Keanu Reeves in 47 Ronin (2013)

The Ronin's Revenge

As a boy Kai was found shivering in the forest by Lord Asano of Ako and his samurai, whilst the samurai felt they should kill the child for being a half breed Lord Asano takes him back to his castle to live. The years pass and Kai grows close to Lord Asano's daughter but despite demonstrating his skills as a warrior he is still constantly shunned by the samurai for being a half breed. But when during a tournament to welcome the Shogun to Ako Lord Asano, under a spell, attacks Lord Kira of Nagaton it leads to everything changing. Lord Asano is ordered to commit seppuku by the Shogun, the samurai now Ronin are banished and Kai is sold in to slavery. But the Ronin after seeking down Kai and asking for his help seek to avenge the death of their master.

Well 128 minutes is quite a lot of time for what in truth is not a lot of story, but then "47 Ronin" is clearly a crowd pleaser, made to entertain those who will be impressed by the effect laden action. And fair dos but it still means that "47 Ronin" is short on story as whilst we have some back story to why the samurai fear Kai what we have is a case of some banished samurai who are with out master, making them Ronin, going after Lord Kira and his witch for the wrong doing that befell their master. That is it and whilst it is dressed up in some places as we learn more about Kai's background it isn't in the least bit complex.

47 Ronin (2013)

So as I said, that makes "47 Ronin" a crowd pleaser, an effects driven action movie for a modern generation of cinema goers. And "47 Ronin" is slick with a nice sense of scale to it with some flashy action as are Ronin do battle with lightning quick sword skills and ninja like stealth. But it is a movie which becomes pretty much all about the visuals and for those who wanted more from a movie which deals with a legend it is kind of disappointing.

On the subject of the visuals there is of course Keanu Reeves who clearly hasn't forgotten the training he went through when making the "Matrix" movies with him looking mean and dangerous when ever his character switches to action mode and becomes all stealth like. But there is no real depth to the character and so it is a case of Reeves looking the part rather than being the part. This is the same through out with all those involved doing a good job of looking the part but not really bringing their characters to life.

What this all boils down to is that if you want just some visual entertainment then "47 Ronin" delivers that with plenty of special effects driven action and a sense of scale to things. But if you wanted more be it story or character depth then the chances are you are going to be left wanting.