47 Ronin


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on December 2013

When their daimyo is tricked into having to commit seppuku, his now-masterless samurai get their revenge, but at the price of their own ritual suicides. This tale of honor, loyalty and sacrifice is the most famous example of the bushido code, and amounts to Japan’s “national legend.” Then there’s this movie. Granted, most Chushingura dramatizations are fictionalized, but this one takes the pink potato. A monster-slaying Keanu Reeves (and where is Steven Seagal when you really need him?), after worming his way into the title troop, proceeds to rally and reboot the retired ronin, but first must battle CG monsters and giant gladiators, and outsmart forest demons to acquire swords—all this to give the creators of the crappy 3D something to do. The sets are more Temple of Doom than feudal Japan. The dialogue’s eye-rollingly corny, and the (over)acting by a mostly Japanese cast almost makes Keanu look good. (It’s shown in two versions: Japanese and tortured English.) This is one of the worst movies ever made. Someone should do jail time for making a movie this bad. If I were Japanese I’d protest in front of the American Embassy. All that said, however, it does have hilarious bad-movie potential. A few drinks first wouldn’t hurt. (121 min)