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Blu-ray review: ’47 Ronin’ is a sluggish and silly samurai flick

47 Ronin


47 Ronin” will release to Blu-ray on April 1.

Keanu Reeves in '47 Ronin'
Universal Pictures

The movie:

Oh, boy. This movie is a big stinker. And it’s not just because of Keanu Reeves. While he has the emotional range of a brick wall here, one into which you’d rather smash your face multiple times than watch “47 Ronin,” Reeves isn’t the movie’s main problem. The other actors can’t seem to bring anything to the film, and the script is just so bland that you’ll want to skip to the action scenes. And even those are a bit disappointing. This movie cost $175 million to make, and they couldn’t execute the action scenes or CGI that well? Where did all of the money go?

This is loosely based on the Japanese tale of the 47 Ronin, which means they just took certain elements of the story; tossed the rest of it out of the window; and decided to make one big blockbuster film. These 47 leaderless samurai, including half-breed Kai (Reeves), are seeking vengeance against the warlord who killed their master. There are battles against dragons; witches; and a snail-paced runtime. You’ll be dozing off in certain spots, only to wish you could have just fallen asleep until the credits rolled.

First-time director Carl Rinsch doesn’t even bother to make this feel like a true Japanese film, by having some dialogue in that language and adding subtitles at the bottom. While the film does look pretty, and some of the action scenes are well-choreographed, “47 Ronin” is just one big, emotionless bore. It’s hard to get invested in the film, when the characters aren’t that well developed. And it’s hard to get to some of the neat-looking scenes, when the buildup to them takes forever.

The Blu-ray:

The audio transfer is fine, and the video quality really does capture the beauty of Japan – making the visual aspect of the film a treat to watch at home, if you missed it in the theaters.

The special features:

“47 Ronin” has quite a few special features, but they all run less than 10 minutes apiece.

There are a few deleted scenes, that don’t really seem like they would have added anything to the film.

“Keanu & Kai” has Keanu Reeves going in depth about his lead role.

“Re-forging the Legend” takes viewers behind the scenes of the film.

“Steel Fury” looks at all the fight scenes of “47 Ronin,” and shows viewers how they were done.

“Myths, Magic & Monsters” looks at the special effects of the movie, including how they got to make the scene where Reeves fights a dragon.


Film: D+

Audio/Video: A/A

Special features: C+

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