47 Ronin Blu Ray Review The Visuals try to make up for what the story lacks

There’s been much talk about 47 Ronin from the time that it was announce. The casting sounded phenomenal on paper, even though there were whispers of Keanu Reeves inability to act. The director,  Chris Rinch, known for his great visual style seemed perfect for the task. And the story line, inspired by Japan’s most famous legend seemed too good to be true. It was. Where the Story goes wrong the CGI, action and camera direction go right, making 47 Ronin rife with potential, but never quite delivering on its promise.

47 Ronin was inspired by the real-life events of the forty-seven ronin, a "ronin" is a master-less samurai warrior. A well-respected and beloved Lord was framed for crimes. The Shogun allowed the Lord to regain his honor by taking his own life in traditional suicidal fashion. The Lord's land and daughter were then given to the man who framed him; the samurai were banished and sentenced to death should they ever return. The 47 ronin returned to reveal the new Lord's guilt and restore honor and integrity to the Lord's family name out of love and respect, and to save his daughter from her impending marriage taking on dragons, a witch and an army to do so. Outsider halfbreed Kai, and leader Kuranosuke Oishi, risk life, reputation, and family to reclaim the honor of their late master.

Had the movie followed the legend it would have come across very The Last Samurai, but instead it incorporates supernatural spectacles that throw the film off balance in their sloppy delivery. It’s hardly seemless, and a weird Asian Matrix vibe ruins the talent on-screen. Although Reeves has a great physicality during action sequences, he stumbles along in just about every other scene letting his co-stars pick up the slack, which they do delivering engrossing and colorful performances.

The film is visually stunning at times, but cannot decide if it wishes to go for the grand sweeping sets. The action sequences are good, but there’s too much time between them, with the editing making the ones there feel incomplete. The pacing is too slow too often, failing to grab and maintain audiences’ interest. It has all the potential for a major Japanese epic, but rather than going for depth and greatness it comes off as shallow.
Video: To take in all the special effects, the Blu –Ray is highly recommended. The details and the colors come off as especially vibrant and alive.

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes: There are four, but none of them seem to offer any real insight or importance to the story or characters.

Re-Forging the Legend : The original historical story from A to Z, filled with spoilers. The filmmakers, cast and crew explain how fantasy elements were added to the true story.

Keanu & Kai : Keanu Reeves  gets a chance to explain how his character fits into the story. It includes interviews from the director and stunt team.

Steel Fury: The Fights of 47 Ronin: Probably the best addition, it has a breakdown of a few stunt sequences and the physicality behind it.

Myths, Magic & Monsters: The visual effects are certainly top-notch and it shows just how much CG was involved.

Although I expected to, I didn't completely hate 47 Ronin. It isn't awful, but it didn’t come close to meeting its cinematic or emotional potential. I want to believe that there’s a longer director’s cut which was a flowing masterpiece, but well, I just don’t have it in me. The 2 1/2 hour run time, already seem overly long. The video and audio qualities are great, the score is especially good, far grander than the film itself. 47 Ronin is certainly good enough for a watch, and luckily its available on DVD and Blu ray now.


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