47 Ronin, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Chūshingura, Gladiator, Hero, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ip Man, Jin Akanishi, Keanu Reeves, Kou Shibasaki, Lord of the Rings, Min Tanaka, Neil Fingleton, Red Cliff, Rinko Kikuchi, Shogun miniseries, Spartacus series, Tadanobu Asano, The Matrix
‘47 Ronin’ is the 2013 film directed by Carl Rinsch. Screenwriters were Chris Morgan and Hossein Amini. Based on the Chūshingura legend.
Asano Takumi-no-kami Naganori (Min Tanaka), Daimyo of Akō, attempted to kill Kira Kōzuke-no-suke Yoshinaka (Tadanobu Asano) for some unknown reason. Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) orders him to commit seppuku, hara-kiri or ritual suicide. This manner of death allows him to die with honor. The Akō Domain was also claimed as the Shogun’s property.
Ōishi Kuranosuke Yoshio (Hiroyuki Sanada), Leader of Asano’s samurai clan, and his men are ordered not to take revenge against Kira then are dismissed from service and made master less samurai or Ronin.
Mika (Kou Shibasaki), Asano’s only child, is married off to Kira. The shape shifter Mizuki (Rinko Kikuchi) is one of Kira’s allies. The Lovecraftian Samurai, a man of great height, (Neil Fingleton) is another.
Kai (Keanu Reeves), who is half Japanese, was taken in by Asano as a boy. He is a servant in their household and Mika’s childhood sweetheart. Chikara (Jin Akanishi), Oishi’s son, hoped to follow in his father’s footsteps and become samurai.
Oishi, his men together with Kai and Chikara defied the Shogun’s orders by reuniting two years later to avenge Asano’ death. With their master’s honor restored, the 47 surrendered for judgment. The Shogun’s decree is seppuku.
The good: Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Min Tanaka, Jin Akanishi, Kou Shibasaki and Rinko Kikuchi. All gave valiant efforts to elevate the screenplay. Wanted very much for them to take the box office by storm. The entire film should’ve mirrored the wedding sequence. Keanu Reeves kicking a$$ and taking names.
The bad: Rip-offs the Shogun miniseries, Lord of the Rings franchise, The Matrix franchise and Gladiator. Trying too hard to become the next Hero or Red Cliff. Shades of Ip Man franchise and Spartacus series. Supernatural elements while cool took away from film.
The 47 fighting against overwhelming odds for honor and duty is something everyone can relate to. Adding gigantic supernatural creatures was overkill and unnecessary. The Japanese cast was held back by the script. Oishi was the only fully realized character.
The savior Kai was needed to ensure their victory. Needed more of Chikara’s relationship with his dad. The other Ronin were undistinguishable from the next. Kept waiting for someone to accidently call Kia Neo. Why was the great white hope needed?
Kai wasn’t killed as a suspected spy or sold into slavery. An act of bravery was all it took for Kai to be welcomed into the fold. Asano allowed Mika’s romance to blossom into adulthood. Everyone knew Mika and Kai had feelings for each other.
Asano somehow knew Kai was special. The reason for Kai’s awesomeness is explained later. Kai, posing as samurai, loses an exhibition match. Mika pleads for his life. Shaming her father in the process and forcing him to take the blame. Making everything that follows her fault.
The ugly: TPTB decided Chūshingura wasn’t epic enough to portray as a historically accurate action film.