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Review: Reeves comes off bogus in 'Ronin'

34 Comments
By PETER DEBRUGE

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34 Comments
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this looked like 'Bad Movie Night' material the first time I saw in in the theatre. if they had only called it something else

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The key difference between most Chushingura comes in the speculated motives behind Asano’s initial attack upon his rival in the palace...

No, I'd say the key difference comes with the "CG monstrosity," the 10-foot silver-armored samurai, and the deliciously evil witch. Oh, and the presence of a "half-breed" Keanu Reeves.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Too much self-sacrifice in evidence for me to get interested in seeing it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I heard that Keanu Reeves didn't play that big a part, that they used him like a bait-and-switch to attract movie-goers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is no way this can come close to Inagaki's 1962 version. I'm a big fan of Keanu Reeves but he is no Toshiro Mifune. And even the greatest CGI could never top an Ifukube soundtrack.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Yet another story given the Hollywood treatment, distorted and unrecognisable from the original...

13 ( +17 / -4 )

What an atrocity this is, a bloated CGI monstrosity that insults the legend of the story it is based on.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Wait the dragon did not realy happen? :O

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Heck, I'll watch it.

I know I've seen worse before.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I didn't think it'd be worth watching. I saw the trailer's and thought "yeah, because that's really how the story went." I'm not really a big Keanu Reeves fan either. The best film I've seen him in is Constantine. Hollywood should stick to that: Comic Book movies and original ideas, not butchering legends or "revamping" the classics.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I don't think the story has ever been told correctly, by anyone, even in Japan. The original tale has been warped by a multitude of Japanese film makers over the years to make it more heroic than it actually was. But the stories they have produced are still great, great believable stories - great entertainment. Why this new version was done with CG, dragons and some characters that were never there in the first place is beyond me. It has nothing that could make me believe is was set in the Tokugawa period if I were to watch it. I'll give it a pass.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

self-sacrifice in evidence for me to get interested in seeing it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I admit to having a morbid interest in how Hollywood would butcher this and planned on seeing the movie. My wife talked me into watching something else instead. Anyway,these photos alone are enough to make me wince. It's like they were resigned to bad results in any case and made very feeble attempts at any authenticity.

Masochist urges satsified for the next few years.

I've seen a few Western attempts to make a decent Japan period movie. Can't recall any that left me impressed as believable or worth remembering. Anyone?

(To be fair, a lot of Japanese productions are not great either, but there are some good ones too)

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Maybe international audiences are no longer gullible in believing 'only the white guy' or 'haafu' can save the day! This is the 'The last samurai part 2'.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Still going to see it in theaters,,,,,,,,,,

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If it wasn't known before, this should educate Japan about Hollywood's ethics in movie making.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I like the intentional link to Bill & Ted's "bogus". The author is very correct in that regard -- Reeve's was much more suited to that character than pretty much anything else he's done. I don't consider him a very good actor at all, and this movie sounds like it's one worth missing (at least until DVD release).

That said, audiences in Japan are often slow to embrace movies about Japan if the lead star is a foreigner, and they can be over-critical about historical accuracy when they forget it's a Hollywood flick. I can't count how many times I heard people say "You can't see Mt. Fuji from Yokohama Bay!" when The Last Samurai came out (or how many people were angry at the literal idea that Tom Cruise was 'the last living samurai'), or how wrong so many things were in Memoirs of a Geisha (the biggest complaint being that Sayuri was played by a Chinese who 'could not possibly know what it's like to be a geisha', interestingly enough from mostly men. Oh, and Panasonic employees very angry over the hint that Watanabe's character might represent Mr. Matsushita). The point being that, again, it's not surprising if people here don't embrace a Japanese legendary story redone by Hollywood and with the main character played by a non-Japanese. If it were Watanabe Ken in the lead role you wouldn't be able to get a ticket for weeks, and wouldn't hear the end of how great he and the movie are (CG aside, perhaps).

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

I don't think the story has ever been told correctly, by anyone, even in Japan. The original tale has been warped by a multitude of Japanese film makers over the years to make it more heroic than it actually was.

How many times has Japan butchered Nobunaga............

2 ( +4 / -2 )

One more time with Dances with Wolves (Blue Aliens). There has come a point where there is a total lack of originality in the movie industry, and that there is a desperate need for new script writers. They should force these writers and directors to watch their movies that they are forcing other to endure.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If they didn't call it 47 Ronin it would have been a great movie. I watched it with my Japanese girlfriend and she kept reminding me throughout the movie that the forests, the armor, the islands, the forests, the kimonos, etc were not accurate. She seemed really upset that the story was not told accurately too. I enjoyed it though - despite the updates.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Keanu Reeves should only ever be remembered for one thing: Bill and Ted's awesome adventure or whatever it was called. The only role which he ever gained some traction with.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Yeah, the story line is a bit weak in my opinion, the relationship and emotions in the movie are not very convincing. I was fooled by the clever editing of the trailer.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Never heard if it. But I'm sure it's gonna suck. They should remake Shogun. But not with Keanu Reeves

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Reeves was only rwally good in Bill and Ted as the point was his lack of acting ability. Otherwise average at best.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Me. Reeves acting skills run the gamut from "A" to "a". As long as the script doesn't call for dialogue, emotion, or nuance he's your man.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Oldman

how do you "insult a legend"?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What a sad sad thing to do to one of the classic legends of Japan. I hope it is soon forgotten.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

AkashiAussie: "I watched it with my Japanese girlfriend and she kept reminding me throughout the movie that the forests, the armor, the islands, the forests, the kimonos, etc were not accurate."

Exactly the point I made earlier. If it's a foreign made movie, expect the criticism of all-things-accurate (or not) to be extreme. Had this been a Japanese movie with a director and Japanese cast, you might hear criticism of the overall movie if it's not good, but I doubt you'd hear the same amount of nit-picking over historical/story inaccuracies.

Graham: "As long as the script doesn't call for dialogue, emotion, or nuance he's your man."

SO right! That's why he was pretty well accepted in The Matrix.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I know one person who went to see it last week, he said it sucked big time.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Film was ugly!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As usual, don't bother with gratuitous 3-D version. The director made this into a strange collection of sets that looked more familiar to Korean and Chinese martial action films. The kimono were completely made-up fashions and the women's hairstyles ridiculously overdone and unattractive on the main star, but weirdly interesting on the background ladies of the court. The landscapes shown do not exist in Japan. All the Japanese spoke perfect, vaguely British accented English, was was perfect bizarre to me. No group of Japanese I've ever met spoke this perfectly constantly. Kudos to the actors and dialogue coaches. Recommend seeing the Japanese version with English subtitles.

That aside, it was a fantasy retake of our beloved Chushingura, so leave it at that. Reeves was understated (as he would be as a loner outcast in that society), and rather magnetic. The Japanese cast was terrific, although the actor playing Lord Kira seemed a bit gone-to-fat, but it was good to see Kira played as a robust middle-aged man, not a doddering oldster as in other movies.

So, a very mixed review, but worth seeing. Rating: small bag of popcorn.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anyways this film severely under performed in the U.S. box office.

Universal is writing this turkey off, so much for Keanu's "comeback."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm not watching this because if Keanu Reeves. I'm Japanese Bias so thats why I'm will watch it. I love Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Keanu Reeves is part Hawaiian and I have followed his career from his first great adventure. He will forever be legend as we witness the world becoming the Matrix that takes over human life. I had never heard of the Ronin story and researched it and found it amazing historical story of what Japan once held close to its soul rooted in honor, ancestors, nature, knowledge and self respect.. before anyone could be royalty by shopping and spending the family fortune on food, booze and $20,000 handbags. These film makers should have at least some self respect and hired a Japanese cultural expert, or had the heart of a Clint Eastwood... but having worked in Hollywood .. there is no soul in filmmaking that is getting worse each year with bad ideas, action over content and remakes of remakes and if you need a studio to give you a green light just get Brad Pitt or George Clooney to kill some Germans. Look what happened when the pirates who bought Disney tried to steal master Miyasaki? Keanu and CG would have been better suited for a remake of Godzilla that rises from the sea in Fukushima and goes to Hawaii on vacation and gets pissed off because he can not get a seat at the bar at Dukes and trashes Waikiki (please). I wish a Japanese production were to shoot an American story... with some manga, monsters, put in a Japanese star as a half breed born in Hawaii to a Japanese immigrant and a "peasant" girl (sorry) who then joins with Indians to fight against the genocide of western culture. Too bad there are only 200 years of culture to choose from in America.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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