The story of the 47 ronin—disgraced samurai who avenged their master despite the shogunate’s strict forbiddance—is one of the most popular tales in Japanese history. Books have been written, operas composed and numerous movies made (the most notable in 1941 by the great Kenji Mizoguchi). Now the English-speaking world gets a moronically loud and obnoxious version of its own, tarted up with mythical monsters, gravity-defying swordplay and Keanu Reeves.
His Whoa-ness plays Kai, a half-breed servant with kick-ass fighting skills. After his lord is forced to commit seppuku due to the machinations of an evil witch (Rinko Kikuchi) and the power-hungry soldier (Tadanobu Asano) she has under her spell, Kai teams up with several dishonored warriors to seek vengeance. The basics of the story remain unchanged, but it’s the wanna-be-blockbuster additions that rankle, be it the incoherent direction of first-time feature director Carl Rinsch or the copious CGI beasties who look like rejected Lord of the Rings villains.
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