my opinion.
      show full movie reviewsource8/10
    • An Entertaining Samurai Epic That Falls Short47 Ronin is a highly fictionalized take on the story of the 47 ronin who took revenge on a court official who had the 47's leader commit seppuku. In the film, Keanu Reeves portrays Kai, a half-British Half-Japanese outcast who is called upon by Oishi, the leader of the 47. The 47 seek revenge on Lord Kira, who also has an evil witch (Rinko Kikuchi) serving under him, who killed their master.

      The movie itself looks absolutely phenomenal, with amazing visual effects, an emotional and gripping musical score, and strong performances from Keanu and Hiroyuki Sanada, who portrays Oishi. The major problem that i saw with the movie was that, it was over way too fast. They left out important character development for the witch and a few other characters, which really could have added more emotional flame to the film. Plus, the movie overall could have easily been twenty, thirty minutes longer. If it were, i would say it can rank alongside 13 Assassins and The Last Samurai. The script was well-written in terms of dialogue (some cheesy lines), but the overall script was devoid of real depth and thought. Then, Carl Erik Rinsch's directing was actually pretty good, but had a few too many cut-aways.

      47 Ronin is an extremely action-packed samurai/fantasy epic that is something you don't want to miss on the big-screen (for a cheap price). Though, if you want to see something award-worthy in terms of writing and directing, hope for a Director's/Extended cut on disc, for you won't find it here. But great performances, visual effects and emotion really help make this movie stand out, even with The Desolation of Smaug as competition.
      show full movie reviewsource7/10