Flash Movie Review: Blade of the 47 Ronin
I COULD NOT BELIEVE AFTER ALL these years; the city changed the street I grew up on to one way. All those years watching two cars trying to navigate between themselves and the parked cars that lined the street, then out of the blue the city now decided the street was not wide enough to accommodate more than one car at a time driving on it. I could have told them that decades ago. The apartment building, we lived in, looked the same except the back porches were now enclosed with a translucent type of plastic or PVC material to protect, I was guessing, the wood from the elements. From the houses down the block, there was nothing different that stuck out; they all looked the same, except for a fresh coat of paint or different floral landscaping. As I drove around the old neighborhood, I saw the elevated railroad tracks for the commuter train had extra support beams. They should have been added when I was living there because the cement back then was breaking off in pieces and the metal beams were rusting. Anytime I had to drive underneath the train bridge, the image of falling cement pieces always flashed through my mind. IN MY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD THERE WERE two business districts; one was a couple of blocks away from where we lived and the other was near the lake. I decided to drive down them to see what they looked like these days. The closer of the two, where we mostly did our shopping, had changed drastically. The grocery store where I used to return soda pop bottles for the deposit money was no longer there. A flea market type of business moved into the building. There used to be four restaurants on the main street; today only one remains under a different name. I remember almost every establishment had an electric sign or at least lights that highlighted the signage of the business. Now, there were several businesses that I could not tell if they just opened because they had those vinyl banner signs hung up. Not that this is a negative, but none of the establishments sounded familiar to me. I did notice there seemed to be more litter strewn across the sidewalks and street. My memory was of a pretty (for commercial buildings) avenue with an ice cream parlor, independent drug store, clothing stores, among other retail businesses. What I was seeing was an unattractive strip of a bunch of hodgepodge stores, some with their signs hanging down off center and others with hand drawing on their windows. It really made me sad for the memory of a place that gave me joy as I was growing up. Oddly, though I have a vague memory of the original film, this sequel made me feel the same sad way. DESPITE THE PASSING CENTURIES, LIVING AMONGST us today are the ancient Ronin warriors. They are not the only ones hiding from us. With Anna Akana (A Million Little Things-TV, Amphibia-TV) as Luna, Mark Dacascos (One Night in Bangkok, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum) as Shinshiro, Teresa Ting (She Has a Name, Don Peyote) as Onami, Mike Moh (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Empire-TV) as Reo and Dustin Nguyen (Zero Tolerance, Warrior-TV) as Nikko; this action, fantasy drama was confusing to me. I simply did not understand why the movie studio felt it needed to make a sequel. My memory is sketchy, but I remember the original movie had some beautiful cinematography and interesting fight scenes. At least there were decent fight scenes in this film; but the script was all over the place. I never felt connected to any of the characters, and I thought the special effects were dull. Nearly ten years after the first film, I just do not understand why the movie studio felt the need to do this film and then not do it well. Sometimes, it is better to leave the viewer with a memory of a decent film instead of trying to update it for profit. There were multiple scenes of blood and violence.
1 ½ stars