Let me give you the best piece of advice I can give on this movie- if you are familiar with the story of the 47 Ronin.
Forget the name of this movie.
If you are a Reeves fan, or the guy that is in every Oriental film by law, or you think that Rinko Kikuchi is hot and you need to see everything she’s in . . .just in case.
If you get this movie to sit on your shelf, then get some tape and write a new name for this movie. Pretend its called “Ronin” or “White Ronin” or “Ronin and the Witch” ANYTHING but 47 Ronin, or else you will hate this movie.
This movie gets ONE thing right, compared to the original story, and I’ll get to that in the spoilers.
I’m not going to do a full run-down of the plot- since to be honest, it’s not a very good plot, but they do do a good job of explaining what they care about, but skipping everything that makes you go Wha?
Ok, Neo starts off in the jungle, and his master Naganori and his bodyguard are hunting some strange magical lion thingy, Neo is able to kill the beast by gutting it, but one of the other Samurai take credit for it- and you just lost the Japanese audience right there, nothing like taking credit for another’s work in the Bushido way.
Still there? Hoo-Boy.
Neo sees a wolf, with odd looking eyes, looking at him, and returns to half slave/half samuri status when the group returns, Naganori’s daughter is obviously talking to Neo WAY too much, you know since Japanese women love them some Gaijen.
So the Shogun shows up, and the Samurai are having a tournament, and the chosen Samurai is stricken down by a witch, and the Asano is about to lose face, so Neo jumps into the Samurai’s armor, and goes to fight the battle, and he gets his helmet popped off and embarrasses everyone, and gets a beatdown for embarrassing his Lord. That night, the Lord is bewitched, and attacks one of the Shogan’s escort- Lord Kira.
The Shogun allows Lord Asano to commit suicide, and Lord Kira is given his lands and in time his daughter in marrage, and all the Samurai are forced to become Ronin, or Samurai without a lord to follow. The head Samurai discovers that magic is involved, and reunites the Samurai to go after Lord Kira and his witch.
Oh yeah, you are an hour in the movie by now.
Lets get the bad out of the way.
This movie is LONG
This Movie is BORING
We spend WAY too much time with the magic- not needed in the story, we spend way too much time on Neo’s uh parentage, also not needed.
47 Ronin is a classic revenge tale, and I will admit, its not perfect, but can be done oh so well.
Ronin is a flawed movie, with too much crud shoved in there, and trying to get a revenge story that falls flat on WHY the samurai code is so needed and why it was so important. My son knows nothing about the Bushido way, and at the end of this movie, I’m sure he would be asking why they keep saying even if they win, they will still die. The Movie has all the time in the world, why not do it the RIGHT WAY?
All in All, I’m giving 47 Ronin a 2. If It was called Neo and the Way of the Ronin, I would give it a 3.
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