Flash Movie Review: 47 Ronin

I am always eager to read or hear a good story. The stories from friends and family are special to listen to since there is the personal aspect to them; for example, a friend telling me how the unusual mantle clock on their dresser came to them from their grandfather. I only wish I knew the story behind a silver cup that was given to me that belonged to my great, great grandfather; imagine what kind of tale that would be. Another type of story I enjoy are the ones that have to do with public places like the reasons why the city of Chicago reversed the direction of the Chicago River or the true story behind the stock exchange building in Savannah, Georgia. When it comes to movies, I am always looking to be entertained by a good story. With regards to this adventure fantasy film, I thought it would be especially interesting since the film was based on an 18th century Japanese story about samurai. Never accepted as a true member of the village, the leader of a band of samurai named Oishi, played by Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine, The Twilight Samurai), would have to depend on the special skills only Kai, played by Keanu Reeves (Speed, The Matrix franchise), could offer in the group’s quest to clear the name of their former master. From what I understood the historic legend was about 47 samurai who were known as ronins, which means without a master. So with this archival reference I thought the studio would have gone the extra distance to make a vivid action movie worthy of the story. Unfortunately that was not the case with this dull plodding film. Keanu did himself no favors, acting more like a supporting character; with his standard short, staccato quiet way of speaking. It is something everyone has seen before and all it achieved here was to dim my senses. The script was pretty much a total mess; I did not feel hardly any emotions throughout the scenes. At least there were a few good battle scenes; however, with the fantasy element being part of this story, I felt there was not enough of it in the film to make it noteworthy. Adding in the marketing of this movie, it looked like the studio spent a lot of money to make this picture. Sadly, the only story that will be told about this fiasco will be how the movie studio took a hit on their earnings for ruining a legendary tale. Several scenes had Japanese with English subtitles.


1 2/3 stars

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on January 2, 2014, in Fantasy/Sci-Fi and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. This is interesting because this looks like the kind of film I’d want to watch. I’m hesitant, however, because Keanu Reeves is kind of hit or miss for me. Great review!

    • If you plan on seeing it, may I suggest you lessen the blow by going to a cheaper matinee. Let me know what you thought of the movie after you see it. Thank you for stopping by to leave your comments and kind words.

  2. Nice review. Something just never looked right about this film. Glad I didn’t hold up posting my Top 10 of the Year until after I had seen it! LOL! ?

  3. Happy New Year 2014 !
    Thank you for your visit !

  4. The version I saw had no Japanese scenes in it. I know they did film in Japanese and in English (shooting every dialogue scene at least twice) and am very curious if a wholly Japanese version would play out better than to have the Japanese actors struggling with English.

  5. Excellent review. And completely agreed.

  6. The Dancing Rider

    I could see from the trailers that it is nothing like like the Kon Ichikawa’s originai, and now classic, “47 Ronin” movie. Looks like a travesty to me! And Keanu Reeves – what? I will probably rent this one for the bit of fantasy/effects. Knowing that I’ll regret it!

  7. The Dancing Rider

    Well, I must admit, we watched this last night. Have you ever seen “Chushingura” (1962) with Toshiro Mifune? Then, later, the “47 Ronin” (1994) movie I mentioned above?

    There was NO comparison between this “version” and those Japanese films, and none of the impact.

    I watched this movie only for the sets and inclusion of the supernatural. It did not even appear that they pronounced “Asano” correctly throughout! Anyway. As a real version of 47 Ronin it was a joke. As a semi-action movie with some “magic” and such, it was about 2.2 stars for me.

  8. Theatre of Pain

    Well I watched it as a last minute decision. The film seemed to have a lot of potential but missed every mark. I was disappointed not only by the poor writing and lackluster acting but also by the CG effects. Although some concepts were interesting, most looked very dated by today’s standards. I also missed the blood. Given the amount of violent content in the story, there was a suprising shortage of blood. Kai under the belly of the beast? No blood. Beheadings? No blood? Numerous sword fights? No blood. I’m not sure what demographic the studio was shooting for here but the movie felt more like it was a very family friendly affair instead a big screen action fantasy adventure. Here’s hoping Keenu’s next film choice will be of much better quality and hold higher entertainment value.

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