Editor’s note: We all love movies, but rather than ask a syndicated columnist who has never visited our beautiful High Desert, we commissioned our own local movie critic: Nolan P. Smith to review films and give us a local perspective. Enjoy!
By Nolan P. Smith
High Desert Daily
(Apple Valley)— The legend of the 47 ronin is well known across the globe, as a group of masterless samurais went on a journey to avenge their fallen master and restore honor to their names. The film 47 Ronin is loosely based on this story of honor, but does it live up to the legend?
Directed by Carl Rinsch, the film takes liberties in regards to the classic tale, but the heart of it remains the same. The story centers around Kai (Keanu Reeves), an orphaned outsider loyal to his master and his master’s family, who joins a group of ronin (masterless samurais) to seek vengeance. Led by Ôishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), the group encounters warriors, monsters and the tengu of Japanese mythology lore as they search for justice.
Though Reeves is billed as the lead, I think it would have to be a shared spotlight with Sanada, as he is the driving force of the film. The film is very dark, and riddled with monsters and myths, which differs from the source material but it is entertaining nonetheless. The fight scenes are terrific, though of course a bit over the top. The forces of the evil Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) are powerful and outnumber the 47, but that’s the draw of this film.
Is this the feel good movie of the holidays? No, not at all. But it is a pretty great film that loosely follows a classic tale. Solid acting, excellent graphics, and a film that posses the heart of the 47 ronin, the film is one for those into the samurai/action genre. Not the greatest film of the year, but an enjoyable journey with some excellent swordplay and a dragon: everyone loves dragons.