Set in Japan, a band of samurai and an outcast called Kai (Keanu Reeves – they actually call him a half-breed) travel and set out to defeat a villain, who is trying to rule the count, and try avenge the murder of their ruler plus save the ruler’s daughter.
Now the film is set in Japan and beginning tells us there is mythical creatures and dark demons, which makes you kind think ‘oh we’re going to see them, surely?’ Apart from a witch (who turns into things and when she flies, she is a beautiful, incredible, floating…cloak/dress thing), a beast in the first five minutes and weird creature, which looks like a human with the face of what Lord Voldemort looks like in the first Harry Potter film, there isn’t anything else. After slowly setting the plot – there are a couple of scenes that could have been taken out and still make sense – the band of samurai travel to set thing right yet there is hardly any mythical creatures. If the film tells you at the very beginning there are these incredible dark creatures then there has to be a lot the audience see the 47 ronin meet on their journey; it’s like saying Star Trek says there’s a huge galaxy and universe to explore and the film doesn’t actually show the crew going into space and see any planets – well now that I mention it they don’t see that many in the films.
The plot and idea of having these creatures sounds great and it brings a lot of potential to the film but they didn’t use it. There’s a guy who is painted like a skeleton, he’s only in it for literally, LITERALLY, ten seconds, which is a shame as he looks like a good character. My other point is Kai has been trained and has a cool power yet he only uses it twice. If he has it but only uses it when it needs it how come he doesn’t use the fast moving skills the whole time in the big final fight?
The visual effects are good and the martial arts are pretty good. I loved the scene where Kai and Ôishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) go into a weird, creepy tree cave to collect some swords from the creatures who trained Kai when he was younger. That scene tricks you and the effects are good.
The film is about the 47 ronin keeping their honour and trust of the kingdom, which it does show well yet you want them to see and face more tasks and problems along their journey to victory. My other nitpick is that at the end SPOILER they defeat the villain, who only is because he owns another kingdom – the witch (Rinko Kikuchi, who is great in this) is the one who is the real threat with her great powers (some good effects with her powers too). However, the 47 Ronin have to commit suicide with dignity forced by some higher-demanding guy because they attacked another kingdom despite the fact he knew they did it because the villain set their ruler up. But then, the supreme says wait – hold on, he might let them live. You get all tense thinking they will be allowed to live until they are old in their kingdom – Oh no, just one of them (not Kai) is allowed to live so his family blood doesn’t end, which is nice but you feel like you’ve just been slapped in the face. The film is almost joking with you – you think, they will die, wait, could they be allowed to live, only joking all of you but one are. I mean respect that its based on a story about 47 ronin who went out to their limits to save their kingdom but that little tease was, understandable but harsh.
Despite all the negativity I have said, I did like certain aspects of them yet there was potential that the film didn’t use. Good casting, good visual effects, just some of the scenes should have been better – the journey should have been more difficult for the 47 ronin.
47 Ronin: 6.6/10