I wasn’t even expecting an award winning film when I entered the cinema, but I could swear that I wasn’t expecting that either. A boring, incoherent film, which clearly billed Reeves as its main start to attract big audiences, because he barely speaks three words, becoming an instantly dull character. That is what hurts the most: to realise that not even the loved-by-all Keanu Reeves can stop this ship from sinking. I’m so sorry, Keanu. This review is not about you, it is about the movie. It is not your fault, it’s your character’s.
47 Ronin tells the real story of 47 men in 18th century Japan who decided to avenge the death of their lord – ronin is the name given to a samurai with no lord or leader -. The real event happened because Asano Naganori, their master, tried to kill court official Kira Yoshinaka, and therefore was forced to commit suicide to re-establish the honour of his people. The ronin, led by Asano’s counsellor Ōishi Yoshio, plotted their revenge for more than a year. They managed to kill Kira eventually, and then were allowed to commit suicide the same way Asano had.
The film also adds new characters, the most important being the one Keanu Reeves plays, Kai, who is a mixed-race man raised by Asano. Of course, the movie creates the figure of Asano’s daughter, Mika, and boosts and impossible romance between them.
That is simply a waste of Keanu Reeves, who limits himself to silly lines and some fights. Everything he says throughout the film could be summarised with “I have always loved you”. That’s it. Such a shame, but it seems like he is there only to create a romance within the revenge story. And he doesn’t even have any chemistry with Kō Shibasaki, the actress playing Mika.
One should also feel bad about Hiroyuki Sanada – impressive as Ōishi, he is the best thing of the film -, Tadanobu Asano, Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi and Jin Akanishi. Like Kō, they are all very famous actors in Japan, and it must be disappointing for them to see the result of this movie, considering that the story of the 47 ronin is the national legend of their country.
I yawned, and I closed my eyes, and I don’t usually do that. I like to give a film an opportunity, up to the very end, but it was impossible. At some point, while making this film, they must have lost their way. It could have been a great story, but it wasn’t. Let’s all forget about it, and hope that all these actors find something better soon.
- Keanu Reeves’ ’47 Ronin’ Bombing: Universal Prepares for Big Loss (variety.com)
- 47 Ronin (telegraph.co.uk)
- Movie Review: I Paid Money To See 47 RONIN So You Don’t Have To (badassdigest.com)
- Movie Review: 47 Ronin (2013) (ageeksblog.com)