The story is both interesting and layered—the fact that Kai was raised by the demons in the woods is enough to make this story unlike anything you’ve seen before. It feels like a live action NINJA SCROLL (an animated Manga ninja flick), and that’s exactly how I wanted to feel. The feuding clan angel felt like a page out of Scorpion and Sub Zero’s playbook from Mortal Kombat Legacy, complete with Cary-Hiroyuki “Shang Tsung” Tagawa as the Shogun—again, not a bad thing, says me. It’s very straightforward, but as revenge plots go, it does the trick. The whole bit with them going to the Tengu Forrest to ask the demons for swords was fantastic. The trailer made this scene misleading (took the whole confrontation between Keanu and his teacher out of context), but all in all, this was one of the coolest aspects of the film.
By far the greatest aspect of the film has to be the locales and scenery. This thing looks exceptionally slick, and is gorgeous to behold in every way. I’d mentioned the CGI looking shoddy in the trailer, but not on Blu-ray. I was impressed.
47 RONIN is a story that’s been told for years in Japan through film, opera and plays, so it was only a matter of time before it came to us. Personally, I’m glad it did. The performances by Keanu and Hiroyuki Sanada in particular were awesome (If you haven’t checked out Sanada’s Syfy show HELIX, you should). On the downside? Well, I think a couple of the villains were a tad overplayed via cover art and trailers—the tattooed dude with the gun, and the huge armoured samurai that looks like one of the baddies from 300 on wicked steroids, were both underused duds. And of course if you’re looking for a happy ending, you won’t find it in traditional Japanese honor oriented stories like this one, but it’s still a hell of a good time for fans of the genre.
Re-forging a Legend: A quick look at the history behind 47 Ronin’s story, which was reborn here as a high adventure, fantasy epic. Looks like ‘win’ to me.
Keanu & Kai: Keanu gives us the 411 on his character in the film. He had me sold in the opening scene when he takes down that rampaging beasty thing. Badass.
Steel Fury: The Fights of 47 Ronin: This was yet another highlight of the film, as the swordplay and choreography are spot on—case in point, when they’re sneaking up on Kira’s men in the final battle and taking them out one by one.
Myths, Magic & Monsters: The FX of 47 Ronin: Arguably, this can be the breaking point for films such as these, but thankfully they did a great job here and the FX looked formidable throughout.
Previews: There are a slew of trailers as well as a DVD and Ultraviolet Copy of the film.