47 Ronin (2013)

2016 #18
Carl Rinsch | 119 mins | streaming (HD) | 2.35:1 | USA / English | 12 / PG-13

Blighted by behind-the-scenes difficulties, 47 Ronin wound up among the biggest box office bombs of all time — a fate not entirely undeserved.

It concerns a gang of samurai who set out to avenge their master, a true story that’s legendary in Japan. This telling is enhanced with fantasy elements — which, despite some critics’ views, is just fine, as the film’s historical advisor explains in this excellent defence.

Sadly, what falters is everything else: clumsy storytelling, poorly edited action, Japanese actors struggling with English dialogue, Keanu Reeves’ acting. Magnificent imagery and design stop it being a total disaster, but only just.

2 out of 5

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