The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about the Keanu Reeves film “47 Ronin” in about the time it takes to watch the trailer. Don’t forget to take a shot at the “Best Ever” challenge in the comments!
If only there was already a movie where Keanu Reeves did slow mo Kung Fu, oh well.
“47 Ronin” is the faithful adaptation of one of the most beloved stories of Japanese lore. Keanu Reeves plays “Kai”. An outcast who teams up with 46 other former samurai to try and take revenge on those who have done injustice to them and those they love. The movie has vivid elements of fantasy and martial arts that should result in a story that is exciting, eye catching and deeply moving. Notice I said should. Because at the end of the day 47 is a boring, predictable, mess.
But it shouldn’t be! This is an incredible story and one that has many layers of betrayal, honor, and self sacrifice. But even more than that, the best thing for me about the movie is that when it goes into an action scene it’s stunningly beautiful. The visuals, the fight choreography, the special effects, they all combine for some really incredible stuff on screen. But then it’s gone… for a long time. It’s like being at a Mexican Restaurant and ordering queso and it’s amazing. You finish the first bowl and ask for some more, and then for whatever reason your waiter forgets and you suffer through some bad burritos before he brings you another bowl right before you leave, but by then it’s too late. After an incredible first few moments, I kept finding myself yelling at the screen, “Where’s my queso?” “I want more queso!” But it never came, just moment after depressing moment of story exposition and conversation.
And like I said the plot isn’t horrible, it’s a beloved story for a reason. but they overdraw it by so much that you find yourself completely distracted from what is going on. And of course Keanu’s acting style doesn’t help the situation much with him showing about as much emotion as the new garbage bag does when I reline the can. You get the sense it wants to open up but you just can’t find the entry point. But the worst thing is that it’s just predictable. Every turn seemed to be telegraphed to make sure the audience could stay with it. The problem is that it doesn’t matter, Just like that basic burrito you know what’s coming and even the bites you like just don’t seem worth the journey because what you really want is more queso. I think I’ve stretched that metaphor about as far as it will go, so let’s summarize.
At the end of the day, 47 Ronin is a wasted opportunity to tell a great story to a culture that likely hasn’t heard it. If the film could have found a way to bring more of the visual feast that made the beginning so great, it might have raised it above a D+
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