47 Ronin, Keanu Reeves’ samurai movie is trending on Netflix, despite its previous flop at the box office in 2013. Even Universal has plans for a sequel.
“47 Ronin” (2013) is Carl Rinsch’s first project as a director, sadly that is quite visible in the final product. The movie is loosely based on a true story about a group of 47 master-less samurais and their ambition to avenge their master’s disgraced death. But do not watch the movie if you are expecting it to touch the standards set by the “Last Samurai”, starring Tom Cruise.
“47 Ronin” is peppered with all kinds of monsters and magic, and for a while, you would feel that Keanu Reeves had entered Middle Earth. Even though that was Universal Studios’ vision, but the director did not agree with it. He wanted to make a movie that would be similar in theme to that of “Gladiator” or the “Kingdom of Heaven”, a movie dipped in heavy drama.
Due to these conflicts, the final product did not fulfill the vision of either party. Even several re-shoots could not save the movie from its downfall. The total budget of the movie reached up to a whopping $175 million, which was all due to the poor coordination between the studio and the director.
The story of the movie rotates around the revenge of the 47 master-less samurais, when Lord Asano (played by Min Tanaka) is disrespected by Lord Akira (played by Tadanobu Asano). Later Kai, who is performed by the talented Keanu Reeves, tries to save the day, but would he be able to do so or not?
The cast is mostly Japanese, and the deference, on Reeves’s part, feels like an act of resistance. He cedes the foreground to the nonwhite stars — Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Kou Shibasaki, Rinko Kikuchi, and Jin Akanishi. But they’re required to act in English, and it seems like hell on their comfort. Whenever someone speaks, the film cuts to whomever that actor is addressing or uses a wide shot that makes it hard to see who’s speaking.
“Good acting isn’t crucial to a big action movie. Confidence is. And you feel as if the actors here are being undermined by all the cheating.” – wrote Wesley Morris on Rotten Tomatoes in 2013.
“47 Ronin” (2013) was partly shot at ORIGO Studios in Budapest, Hungary, where a practical set was built with a village and its port in the studio’s 4373 sqm (47,074 sqf) 20 m (48’3″) high soundstage.
The rest of the movie was shot in the U.K. at Pinewood Studios.
The cinematography of the movie was one of the good things about it. Under the capable hands of John Mathieson, some beautiful shots were captured using the Arri Alexa, Zeiss Master Prime Lenses (dual-strip 3-D).
47 Ronin series by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Even though the movie was not a success at the box office, the movie was a success on DVD and VOD, maybe that’s the reason that a sequel of the movie has been announced by the studio. The announcement was made in 2020, and it was also mentioned that the movie would be directed by Ron Yuan. The studio did not want to deal with Carl Rinsch again.
“I’m incredibly excited to be working with Universal and the producing team on this genre-blending, martial arts, action, horror and cyber-punk film,” said Yuan to Deadline. “This will be a fun, intense, supercharged thrill ride for viewers globally.”
Let us hope that the sequel, which is set 300 years in the future is better than the original movie. But whatever the case is, the viewing of the first instalment is necessary before the sequel comes out, therefore, you must see the movie for the sake of Keanu Reeves, but watch it without having any kind of preconceived notions about it, or you would regret having those notions in the first place.