Review - 47 Ronin

47 Ronin (2013), PG-13, 119 minutes - A couple of weeks ago I was tweeting with an old co-worker and we both wondered whether 47 Ronin was going to be really good or horribly bad.  That's honestly the vibe that we both got from the trailer.  Fortunately for me (since I paid to see it in theaters), it falls somewhere in the middle.

47 Ronin is loosely based on an old Japanese legend about a group of samurai who attempt to avenge the death of their master, Lord Asano (Min Tanaka) at the hands of Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) and his mystically inclined right-hand woman (Rinko Kikuchi).  The group of Ronin is led by Ôishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), Lord Asano's captain of the guard.  Ôishi enlists the help of Kai (Keanu Reeves), a man who was taken in as a child and cared for by Lord Asano and his family.  Kai is referred to as a Half Breed by the Japanese because his mother was native and his father was a white sailor.  This plays into Ôishi's decision to ask for Kai's help as it is said that only a Half Breed can see witchcraft for what it truly is.  There is also a forbidden love subplot between Kai and Lord Asano's daughter Mika (Kô Shibasaki).

47 Ronin is a sort of action/fantasy flick with a martial arts influence.  There is some sword play, but not as much as one might expect from a film revolving around Samurai.  Overall, the action sequences are nicely choreographed, some of which definitely involved wire work.  The visuals throughout 47 Ronin are pretty good, especially those used to depict the witch's various spells/transformations.

47 Ronin won't win any awards, but I was entertained by it.  I'd categorize it as a decent rental.  There's no real need to rush out and see it in theaters unless you just love Keanu Reeves or any of the other cast members involved.


- The word Ronin means 'masterless Samurai'.

- There's a character that is tattoo'd to look like a skeleton that is featured fairly prominently in the trailer and even appears on the movie poster which is odd considering he only appears in one scene in the film.  


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