Movie Review: '47 Ronin'

Jan 04, 2014, 09:54 IST | Mihir Fadnavis

Imagine '300' done with the narrative and aesthetic style of '13 Assassins' — that’s what '47 Ronin' would have been

'47 Ronin'
U/A; Action
Dir: Carl Rinsch
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyushi Sanada

I’m not sure whether to dislike '47 Ronin' or feel pity for it. The movie was supposed to come out in 2012 but with the budget somehow ballooning from $150 to $220 million, director Carl Rinsch suffered a nervous breakdown while filming. He was fired shortly and the studio reedited and reshot the movie to make it more Hollywood-ey.

Heck, Keanu Reeves was not even supposed to be the protagonist of the film and that changed after filming was completed. And Reeves had done this movie to finance his own directorial debut The Man of Tai Chi which also bombed. I’m quite sure that a film on the making on 47 Ronin would be way more entertaining than this movie.

The Japanese press has called 47 Ronin the second worst thing to have happened to the country this century, the first being the tsunami. And the film pretty much is a lumbering, sloppy, utter mess. It’s offensive to the Japanese because it doesn’t know the difference between a Yakuza, a Shogun, a Samurai and a Ronin. It doesn’t know how to develop characters. It doesn’t know how to construct an entertaining fight sequence. It doesn’t know how to create good CGI.

The story is credited to Chris Morgan and Hossein Amini but there’s no way even an alphabet from their script made it to the screen. The only thing the filmmakers had to do was follow the Ronin story — it’s a great, heroic, tragic tale of banished warriors avenging the death of their leader. They didn’t need to change anything because the material was gold by itself. Imagine '300' done with the narrative and aesthetic style of '13 Assassins' — that’s what '47 Ronin' would have been.

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