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47 Ronin
BLU-RAY disk
04.22.2014 By: J.A. Hamilton
47 Ronin order download
Director:
Carl Rinsch

Actors:
Keanu Reeves
Hiroyuki Sanada
Rinko Kikuchi

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When their master is deceived by witchcraft and forced to take his own life, the leader of a band of samurai sets out to find his half-breed sword brother to help lead his Ronin on a mission of revenge.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I’ve always been captivated by the vast stories and secrets of feudal Japan. So despite a poorly conceived trailer (the effects looked ghastly), I was excited for this film, which feels like a mix of 300 and THE LAST SAMURAI. Its theatrical run was a disaster, but I’m hoping it finds its niche on Blu-ray. That said, critics were going to pan this flick regardless because for one, they don’t seem to like Keanu and two, films like this are easy to take pot-shots at. For me, it was a success and I truly hope it finds the audience it deserves.

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.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes: The poison scene was gorgeous, but I can see how it and the first one weren’t necessary to the plot. The prelude to Kai being rescued was interesting though.

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.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Naysayers be damned! If any of the references I’ve mentioned spark an interest in you (much less if you’re reading this review I suppose), you’re no doubt part of the ninja theme club who digs this sort of thing. If you are, by all means have at it friends, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride.
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1:52PM on 04/22/2014
I thought this movie was a complete and utter mess. I honestly don't see how any of you can defend it. Though I'll admit it took balls to keep the original's ending for today's American audiences.
I thought this movie was a complete and utter mess. I honestly don't see how any of you can defend it. Though I'll admit it took balls to keep the original's ending for today's American audiences.
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12:37PM on 04/22/2014
It was good for the genre (we don't get many of these), but the reason we don't get them is because they never seem to do well in theaters and simply get by on dvd. It's a shame because I like these kinds of movies.
It was good for the genre (we don't get many of these), but the reason we don't get them is because they never seem to do well in theaters and simply get by on dvd. It's a shame because I like these kinds of movies.
Your Reply:



7:58AM on 04/22/2014
I thought it was a good adventure film nothing to be taken too seriously.It did its job of entertaining.
I thought it was a good adventure film nothing to be taken too seriously.It did its job of entertaining.
Your Reply:



7:33AM on 04/22/2014
I didn't hate this but I did feel it's very mediocre and was slightly bothered by how the story found a flimsy excuse to jam a white guy (yes, if you want to be technical, Keanu is half-Chinese but for all intents and purposes is white) into Japanese mythology and folklore. Hiroyuki Sanada is a badass and an awesome actor though.
I didn't hate this but I did feel it's very mediocre and was slightly bothered by how the story found a flimsy excuse to jam a white guy (yes, if you want to be technical, Keanu is half-Chinese but for all intents and purposes is white) into Japanese mythology and folklore. Hiroyuki Sanada is a badass and an awesome actor though.
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10:00AM on 04/22/2014
I agree. The movie was mediocre at best. The commercials made it seem very fantasy like, but it seems like the fantasy elements were shoved in there. They should have picked a genre and stuck with it.
I agree. The movie was mediocre at best. The commercials made it seem very fantasy like, but it seems like the fantasy elements were shoved in there. They should have picked a genre and stuck with it.

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