47 Ronin (2013)

47 Ronin (2013)

Director: Carl Rinsch
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki

A loose fantasy adaptation of the story of the 47 Ronin, the honorable Lord Asano is bewitched into committing an offense against the scheming Lord Kira and is forced to commit seppuku. Though explicitly forbidden to take revenge by order of the Shogun, Lord Asano's loyal retainers enlist the services of a half-blooded foundling raised by the mystic Tengu to strike down Lord Kira and save Lord Asano's daughter.

Before I knew what kind of movie this was going to be, I had my doubts when I heard Keanu Reeves was cast. When I saw that it was going to be a fantastical take on the story and that they weren't going to pretend Keanu was a full-blooded Japanese, I gave it a bit of a pass, but I still didn't feel strongly enough about it to seek it out. Honestly, my ambivalence wasn't misplaced. The movie is decent but not great by any means. The action and art design are pretty good. Keanu is Keanu. You know what you're getting with him. Most of the Japanese cast is rather stuff. The only bright spot is Rinko Kikuchi's deliciously hammy performance as the enchantress. Really, that's about the only draw for me, but you may be drawn in by the special effects.

Some people call this a bad movie. I'll call it mediocre with a few charm points.