I remember when I first saw the trailer to 47 Ronin, as it seemed to come from out of nowhere, but yet seemed as epic as any other Hollywood blockbuster that comes out during the summer or holiday season, and I couldn’t figure out how it got past me. But when I searched my memory, I did have some floating thoughts around a Keanu Reeves films hitting major troubles during production, and it seemed like a sword-and-sandal Japanese epic.
The reason I didn’t put two-and-two together right away was because I thought that film was an overseas production, and unlikely to get a major release in the western world. So once I realised these two things were in fact the same thing, I was both really interested to see what the finished product would be, but was also weary as I did know about these production issues, which more often than not, never leads to a quality product.
Then the film started to hit the international box-office, and it seemed to be bombing in every place it opened, all except Russia. I have no idea why it would do so well there, when it even seemed to be doing average business in Japan, where the film is set. So things started to not look so good for the film, but as ever, I try and put such things out of my mind, and head along to see the film anyway with a blank slate of an opinion as best I can.
47 Ronin was many things, but one thing it wasn’t was bad. Since seeing it, I’ve heard a lot of hate about this film from people who haven’t even seen it, which to me is a very frustrating thing. But I mainly put this down to one of three things, or a combination of the three. The fact it stared Keanu Reeves, the fact they heard in the media it had a troubled shoot and bombed at the box office, or the worst, the slight causal racism people tend to have towards things that are foreign to them, be it the setting, the language spoken, or just the cultural themes.
Yes, the film didn’t need to have a 200 million dollar budget. Yes, they didn’t need to take a true story and give it a fantasy twist. Yes, it needed more humor. Yes, it had some cheesy dialogue when it came to the love story. Yes, it would have been better in Japanese with English subtitles. Yes, the end battle did feel like an adult Atreyu battling an old Falkor to the death after a disagreement. But, it was still entertaining and well worth seeing.
So though it’s far from perfect, it is still enjoyable, though it could easily be saved for at home when it comes out on DVD or VOD. But if you feel like a big screen spectacle that takes you on a journey far removed from your daily life, then this will still treat your senses to a decent escape from reality.
8 out of 10 from me!!!