Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano
Story (may contain spoilers!):
Keanu Reeves plays a half breed foreigner who during his youth, escaped from his caretakers after honing his skills. He passed out of exhaustion in the woods and was found by a passerby whom had taken him in and care for him. Kai (Keanu Reeves screenplay character name) was happy living under Lord Asano's house even though he was constantly bullied and get picked at by the others for not being Japanese. Lord Asano's daughter, Mika, took an interest in Kai from early on and from then on their platonic relationship grew.
Years later, being all grown up, Kai serves as a servant in Lord Asano's house and is still being picked on and despised by the others in the household. The Samurais together with Kai were hunting down a creature in the woods. One of the samurai were hot on the heels of the creature but had his sword disarmed and was vulnerable. The creature charged at him but the samurai was saved by Kai with his quick action. Despising Kai, the samurai told Kai off for saving him and retrieved his sword, claiming victory over the slain beast when the others discovered them.
Back at Lord Asano's house, they were preparing for the samurai battle that is to be taken place with Shogun Tsunayoshi coming. On the day of the battle, Lord Asano's samurai was preparing for battle but was hypnotized by a witch called Mizuki with the command of her master Lord Kira (one of Shogun's men) who schemes to take over Lord Asano's domain, the province of Ako. Kai, seeing what had transpired, decided to suit up in the battle armor in order for Lord Asano not be dishonored.
During the battle, his helmet fell off when he was grounded exposing for who he is. Shogun, infuriated that a non-samurai is taking part, ordered Kai to be executed. Mika jumped in front of Kai to stop him from being executed. This prompted Lord Asano to do so as well and reasoned with the shogun to forgive Kai as he is responsible for this. The shogun accepted and just punish Kai by being beaten.
That night, Mika visited Kai at his quarters but Kai being just a lowly servant dismissed Mika away politely much to Mika's dismay. Also on that night where the Shogun and his men are putting up a night at Lord Asano's house, Lord Kira with the assistance of his witch Mizuka, put Lord Asano under a spell where he thought that Lord Kira was raping his daughter. So he sleepwalk to where Lord Kira is and drew his sword wanting to strike Lord Kira dead but was quickly stopped by his son Oishi. Shogun having this attention brought to light, ordered Lord Asano to be executed. But due to his service for the country, Lord Asano was given the honor to commit seppuku for an honorable death which Lord Asano accepted.
Come early morning, Lord Asano committed seppuku and that's where Lord Kira springs his plan into action. Shogun declares Ako being Lord Kira's jurisdiction and him to marry Mika to seal the deal but she would be given one year to grieve over her father. The samurais under Lord Asano are now ronins and was cast out of the land by Lord Kira except for Oishi, where he's kept in solitary confinement. Kai was sold into slavery and all of them are ordered by the shogun never to seek revenge.
After about a year is passing, Oishi was released from his confinement and that's when Oishi starts off his plan by gathering everyone that was exiled back together in order to avenge Lord Asano.
Although many may not like this movie, I somehow find it entertaining. Maybe because I can see some Japanese culture in it that I so long to be indulged in once more. That's probably the point of the movie that I enjoy about the most. The actions were slow and sluggish to be accepted by me as an action movie, the CGI feels out of place for a movie like this not to mention the half fantasy of what the original 47 Ronin story has become with aliens, shapeshifters and monster roaming about as if it's a part of Middle Earth. Also, the awkward dialogs of how everyone around who's Japanese are somewhat sounded forced to speak in English just for the sake of the protagonist although they do speak as if reciting poetry (ah, those cultured Japanese). I think the movie would be better if it's spoken in Japanese. Anyway, despite all these negative points, I do enjoy the movie but would seem pointless to watch it in 3D since I don't see any advantageous effect that would provide a much more enjoyable watch over non-3D.
Despite it all, I'm gonna give this 3.5 stars out of 5.