The legend of the 47 Ronin ….. a Ronin being a wandering samurai who had no lord or master …. is a tale of loyalty, bravery and most importantly honour. You can read a really interesting but concise article on the real 47 Ronin here. I have read that this legend is to the Japanese what the legend of Gallipoli is to Aussies ( I can’t find where I read that so cannot link back)
With this all in mind, knowing Keanu was the lead actor and having read some scathing reviews, I went into this movie expecting very little. Now, I love me some Keanu but let’s face it, the boy doesn’t always make the best choices. But he does have a lifetime pass…..
A Japanese feudal lord Asano (Tanaka) finds an orphaned boy Kai (Reeves) in the forest and raises him as his own. But Kai is not samurai so once grown, he retreats into the forest to live alone. He remains devoted to Lord Asano and is, in fact, in love with Asano’s daughter Mika (Shibasaki). Asano offends a visiting Shogun (Tagawa) and is honour bound to perform seppuku ….. ritual suicide by disembowelment. His samurai discover the offence committed was due to the influence of evil magic (the witch is played to devastating effect by the stunning Rinko Kikuchi) and seek revenge.
They are now ronin and plan an elaborate scheme to not only avenge their deceased Lord but to save his daughter Mika from being forced to marry against her will. Having gone their separate ways after Asano’a death, they gather once more to enact their revenge. They finally get their chance at the pre-wedding celebrations of Mika and her husband to-be, the evil and smug Lord Kira (Asano). An epic battle ensues.
I loved this movie. It was not too dramatic, not too violent. It was just right. There were snippets of humour and a touch of romance. I loooooved the few stolen moments between Kai and Mika. His declaration that he would love her for a thousand years and spend 10 000 lifetimes looking for her. Swoon….swoon….. swoon *sighs*
It has been panned by the critics. Pffft. I dont think it was meant to be an uber serious retelling of the legend, rather it was bringing a perhaps unknown legend from one culture to another, using a medium that melded the two comfortably.We can all relate to tales of bravery and honour. Men and women who will stand up for, even die for what they believe in.
The backdrops were lush and green, the costumes rich and colourful, evoking a true air of feudal Japan. The performances were great, as one would expect from a cast full of familiar faces from within the Japanese acting community (yep that was a cop-out because I can’t place them but I do recognise them 😛 )
This is one to catch at the cinema. I saw it in 3D but I wouldn’t worry too much about 3D. It’s not too violent or scary for the younger ones but still, do exercise some caution. A great date movie if your date isn’t a girlie girl who only loves chick flicks.
I really do think some critics just hate Keanu. There ….. I said it. But Keanu is Ted Logan, Johnny Utah AND Neo.
Therefore, he gets a lifetime pass by default……
Love Flick xx
Director : Carl Rinsch
Starring : Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano, Jin Akanishi, Min Tanaka, Masayoshi Haneda, Takato Yonemoto, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa,Rinko Kikuchi
Running Time : 118 minutes
Release Date : 16 January, 2014