When Kai (Reeves) is found in the woods as a young child the local leader takes him in, but he is an outcast, as he is a half-breed and remains so into adulthood. When he attempts to help his master in a moment of desperation he fails and the price that must be paid is grave. By order of the Shogun Lord Asano must commit Seppuku and take his own life, which results in the disgrace of his Samurai, who become Ronin and flee. After a year has passed the former Samurai and Kai come together in order to rescue princess Mika (Shibasaki) from the clutches of Lord Kira (Asano) who is in league with a witch.”
Getting straight to it, Keanu Reeves still can’t act which is shocking given the amount of time he has spent in movies, but there you have it. What he does do quite well is fight and the fight scenes are well choreographed and filmed which was one of the enjoyable aspects. Sanada delivers a solid performance as disgraced Samuria Ôishi and Shibisaki is believable as the princess who is in love with Kai against the wishes of her father. Rinko Kukuchi entertains as the witch and it’s good to see her as a bad guy after her good guy role in this year’s Pacific Rim. The story clips along at a decent pace and features an identifiable beginning, middle and end, which is positive for the overall completion of the story.
The CG is mixed, as the wider shots look very poorly animated and false versus a decent scene involving a serpent and a large six-eyed beast. The action as mentioned above is decent enough and strays away from drawing out the action in favour of fairly snappy fight scenes. One particular chase scene at the beginning is well put together and the build up and completion of the final action sequence are well paced and cut.
One of the biggest issues with this movie is the fact that everyone is speaking English in it and to be honest it takes away form the overall enjoyment. Having everyone speak in Japanese may not have made it a five star review but it would have improved it’s overall standing.
With some decent fight scenes and a bizarre yet mildly entertaining story 47 Ronin needed to feel authentic to succeed. The use of English instead of Japanese and poor CG combined ensure it fails to deliver.