From the trailer, we get “Those who have enslaved you, killed our leader and banished us from our land. Join us and we’ll have our revenge.” Which is what we’ll expect from 47 Ronin. This American fantasy action film depicting a fictional account of the forty-seven Ronin, a real-life band of masterless samurai in 18th-century Japan who set out to avenge the dishonor and death of their master at the hands of a ruthless shogun. The film is directed by Carl Rinsch and produced by Universal Studios.
The film itself had production troubles from the very beginning, Universal provided Rinsch with a production budget of $170 million, which then escalated by $180 million, due to his lack of feature film experience, which The Hollywood Reporter considered to be a "large-scale, downright risky" move (something that didn't obviously pay off). Then reshoots were done in London during late August 2012, delayed by the Olympics and the filming of Reeves' directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi (2013). During post-production, CleverMovies reported that Rinsch himself was 'booted' from the editing room by Reeves and Universal in order to release the film on time for its Christmas release date. Then came the release dates, the film was originally scheduled to be released on November 21, 2012, then moved to February 8, 2013, citing the need for work on the 3D visual effects. It was later postponed to December 25, 2013, to account for the reshoots and post-production. The film opened initially in Japan, where it grossed an estimated US$1.3 million. Variety called the poor Japanese debut "troubling", considering the well known local cast and the fact that the film is loosely based on a famous Japanese tale. The film went on to gross US$20.6 million in its first five days of release in the United States, opening in ninth place at the box office. The film was widely reported to be a major financial failure, likely to leave a US$175 million financial loss for its studios.
The film stars Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano, Min Tanaka, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and Rinko Kikuchi. Though the cast gave great performances but they were, sadly, disappointing as they were left abandoned by their director within one dimensional roles. Especially Reeves. Better luck next time.
Keanu Reeves and Hiroyuki Sanada make for an appealing pair of leads, but they're not enough to make up for 47 Ronin 's bland script, bloated length, and blaring action overkill. A jumbled botch that is so confused in its purpose and so charmless in its effect that it must be seen to be believed, but better yet, no. Don't see it, don't believe it. In the end, the film is one hot mess—that's for sure. Though it should be praised for its visuals, it is one of the worst films of 2013.
Simon says 47 Ronin receives: