47 Ronin

Keanu was given the choice: ritual suicide or an extended autograph-signing session.
Keanu was given the choice: ritual suicide or an extended autograph-signing session.

Oh dear. The story of the 47 ronin – masterless samurai – is supposedly a historical one. Lord Asano is forced to commit seppuku – ritual suicide – after dishonouring himself by assaulting a guest, Harry Kira. Sorry, Lord Kira. His samurai are banished and forbidden revenge by their Shogun. But they refuse to take orders from a 4WD and start plotting, knowing the consequences will be severe.

The filmmakers have added a supernatural element and a less-than-natural actor: Keanu Reeves as a “half breed” taken in as a child by Asano. Keanu does his best but at 49 is about 15 years too old for the role.

The main problems here, though, are an underdeveloped story and a complete absence of character development – for anyone. It’s all wrapped up in the usual bushido bollocks (see Hara-Kiri), which is about as worth celebrating as modern so-called ‘honour killings’. IMHO. 5/10

Released January 16, 2014

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