February 13, 2014

Ignore This Poster. It is Highly Misleading

Director Carl Rinch gives the classic tale of Bushido a supernatural twist. The film boasts an all star cast of Japanese A-listers including Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano, Min Tanaka and Jin Akashini. They are joined by Keneau Reeves portraying a magical honkey who teaches our heroes an important lesson in respect and tolerance.

Despite that...last bit, this is not a bad film. It is rather strange though.

A brief narration gives a decent overview of the political situation in 18th century Japan and the fact that this film is based on a historical event...shortly before introducing the audience to some really impressive supernatural weirdness. This is a Japan where the Tengu and other Yokai are real and can be quite dangerous. Thanks in part to the supernatural element, Reeves's character is not entirely egregious and his incongruous presence actually serves to establish the decency of the Lord Asano character ( Min Tanaka).  In spite of a somewhat dubious romantic subplot between him and Ko Shibasaki, Reeves is, at best a deutoragonist and, in fact Hirouki Sanada as Oishi emerges in his historical role as the lead. This is actually a fairly straightforward retelling of the story....Well....aside from a much grander scale, the occasional supernatural horror, and Pirates of the Caribbean homages. This is all done with an astonishing amount of what appears to be...sincerity.

  47 Ronin is a pretty odd film, but if one HAD to somehow work Keneau Reeves into this story, this is about as respectful to the source material as one could hope for. If one wanted to remake this film without the supernatural elements...well, there's no point in that because  Hiroshi Inegaki nailed it in 1962. As it is, this is a pretty good popcorn flick that, surprisingly, does not cop out on the point of the story. It's even clever at times with a few moments of 'fridge brilliance'

I admit I went into this with low expectations, but, while no great work of art, it is a surprisingly solid film.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 09:51 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 And since, in the 18th and 19th century, long-beaked tengu were strongly associated with big-nosed American and European guys as well as with teaching swordsmanship and other skills and knowledge....

Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at Sat Feb 15 18:38:45 2014 (cvXSV)

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