47 Ronin (2013)

Carl Rinsch directs Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada and Rinko Kikuchi in this fantasy adventure where a dishonoured group of samurai band together to fight the evil Lord who plotted their master’s downfall.

One of the biggest financial disasters in recent Hollywood history, I remember this being a perfectly ‘alright’ watch at the multiplex. Sure, there is a massive $175 million overspend here, a first time director and fudgey issues of cultural appropriation… but all that money is up there on-screen! We have a gorgeous looking slice of blockbuster with wondrous location work, lush costume design and good creature FX. So the dialogue often looks like it has been shot from the least acceptable angle, so they’ve crowbarred in a white star into the plot… there’s always something beautiful to marvel at. If you want honky-free samurai vengeance action then Takashi Miike’s contemporary 13 Assassins or Blade of the Immortal do this all so much better but even they don’t have Rinko Kikuchi’s vamping it up as a sex witch making a mockery of the PG-13 rating. Turn your brain off and this is some pretty sweet eye candy. There’s enough positive to balance out the negatives… a very zen experience.

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