47 RONIN - What Are The Critics Saying?
Nothing good! If you were thinking about spending your Christmas Day in the theatre with 47 Ronin, you may want to consider giving The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug another viewing as the critics have so far not been kind to the action movie starring Keanu Reeves. Check it out!
A small degree of pleasure can be extracted from the movie when Kai inexplicably undergoes a personality transplant midway through and turns into a dominant swashbuckler, having previously been a thoroughly submissive figure who evoked the passive receptionist Carol from sitcom The Brittas Empire. There's also an incomprehensible shift in terms of which character's perspective we witness the story unfold from, with samurai leader Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada) being given the reins once Kai disappears for a large chunk of the narrative. The central theme of 47 Ronin is one of sacrifice. After sitting through this disaster, you'll feel as if you've sacrificed plenty but without any reward.
SOURCE: Digital Spy
It all begins to seem like an Asian meditation on Super Mario, as Kai and company must ascend various levels (fire, dragon, bad theater) to rescue the princess. But there’s little sense of urgency, or — oddly, given the film’s title — of scale. You never really think that the 47 are truly outnumbered, and the large action scenes are often just incomprehensible. Which is too bad, because it’s fleetingly good (for some of us, anyway) to see Reeves again. An actor who’s been spending much of his time in the fringes of indie cinema lately, he seems almost like an afterthought in this big-budget movie banking on his name.
SOURCE: New York Post
There’s a sober pace to this sometimes picturesque film: The dutifully arranged action building blocks and the meager story filler are ploddingly punctuated by landscape shots. But “47 Ronin” can’t entirely paper over the void at its center, traceable partly to the shadowboxing of computer-aided filmmaking or studio tinkering. (Reshoots reportedly occurred, with changes including the placement of Mr. Reeves’s character at the center of a climactic battle with a dragon.) Taken as a blithe exercise in fantasy with historical trappings, the skewed results feel more inevitable than disappointing. “47 Ronin” falls in with a long line of exotic entertainments that have periodically seized American screens since the age of serials, in which the maneuverings of adaptation almost feel like part of the drama.
SOURCE: New York Times
And like many B-movies, it exists in a vacuum of humour or self-awareness. A cackling witch, played by Pacific Rim’s Rinko Kikuchi, seems plucked straight from a Blackpool pantomime. With a reported budget just south of $200m, it’s flush with production values. There’s pomp and pageantry in every frame, but the emphasis on historical accuracy in costume and set design sits a little queasily alongside the witches, demons and dragons. Ultimately, this vision of feudal Japan seems to fall somewhere between a graphic novel and computer game. But even comics and games are less witless and tedious than this. If they’d spent a little more time on the script and less on the dojo colour scheme...
SOURCE: Sky Movies
The eagerness of the major studios to cozy up to Asian markets yields awkward results in 47 Ronin, a lumpy 3D epic from Universal that fuses Japanese historical legend with generic CGI-heavy action fantasy. While the reported $175 million budget is evident in the handsome production values of Carl Rinsch's ambitious first feature, it falls short on character definition, emotional involvement, narrative drive and originality, with a protagonist played by Keanu Reeves who often gets bumped to the sidelines. Following its soft start in Japan, the English-language film may prove too Hollywood for Eastern audiences and too Asian to crack the American commercial mainstream.
SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter
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. It couldn't be more stilted if the cast were actually on stilts. Which, given the circumstances, wouldn't seem that weird. "I will search for you through 1,000 worlds and 10,000 lifetimes!" Reeves promises his beloved. Anyone who sits all the way through this glossy folly will know exactly how that feels.
SOURCE: Total Film
It's hard to care about any of the other playershowever, since the movie is intent on showcasing Kai, who we learn has special powers. Though Reeves' moves are strikingly lithe — showing no evidence of his 49 years — he comes across as stilted and bland in a role in which he's meant to be a tortured hero. While the painted backdrops and locations are stunning, the whole thing seems more like a video game instead of a grand epic. The film opens with the premise: "To know the story of the 47 Ronin is to know the story of Japan. " Alas, this plodding reimagining does not come close to fulfilling its promise.
SOURCE: USA Today
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 when it opens Dec. 25 in the U.S.
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