Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Cary Fukunaga Finds His Evil Clown Pennywise for 'It' Remake Cary Fukunaga Finds His Evil Clown Pennywise for 'It' Remake Watch: Ryan Gosling Finally Eats His Cereal in Tribute to Meme Creator Ryan McHenry Watch: Ryan Gosling Finally Eats His Cereal in Tribute to Meme Creator Ryan McHenry Quentin Tarantino Enjoys Running the New Beverly, Even When He's Shooting a Movie Quentin Tarantino Enjoys Running the New Beverly, Even When He's Shooting a Movie See Andrew Garfield in First Images from Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' See Andrew Garfield in First Images from Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' Carey Mulligan Just Says No, Goes Full Feminist with 'Far from the Madding Crowd' and 'Suffragette' Carey Mulligan Just Says No, Goes Full Feminist with 'Far from the Madding Crowd' and 'Suffragette' 6 Things Non-Record-Breaker 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Reveals about the Current Box Office 6 Things Non-Record-Breaker 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Reveals about the Current Box Office Box Office: 'Far from the Madding Crowd' Starring Carey Mulligan Leads Specialty Openers Box Office: 'Far from the Madding Crowd' Starring Carey Mulligan Leads Specialty Openers Guillermo del Toro Feted at San Francisco Film Fest: "I saw my first corpse at age 4" (Video) Guillermo del Toro Feted at San Francisco Film Fest: "I saw my first corpse at age 4" (Video) Oscar Predictions 2016 Oscar Predictions 2016 It Looks Like David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive' Is Indeed Coming to Criterion It Looks Like David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive' Is Indeed Coming to Criterion Cary Fukunaga Teams with 'Brokeback Mountain' Writers for A24's First Original Film Cary Fukunaga Teams with 'Brokeback Mountain' Writers for A24's First Original Film Amy Berg's Sex Abuse Doc 'An Open Secret' Finally Lands Distribution, Goes to Cannes Amy Berg's Sex Abuse Doc 'An Open Secret' Finally Lands Distribution, Goes to Cannes Whither Sony? No Place to Go But Up Whither Sony? No Place to Go But Up Hollywood, Please Don't Remake Nicolas Roeg's 'Don't Look Now' Hollywood, Please Don't Remake Nicolas Roeg's 'Don't Look Now' Riviera Maya Film Fest Dares to Bring Edgy Fare to Cinema-Starved Mexican Audiences Riviera Maya Film Fest Dares to Bring Edgy Fare to Cinema-Starved Mexican Audiences Cannes First Look: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Long-Awaited Martial Arts Epic 'The Assassin' Cannes First Look: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Long-Awaited Martial Arts Epic 'The Assassin' '54: The Director's Cut' Comes to Digital HD in All Its Hedonistic Glory '54: The Director's Cut' Comes to Digital HD in All Its Hedonistic Glory Mark Hamill Shares Vintage Photos from the 'Star Wars' Set Mark Hamill Shares Vintage Photos from the 'Star Wars' Set Hear a Rare Recording of One of Stanley Kubrick's Most Revealing Interviews Hear a Rare Recording of One of Stanley Kubrick's Most Revealing Interviews Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW)

Review Roundup: Waiting Five Years Didn't Save Samurai Epic '47 Ronin'

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! December 23, 2013 at 1:58PM

Apparently, a five-year production schedule, cycles of reshoots and a yearlong theatrical delay couldn't save the 3-D martial arts action film "47 Ronin" starring Keanu Reeves, a virtual absentee from the big screen these last few years. With eight reviews and counting, the Reeves Samurai epic currently sits at 14% on the Tomatometer.
2
"47 Ronin"
"47 Ronin"

Apparently, a five-year production schedule, cycles of reshoots and a yearlong theatrical delay couldn't save the 3-D martial arts action film "47 Ronin" starring Keanu Reeves, a virtual absentee from the big screen in recent years. With eight assailing reviews and counting -- but why bother? -- the Reeves Samurai epic currently sits at 14% on the Tomatometer. Trailer below.

Warning signs were clear. After announcing the project in 2008 and finding their director in 2009, Universal gave first-time feature filmmaker Carl Rinsch $175 million for the project, a stylized -- and allegedly bastardized -- fantasy version of a time-honored Japanese revenge myth. In 2012, the studio put principal photography on pause so Reeves could pursue his directorial debut, "Man of Tai Chi." 

Would more time in the oven have saved "47 Ronin"? Judging from early reviews, the beleaguered CG-laden film, which costars Rinko Kikuchi and opens wide on December 25, is too far gone. Here's what the critics have to say.

Film.com:

Where native cinematic titans like Kenji Mizoguchi and Hiroshi Inagaki struggled to successfully adapt this historical saga, Hollywood was dedicated to succeed. If those two revered auteurs produced authentic human epics that were overwhelmed by the vast scope of their drama, Universal Studios' version would solve that problem by doubling down on myth and removing every last trace of humanity, adding generic flourishes of magic to the story (witches! giant creatures! that heavily tattooed guy who used to be one of Lady Gaga’s backup dancers!) until the national flavor at the heart of this story has been completely suffocated under an incoherent wail of florid bullshit.

Screen Daily:

An unremarkable fantasy-adventure, "47 Ronin" skimps on the samurai action and stumbles when trying to be about weightier themes such as honour and destiny. That's an unfortunate combination--and director Carl Rinsch’s feature debut also doesn't help its cause by relying on an overly solemn tone as it depicts a famous Japanese tale about a group of warriors who banded together to avenge their fallen lord. Keanu Reeves provides his usual serene gravitas, but on the whole the dearth of ingenuity dulls what could have been hearty, escapist fare.

Total Film:

The dialogue's so cliched it sounds like it's been translated from another language "I would rather have been killed by that beast than rescued by a half-breed!" intones one of the ronin). The strange pacing speaks of reshoots, inserts and trouble behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Reeves' particularly brand of sleepy handsomeness isn't enough to fill the gaps, and he barely has anything to do, so we're left with a bunch of Japan's finest actors speaking broken English like they're reading from cue cards.

Variety, reserving some praise for the visuals:

In Japan, the story of the 47 ronin is so central to the country's national identity that a special word exists for the act of retelling it: Chushingura. But despite this long tradition of flexible reinterpretation, the Hollywood-backed "47 Ronin" takes such liberties with the underlying legend that a different term comes to mind, one better suited to American actor Keanu Reeves' involvement: "bogus." So far, Japanese audiences have been slow to embrace a CG-heavy version of the story that offers Keanu as a previously unsung "half-breed" accomplice. Meanwhile, domestic crowds are being deliberately misled to think he's the star -- a high-stakes bait-and-switch sure to backfire on this narratively stiff but compositionally dazzling production.

This article is related to: 47 Ronin, Universal Pictures, Keanu Reeves, Reviews


E-Mail Updates