Movie Review - 47 Ronin

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The last time I saw Keanu Reeves in a movie was the Matrix, and it was awesome. And a Samurai-themed movie with fantasy/magical/demonical elements should be interesting... no?

One unexpected, special guest appearance in this movie would definitely make you excited..

THE MYSTERIOUS, ELUSIVE FOX from YLVIS - What does the fox says!


Movie Title - 47 Ronin

Genre:   +  (It means Action + ADVENTUREEE!)

Synopsis: Keanu Reaves in an all Japanese cast - HUH? Turns out that he is a half-breed.. escaping from something. This fantasy element is inter-weaved with the factual event about the 47 Ronins in ancient Japan. Ronins are Samurais without a lord/master, and we get to see why they are without a lord. Basically, it's a kingdom A versus Kingdom B thing, but Kingdom A did something despicable which resulted in the fall of Kingdom B. These 47 Ronins, after being wrongfully punished, decided to take action in their own...... katanas.

Review: Gorgeous, gorgeous sets in this movie. The attention to the details of ancient Japan is done very well! I found myself admiring the pretty zen lights, the intricate carvings on their Samurai armor, the Sakura trees that adorns almost every scene, the cute Japanese umbrella..etc. FULL MARKS for the props used and the sets! Just look at some of the props from behind-the-scenes:

"Look at the pretty Japanese lights!"


The fantasy or fictional element that was weaved in was interesting, but there was no depth in the development of Keanu Reeves character. For the whole time, during the final epic boss scene with him and the movie's antagonist - which is a witch, I was expecting Keanu to display more "powers", but the only special thing about him was that he can move exceptionally fast. Uh... okay. Usain Bolt can also defeat a witch if it's like that. 

But the rest of the battle scenes were pretty well done. I LOVED the part when they go into the Tengu forest to seek for more swords. The part when the "demon" started moving his head was very similar to the scene when Emily Rose in "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" was possessed by the demon - spook factor was there! The final climax where the Ronins confront their enemies with their stealth was pretty good as well. 

What I did not like was the slow story pacing and the little emotional investment to the characters. There were many rough cuts to the movie as well that made some parts disjointed. 

Also, "Seppuku" or stomach-cutting, where Samurais perform a ritual suicide by plunging a short blade into the abdomen and moving the blade from left to right in a slicing motion, was edited away for the PG-13 rating. In Japanese culture, "Seppuku" is an act to protect a warrior's honour, and it plays an important element in Samurai's honour code (or bushido). It is an extremely painful way of suicide, and is used to display courage and strong resolve of a Samurai. They should not have cut or censored it away because it deprives the audience a special kind of grandeur-moment on screen.

I was also disappointed at the Witch versus Keanu Reeves fight, it should have been longer, with each side displaying their magical prowess. If you decide to weave this magical fantasy in, then make it awesome and epic!

However, it is overall still a good movie to watch during your Christmas holidays if you have already caught Frozen and Hunger Games. The special guest appearance of the fox will make you think of WHAT THE FOX SAYS every.single.time. (RING-DING-DING-DING-DINGERERINGDING!)

If you haven't, then it is better for you to catch those 2 movies on big screen first, this movie can wait for DVD.

Stay back for: No ending credits, no need to stay back. Can quickly run to your toilet!

Rating (out of 5 Evilbeans):

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