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An average movie

Posted : 3 years, 6 months ago on 28 October 2015 10:16

Even though this movie turned out to be a massive flop when it was released,  I still wanted to check it out. Apparently,  the production on this movie was very difficult, its release was pushed back several times and it came out at least 2 years later than originally planned resulting in an exploding budget but even though the whole thing actually had some potential, it just didn’t work at all. First of all,  the story was just so confusing, convoluted and disjointed that my step-son,  after 30 minutes, actually asked me who was in fact the main character. Indeed, at some moments,  it seemed that it was about Keanu Reeves's character but, then, eventually,  it seemed to be more about Hiroyuki Sanada's but I'm still not sure. Another thing that confused me was why on Earth was Rick Genest AKA Zombie Boy displayed so prominently on the poster?!? I mean, the guy showed up just once on the screen with maybe 2 lines of dialogue. Another misguided choice was to have also all the characters speak in English. I mean, except for Keanu Reeves, all the actors were Japanese, playing some Japanese characters, living in Japan so it would have worked much better if they spoke in their own native language. Anyway,  I could keep on naming everything that went wrong but I think you got the picture,  the whole thing was pretty weak and I don't think it is really worth a look. 

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A fine collaboration between west & east.

Posted : 5 years, 1 month ago on 1 April 2014 12:46

West meets east like the movie 'The Last Samurai'. Visually impressive movie from the debutant director. It was based on the Japanese history of 47 samurais who are on the verge to avenge their master's death. But the movie was more fictional than realistic and soared with great CGI touch.

This is second in a row for Keanu Reeves, whose movie is attached to easter culture or history. As for this story his facial look was well blended with mixed race, half British and half Japanese. Sadly, it was not shot inside the Japan, not even a single shot, but you know todays computer graphics can bring any kind of atmosphere.

The movie about samurais mean most of them won't have a happy ending. If you are familiar with this genre you will be well known about what seppuku means. Yeah the movie deals with some serious matters like that apart from fictional extend of history. It was a crucial performance by Keanu Reeves among other faces. But the real letdown was some key moments of the movie, like many scenes were depicted Hollywood style fantasies. I truly missed Japanese techniques in film presentation, but will please the western audience.

It was a nice collaboration between American filmmakers and Japanese cast. In the end the result came very convincing, but should have been better. It was a good watch without anticipating much from it. The movie will fall in not too bad and not too good list.

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A Samurai Always Carries Two Swords

Posted : 5 years, 4 months ago on 14 January 2014 03:30

In the beginning of the 18th century, a group of samurai were left leaderless (thus becoming ronin) after their daimyo was ordered to commit seppuku for assaulting a court official. They swore to avenge him and restore his honor by killing the court official, which they did, though it took them two years of waiting and planning. They were then forced to commit seppuku themselves, to answer for the murder that the way of bushido demanded of them.

This is one of the greatest legends in Japanese culture and has been celebrated in festivals and plays for many years.

47 Ronin incorporates other aspects of Asian myth and legend into the classic tale (namely demons, magic and mysticism) for a new, fantastic twist. The project is the directorial debut for Carl Erik Rinsch, as far as feature-length films are concerned, and I found it quite impressive. Attire, weaponry, sets and so forth all seemed quite accurate for the time period, as well.

While I realize that Keanu Reeves isn't exactly a golden-boy among movie fans and gets knocked quite a bit for a presumed lack of acting ability, I am not among that group and have been a fan of his for many years. I've enjoyed most of his films and this one is no exception.

Here he plays a half-breed outcast barely tolerated by Japanese society but is protected by the daimyo whose death triggers the events which unfold. Yet his character, Kai, is much more than that and, as his own origins come to light, he becomes indispensable to the Ronin in carrying out their vengeance.

The cast is filled with many notable faces of Asian cinema and the acting superb. Hiroyuki Sanada as Oishi and Rinko Kikuchi as The Witch deliver outstanding performances and their characters were the most notable for me, other than Keanu's own. The epic battle near the film's end was quite a treat, especially when Kai faces The Witch.

Sadly, this film has yet to recoup it's financial costs, which were hefty; this is even more despairing considering the creativity and effort put into making such a fine film. Perhaps this is due to Reeves in the starring role and the fact that he hasn't exactly hit the box-office motherload since The Matrix. In his defense, he delivers a solid performance here; with regards to the film itself, and all those who had a hand in it's making, all I can say is that those who choose not to see it are missing out.

47 Ronin isn't Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai but it doesn't pretend to be either. It is a fictionalization of history, a fantastical take on legend and a feast for the senses that should not be spurned by anyone who has a love for the period and subject matter. It's quite good, people.

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