47 RONIN DVD (2013)
SYNOPSIS: After a treacherous warlord kills their master and banishes their kind, 47 leaderless samurai vow to seek vengeance and restore honor to their people. Driven from their homes and dispersed across the land, this band of Ronin must seek the help of Kai - a half breed they once rejected as they fight their way across a savage world of mythic beasts, shape-shifting witchcraft and wondrous terrors.
One of the biggest bombs of 2013 is none other than the fantasy action flick, 47 Ronin. Based on a Japanese legend about a group of masterless samurais who came together to avenge the death of their Lord, the long-delayed US$225 million production failed to ignite audience’ interests and ultimately bored the rest of the paying crowd to tears.
The entire affair is muddled all thanks to screenwriters Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious) and Hossein Amini (Drive) who infused the heroic tale with a touch of mythical and a half-breed Kai (Keanu Reeves) character. The plotting loses all senses of direction and stranded in a sea of clichéd dialogues and CGI despite the lush costumes and props.
The story begins in ancient feudal Japan where a benevolent Lord Asano adopts an outcast by the name of Kai. Years later, Lord Asano is framed by a scheming Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) and a mysterious witch played by Pacific Rim’s Rinko Kikuchi and is ordered to be executed by a Shogun. Vowing to take revenge, Lord Kira’s right-hand man, Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) seeks the help of Kai and his band of samurais to fight against Kira and to have their honor restored.
No matter how you criticized The Last Samurai, it remains very much a tale of honor and mostly, adheres itself strongly to the Japanese culture. On the contrary, 47 Ronin instead of being respectful to the origins decide to throw in an underwhelming main lead in the form of Keanu Reeves. Of course, it’s a tall order to match the charismatic Tom Cruise and Reeves given his limitations in acting certainly has the disadvantage of bringing to life to a stumbling character.
Even the always-reliable Hiroyuki Sanada looks incredibly restless while Tadanobu Asano probably wins the top award for most clichéd villain of the year. Rinko Kikuchi on the other hand has the opportunity to flaunt her seldom-seen foxy side and not forgetting the cool visual effects, which stylishly render her character’s shape shifting skills. First time helmer Carl Rinsch was rumoured to have removed by Universal from the editing room closer to the release date. Whether the fault lies in his original vision for the movie, the screenwriters’ folly or the involvement of Universal executives, 47 Ronin remains a mundane adventure that lacks exciting action pieces and importantly an authentic epic story.
The visual and images are strikingly beautiful on DVD. Dialogue and sound effects during the action sequences rattle the surround making it an impressive listening experience.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee