Average User Score: 6.2Dec 30, 2013If you need to have the term "second" in relation to seppuku explained, perhaps this movie wasn't made for you. Without a passing knowledge on Japanese culture you may feel lost, especially in the act of speaking without speaking, the language of bows, distance, eye contact and other nonverbal cues. For those who've not at least been exposed to Kurosawa or really any small amount of jidaigeki, themes and core aspects of the film will likely be lost on you and the film doesn't hold your hand through the some of the tougher material. Anyone who saw this film and thought Keanu Reeves was the star was mistaken. Keanu is a viewpoint character for (western) viewers. Hiroyuki Sanada is the star of this story of betrayal, revenge and misplaced but well-intentioned bushido. The fantastic aspects are simply flash on the side that embellish a long embellished story and expose uninitiated audiences to the alien mythos of Japan. They aren't necessary, but they add elements those in the know will appreciate.
That's not to say the film is perfect. Other than a brief but solid set piece involving the aforementioned mystical elements (and a great and novel interpretation of a classic Japanese race of creatures), the second act is sloppy with far too rapid scene cuts, dissolving from one to the next without a fair share between the lot as if to remind the viewers that certain characters are indeed still in the film. After that, the third act rolls on without a hitch to an excellent climax and a bittersweet finish that might leave oblivious westerners with a sour taste.
This reviewer noticed that apparently many reviewers were "forced" to buy a ticket themselves to see the film (oh the horror!) and wonders if it's too beyond the pale that their reviews were especially rotten for this reason. In any case, it's worth noting that while a certain aggregate site has critic reviews at around 10%, the audience review is closer to 65% (which is approximately the same here). If 47 Ronin looks interesting to you, you'll probably like it. Ignore critic reviews since they seem to have a natural aversion to scifi and fantasy, really anything that requires suspension of disbelief (beyond Keanu Reeves' ability to emote). Check it out at a matinee showing with some friends and judge it for yourself.
(The only real gripes I have are that the swordplay is more European--sword clashes are almost never okay with katana unless you want a chipped or shattered sword--and the Dutch pirate with the skeleton tattoo makes a cameo appearance at most.)
Also, complaints about inaccuracies or additions to the film ring hollow for me. The Chushingura has been told countless times in bunraku and kabuki plays, other films by Japanese directors, and even in opera and on and on. This is a new and original take on the story and should not be discounted due to tertiary liberties.… Expand