IT IS a film which is predicted to loose millions at the box office and has been critically panned. But despite all of these factors, 47 Ronin is not a truly terrible film.
Let’s deal with what’s wrong first. It’s a mess of a story. Based on a true story of a group of Japanese warriors who seek vengeance for the death of their master and sees Keanu Reeves’s outcast character Kai join up with the gang. However, for reasons best known to the producers of the film, it throws in fantasy elements which sees the warriors take on ogres, giants and witches.
While the true story will be unfamiliar to the Western audience, it is neither powerful or emotional enough to feel like a biopic and the fantasy elements feel tacked on rather than being a fun adventure story.
There are some positive things about this film. It is authentically shot and recreates 18th century Japan beautifully. The sets look fantastic and the costumes are outstanding.
The 3D, normally a pet hate of mine at the cinema alongside the noisy teenager munching popcorn loudly, is surprisingly subtle and comes into its own with the realisation of the fantasy elements.
And while all of the actors are solid, albeit not memorable, there is one stand out. Rinko Kikuchi playing the witch stands out. In among all of the actors attempting to be sombre and serious, she gives a slightly camp and seductive performance and makes a more interesting villain than Tadanobu Asano’s Lord Kira.
This film will not win any awards but neither does it deserve to be truly slated. 47 Ronin is a mess, but there are elements which makes it an enjoyable mess.
Review by Steve Mills
47 Ronin was released on Thursday December 26 and can be seen at Cineworld Northampton.