Reviews

47 Ronin

1

Keep on ronin… away

Based on an – apparently genuine – series of events that occurred in feudal Japan (presumably without dragons), but shot in London and Bulgaria, in 3D, newcomer Carl Rinsch's vacuum-packed epic is a strange, strange film.

Keanu Reeves plays a “half-breed” warrior raised, we're told, by demons, who joins a group of banished samurai (headed by Hiroyuki Sanada’s Oishi) in their quest to regain their lands from an evil lord (Tadanobu Asano), while saving the woman (Ko Shibasaki) he loves but barely interacts with. Mostly this involves fighting, making speeches and ceremonially handing each other swords.

Although inspired by a true story, the film's frequently interrupted by the appearance of CG creatures from Japanese folklore (ogres, bird warriors, a magic fox that looks like David Bowie).

Presumably this is intended to lend proceedings a magical, TLOTR-style sheen, but the FX look so dated, and the backdrops so shiny and fake, they feel like cast-offs from The Last Airbender, or some godforsaken forgotten planet in George Lucas' prequel-verse.

While die-hard fantasy fans might find something to salvage from the well-staged final battle, and the sequences involving Rinko Kikuchi’s (Pacific Rim) slinky witch (who can spin herself through space like an unravelling kimono) show some visual flair, this is much too pedestrian for a multi-multi-million dollar movie.

The dialogue's so cliched it sounds like it's been translated from another language (“I would rather have been killed by that beast than rescued by a half-breed!” intones one of the ronin). The strange pacing speaks of reshoots, inserts and trouble behind the scenes.

Meanwhile, Reeves' particularly brand of sleepy handsomeness isn't enough to fill the gaps, and he barely has anything to do, so we're left with a bunch of Japan's finest actors speaking broken English like they're reading from cue cards. It couldn't be more stilted if the cast were actually on stilts. Which, given the circumstances, wouldn't seem that weird.

Verdict:

“I will search for you through 1,000 worlds and 10,000 lifetimes!” Reeves promises his beloved. Anyone who sits all the way through this glossy folly will know exactly how that feels.

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Film Details

User Reviews

    • BobbyTwoTimes

      Dec 23rd 2013, 8:43

      Gutted. I really wanted this to be good.

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    • Ali1748

      Dec 23rd 2013, 11:13

      One star......the trailers looked decent.

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    • 2Dglasses

      Dec 23rd 2013, 12:17

      I had high hopes for it and yes, i liked the trailer also. i'd prefer CGI things to the last samurai 2...

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    • Mattsimus

      Dec 23rd 2013, 13:40

      I saw a poster on a bus for the movie this morning and it reminded me of the trailer, which I thought looked ok, but you could tell the visuals were slightly poor, not the worst but def obvious, as for Keanu reeves, last film I liked him in was prob point beak... as for the description it kind of reminded me of one of the installments on playstation for Onimusha......mmmm 1 star? pretty accurate or over harsh? who knows, either way im not paying to see it!

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    • Mattsimus

      Dec 23rd 2013, 13:40

      Break* lol

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    • alexlewicki

      Dec 27th 2013, 0:20

      2

      Nice review, Matt. I quoted you on TenSecondScoop - thanks :)

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    • Jareth64

      Dec 27th 2013, 12:57

      Keanu Reeves just can't act, that's his problem. His seems to get these roles based on his looks. I mean he's so s**t in Matrix it's untrue.

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    • TalkingEvilbean

      Dec 27th 2013, 15:09

      3

      Fact inter-weaved with Fiction. Samurai and demons. 47 ronins gets a rating of 3.5evilbeans! Visit my blogspot @ talkingevilbean for my take on this film!

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    • batt101

      Dec 28th 2013, 16:28

      I actually really en

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    • batt101

      Dec 28th 2013, 16:30

      3

      I actually really enjoyed this, another bizarre rating from Total Film its a solid 3 star!

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    • lyndonharrison

      Dec 30th 2013, 20:14

      I'm completely baffled by the critics.Just seen 47 Ronin and enjoyed it. I have seen critics swoon over films that are far below Ronin. If you want an exciting night our go and see 47 Ronin and ignor the critics. Far better than the likes of Thor. 4/5

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    • RKman

      Jan 1st 2014, 16:00

      I watch it a few days ago, not as good as The Last Samurai, but it might be worth a while to watch this film, killing time on the holidays due to boredem

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    • Mattsimus

      Jan 1st 2014, 16:56

      @alexlewicki err ok mate, no worries glad I could help haha enjoy!

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    • Mattsimus

      Jan 1st 2014, 17:00

      @lyndonharrison, interesting, since I didnt rate Thor either....... maybe ill try it out.........

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    • FBKTudor

      Jan 3rd 2014, 12:12

      3

      Harsh review. It is escapist fun. The 3D works well. The relationship between Kai and the Ronin was well played. Keanu can't act, but the film was still enjoyable, taken as a fun popcorn fantasy film.

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    • katienelson

      Jan 4th 2014, 2:12

      4

      Such an awesome movie! FYI, I just seen 47 Ronin online for free at moviesatyou dot com.

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    • RaveyDaveyGravy

      Jan 6th 2014, 12:41

      spam spam spam spam

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    • jakejackson451

      Jan 6th 2014, 14:21

      4

      I really loved this film: the FX were pleasingly restrained and Keanu's acting was appropriately distilled because of his servile role in a society that abhorred displays of emotion. Great fighting without too much gutting, and enough magic to keep the mystery going. 4 stars from me!

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    • Cortes1966

      Jan 17th 2014, 21:06

      Matt Glasby, what movie did YOU watch? This has got to be one of the stupidest off-the-mark reviews I've read in a while! I guess you didn't like "300" either? This was a great movie & I intend on buying it when it comes out on DVD. It has honor, revenge & a great love story all told in a fantastic way. Yes, they could have told the true story without any magical special effects. But the dragons and witches add to the mythology. Reeve's character represents the critics of the Chūshingura who, over the years, have claimed that it does not represent true Bushido. The love story is one of courtly love. It is beautiful. The story of the 47 Ronin is the national story of Japan. One I was unaware of and one I was glad to get to know through the eyes of this director. It is in many ways the Japanese "300". I recommend it and plan on seeing it again.

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    • FBEKirk

      Jan 18th 2014, 0:09

      3

      Saw this on Wednesday and thought it was a pretty decent film...a lot better than some of the c**p I've seen that's supposedly better. Didn't think the effects were any worse than any other CGI I've seen in the last few years...Definitely deserves more than one star!

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    • bjncube

      Jan 27th 2014, 3:40

      3

      Funny how the the bad reviews from critics seem to be from those who understand nothing about Japanese culture and the severity of their concept of honour in the old days. I thought this movie was good. It was a fresh taste away from the typical text book fantasy telling of things like LOTR/Hobbit or western themed revolution blockbusters like Hunger Games. And it shows in the User Reviews, not just on this site. Movie goers are on average giving this movie 3.5 stars while critics are sticking to extremely low scores justified by some pretentious nonsense hidden in big words. The critic taking umbrage with the line “I would rather have been killed by that beast than rescued by a half-breed!” shows that he's completely completely unfamiliar with the steadfast nature of the ancient Japanese. This is the most underrated movie of 2013 by far.

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    • matthewbrady

      Jan 31st 2014, 18:48

      3

      Keanu Reeves is not the greatest movie actor ever but he is likable in really live.47 Ronin. Okay the critics are saying this is the worst movies of the year but I didn't really hate it like the critics, the visual effect's are cartoonist and the acting is a bit weird.

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    • danhorea

      Mar 21st 2014, 18:23

      great movie, insignificant critics

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    • timlaubacker

      Apr 8th 2014, 16:06

      3

      This movie get's a really bad rep. People are criticizing it to be a hollywood presentation of Japanese culture. The story of the 47 Ronin is true, and like all legends/folklore, it is incredibly embellished, even in Japan. This story and its embellishments are similar to all the mythology about Davy Crockett. Of course Hollywood took a lot of creative liberties with it, but who wouldn't? Even on top of the Mythology lumped in (Yes, the Japanese were and are superstitious and believed in spirits, witches, and dragons) it still gets the story of the 47 Ronin correct. 47 Loyal Retainers avenging the death of their master nearly 2 years after the fact...This is a story of loyaly, duty, diligence, and perseverance. wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty-seven_Ronin

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