By Ben Brock | The Playlist December 17, 2013 at 1:03PM
“47 Ronin” is a thing that is happening, which, believe you me, is saying something given how long it's been delayed (check out last month's set visit report for more on the chaos of bringing Keanu Reeves' sometime passion project to cinema screens). But made it now is, and released it shall be, on the traditional Japanese holiday known as Christmas Day. And thus, like the reindeer before Santa, come the clips and featurettes.
The story of the 47 ronin, masterless samurai of 18th century Japan who avenged themselves spectacularly on the warlord who caused their fall from grace, is actually a true one, as loosely explained in a handy animated prequel. However Reeves and first-time director Carl Rinsch decided to fantasy it up a bit, as they explain in the “featurette” (i.e. trailer with some interviews spliced in), adding in monstrous enemies drawn from Japanese myth, as can be seen in some of the clips. How well it all fits together is anyone's guess but it's hard to begrudge a film for pausing the plot to drop in some deformed warrior monks, or for including Rinko Kikuchi as an evil dragon-sorceress.
Word on “47 Ronin” out of Japan, where it has been released, has not been good, and the struggles to get it made do not inspire success: nor does Rinsch's description of it to us as “Kurosawa on meth” (since when did “on meth” become a good thing?) But all the chatter is also reminiscent of “World War Z," whose troubles didn't prevent it becoming a big success. We shall see... [Bleeding Cool/Crave/Comic Book Movie]