Tear It Apart!!!: 47 Ronin

A little late to the game? Sure. But now's our chance to Tear It Apart!!! A review of 47 Ronin.

"I'm still deciding. Which pill
do I take? Anyone? Bueller?"
I love spectacularly bad movies. I'm not just talking about the low budget "So bad they're good" classics like Tommy Wiseau's The Room or Tim and Eric's Billion $ Movie. I'm talking about the big-budget, star-studded pieces of dog doo that never should have been made.
I was fortunate enough to see just such a film on Friday, Jan. 3, at the movie theater in 3D, despite the fact that it hasn't done jack squat at the box office since opening Christmas day. It stars the title character from the Matrix movies, Keanu Reeves!
What's that? His name was Neo in the Matrix movies? An anagram of one!? That's even dumber than calling him The Matrix! But I digress...
47 Ronin was made with a devastating dose of nepotism. Director Carl Erik Rinsch was dating Ridley Scott's daughter when they hired him and gave him a $170 million budget. Prior to directing this filth, he had directed some commercials. Brilliant.
The lack of direction is unintentionally (and hilariously) evident throughout the entire two hours. Right when you think they're about to start developing a character, they switch to a crappy CGI action scene. When you think the battles are about to start getting heavy, you get a plot twist betrayal along the intellectual lines of a He-Man cartoon circa 1984.
It all starts with a boy running (literally) from his past with a few practice-cut scars on his head. The troop of Samurai who find him think he's a demon and should be killed, but their leader has a good feeling about him, so he takes him to live with the Samurai posse.
He lives as an outcast, being treated like total crap by the clan that saved him. But the leader and his daughter really dig him for some reason. In a quick shot of the outcast and the clan leader's daughter as teenagers, they have very strong British accents. The girl is pure Japanese, and as we find out much too late in the film to give a care, Keanu's character is half English, half-Japanese and has never lived anywhere but Japan.
"I have the exact same look on my face
from the last picture. Dynamic, isn't it?
But I finally decided that red is better."
Naturally, both characters have pure American accents as adults. They didn't even bother mimicking Kevin
Costner's abominable accent from Robin Hood. I kept waiting for Keanu to look at the old master and say "Morpheus!?!?!?"
Unfortunately, there's not nearly enough action, and I have no idea how a movie with a $170 million budget could UNDER use 3D effects. I didn't need my 3D glasses for 90% of the movie! Throw a knife at me, chuck a sword at the camera, something!
In the last half hour of the flick, Rinsch rushes to try and pull everything together. We get to actually meet some of the shamed Samurai who are trying to win back their honor. Well, one of them, anyway. A fat guy who's supposed to provide comic relief, but provides the fewest laughs in the film.
At the end, it's supposed to be a small band of Samurai taking on thousands of warriors to regain their honor, but we only see the heroes take out about a dozen enemies! There's a really funny looking bad guy Samurai Warrior who's a dead ringer for Skeletor, again from the He-Man franchise. If he was in the film more, I'd give it a higher "so bad it's good" rating. But he's only in two scenes.

With crappy effects, no direction, and a laughably hegemonic presentation, 47 Ronin *might* be worth buying on DVD in a year when it's in the five dollar bin. You could trick your friends at a Kirosawa party you're throwing by putting this movie in as an ironic gag. But you can skip it for now, even with all its epic fails.

Tom gave 47 Ronin a 5 out of 10 on the so bad its good scale.
-Review by Tom McDaniel