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47 Ronin (2013)

tomatometer

14

Average Rating: 4.1/10
Reviews Counted: 74
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 64

47 Ronin is a surprisingly dull fantasy adventure, one that leaves its talented international cast stranded within one dimensional roles.

6

Average Rating: 3.5/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 15

47 Ronin is a surprisingly dull fantasy adventure, one that leaves its talented international cast stranded within one dimensional roles.

audience

49

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 59,519

My Rating

Movie Info

From ancient Japan's most enduring tale, the epic 3D fantasy-adventure 47 Ronin is born. Keanu Reeves leads the cast as Kai, an outcast who joins Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), the leader of 47 outcast samurai. Together they seek vengeance upon the treacherous overlord who killed their master and banished their kind. To restore honor to their homeland, the warriors embark upon a quest that challenges them with a series of trials that would destroy ordinary warriors. 47 Ronin is helmed by visionary

Apr 1, 2014

$38.3M

Universal Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (74) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (64) | DVD (1)

There's nothing pretty or exciting about this movie (inexplicably, it's in 3-D), even when all anyone's doing is fighting.

January 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Grantland
Grantland
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The pacing is cloddish and tone unaccountably dour.

January 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A singular viewing experience: a multi-colored downer fantasy which combines bursts of imagination with a bleak worldview, resulting in something that rarely feels mainstream.

December 27, 2013 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Believe it or not, for all its additions, it's too respectful. You want it to be funnier, crazier.

December 26, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

47 Ronin is admirably devoted to its material, but it's almost tedious to watch.

December 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Solemn as a funeral march, humorless as your junior high principal, as Japanese as a grocery-store California roll, Keanu Reeves's let's-mope-about-and-kill-ourselves samurai drama has exactly three things going for it.

December 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

47 Ronin looks from the outset like a picture that went off without a hitch.

August 11, 2014 Full Review Source: Forbes

This $175million Hollywood reworking of Japan's most celebrated tale of honour and revenge is a mostly plodding affair, notwithstanding some fantastical sword-and-sorcery flourishes.

June 15, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

the movie is its own worst enemy

April 16, 2014 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

At the helm, Rinsch turns in a movie that's deadly serious yet entirely lifeless.

April 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A handsome movie in many ways, but it feels like an unpolished first draft, one that can't quite decide how fantastical it wants to be.

April 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

There's clearly been a lot of money spent and a lot of effort (not least by the Japanese actors struggling with their English dialogue), but the results are lacklustre, stupid and that worst of cinematic crimes -- dull.

February 21, 2014 Full Review Source: sbs.com.au
sbs.com.au

Reeves does an excellent job of being a stoic servant bound by honour to reject love and embrace death. And "stoic servant" sounds a little like an actor stuck trying to make the best of a big budget film collapsing all around him, if you think about it.

February 13, 2014 Full Review Source: The Vine
The Vine

47 Ronin's emphasis on authenticity leaves it an altogether dour affair.

February 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

Rinsch's vision of Japan is brimming with imagination, and I found myself wishing I could spend more time there. I just don't want any of these people with me."

January 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

This lumbering vanity vehicle for star Keanu Reeves (50 this year!) features him looking as miserable and bored as the audience.

January 23, 2014 Full Review Source: Rip It Up

Keanu Reeves struggles to bring any life to this lugubrious, gloomily lit mythical tale about a group of outcast samurai soldiers. Slower than the queue at a ticket machine, it's only when the swords finally start swinging that the film really kicks in.

January 18, 2014 Full Review Source: 3AW

The film makers have cast their own illusion of smoke and mirrors and despite the cinematic spectacle that has the power to engage, the juxtaposition of Reeves' character grates, coupled with stilted dialogue and an overlong running time

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Ignore the poor reviews. The story's a cracker, the action is deftly executed and it's largely, a fun ride.

January 15, 2014 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

Unusually grim (for the multiplex) and ritualistic, with nice supernatural flourishes and an outcome that will surprise those unfamiliar with the original story.

January 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Given this costly ($US175 million) and largely pointless dirge, shrewd filmgoers may feel compelled to instead explore the original, in all its noble glory.

January 12, 2014 Full Review Source: The Sunday Age

Kikuchi seems to have wandered in from a completely different, campier film; but that's more than can be said for Reeves, who appears to have wandered in from the street.

January 10, 2014 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

It's hard to ignore the overwhelming sense of dullness as the story plods along with an unbreakably straight face.

January 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Flicks.co.nz
Flicks.co.nz

47 Ronin is elephantine and lumbering, a wobbly, would-be epic that aspires to the scope and majesty of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, but comes up woefully short.

January 8, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

Sometimes, less is more. How I wish that '47 Ronin' had foregone so much CGI and relied more on adventure and star-crossed love as the ronin - samurai warriors without a master - seek revenge upon a powerful and ruthless man.

January 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

47 Ronin suffers from a death of compelling attributes that ensures it remains, for the majority of its overlong running time, an utterly, hopelessly bland experience...

January 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for 47 Ronin

Seize Eternity.

Good Film! In a nut shell. 47 Ronin has a fair amount of mystical magic and demons peppered throughout a historical tail. A tale of Samurai who's master is killed and their status is reduced to Ronin. Only for them to rise up and seek revenge against the evil ruler and his witch who are responsible. Visually the 47 Ronin is beautiful. The costumes design and color choices to separate each of the different clans is impressive in it's complexity. The sets have an epic feel that is grounded and doesn't feel to fantastic, but rather believable. All things considered, the title of the film is a bit of a misnomer - it would more accurately be called 2 Ronin, subtitled Oishi And Kai's Excellent Adventure - and it suffers from a lamentable lack of humour and historical accuracy. But it's not a complete travesty. Tucked away beneath a layer of mystical beasts and witches lies a story with enough heart, nobility and soul to survive even the oddest twists and turns.

While hunting in the forest, Lord Asano of Ako and his samurai find a young half-breed and take him with them to live in the castle. Several years later, Lord Asano holds a tournament to welcome the Shogun to Ako. The night after the tournament, Lord Asano is bewitched into hurting Lord Kira of Nagato, and is punished into committing seppuku by the Shogun. Realizing that it was a Lord Kira's evil plot, the samurais and the half-breed sets out for revenge against the Shogun's order.
July 10, 2014
MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Even though it is pretty bad, I think that critics were harder on this movie than they should have been. Some of the special effects scenes were solid and the action was lively enough that it kept people watching.
April 15, 2014
Nikhil N.
Nikhil Nandu

Super Reviewer

A sizzling and explosive mix of fantasy and authenticity that makes for a fun two hours of action, adventure and special effects. A stylish, cool and wickedly entertaining action-packed thrill-ride. It's filled with great characters, stunning landscapes and imagination. It takes the timeless tale and does not mock it but brings to to modern audiences with a magical twist of fantasy and pays tribute to the heroes bravery and sacrifice. Director, Carl Rinsch crafts a fun and thrilling epic that works just fine. It's tremendously exciting escapism. Keanu Reeves is terrific, he understands the characters pain and exception of his path, starting from a loner to a hero with the acceptance of his pears. Hiroyuki Sanada is magnificent. Reeves and Sanada have great chemistry together and work well side by side.
April 8, 2014
allan913

Super Reviewer

So what's going on with Keanu Reeves these days huh? he seems to have taken a shine to the Far East recently what with this and 'Man of Tai Chi'. Problem is Mr Reeves keeps sticking himself in these films which just doesn't work, sorry Mr Reeves but you're not a good enough actor face it.

Ah the legendary tale of the 47 Ronin, this film is very very very loosely based around this Japanese story of honour. The real origins are much simpler in truth, in the early 17th Century a Daimyo (Territorial Lord) called Asano attacked a high ranking Edo official called Kira. The reason was simply down to the fact that Kira had been rude to Asano and Kira was possibly corrupt which also offended Asano. So basically there was a scuffle which one could say was childish, but because of this Asano was ordered to commit seppuku. You can't go around attacking important Shogun officials willy-nilly.

So now we have the classic tale of the 47 Ronin...the Hollywood version, hurrah!. The film follows the basic premise of the old story but uses artistic license heavily and thick highly stylised visuals. Yep, this is '300' for feudal Japan (Edo period). The visuals are clearly influenced by that Greek Spartan battle porn flick, I thought the film was a more historically accurate take...got that wrong!. Admittedly most of the creatures we see are the result of sorcery by this naughty female witch but there is a huge armour clad uber Samurai, a big ogre/troll guy, some weird spiritual bird-faced monks and some massive half dragon half horse with antlers type thing at the start.

I can't lie to you, I flippin' loved the visual style of the film. Maybe we could of done without the monsters and freaks as they didn't really add anything to the plot other than fancy flair. Would of been fine without the magical hocus pocus too but unfortunately that is all tied in with the new plot. All the fantasy aside the actual realistic Japanese period costumes, weapons and sets are all expertly created and beautiful to look at. The ceremonial sequences at the start are truly stunning, bold and colourful, while the sets look pretty accurate to me. Its all topped off with some well created CGI landscapes and skylines.

Plot queries...apparently Reeves character was raised in some spooky woods by the bird-faced monks, who are apparently demons. Not overly sure why they would do that, they also trained him to be a bloody good katana fighter, although again not too sure why they would do that, how does it benefit them? oh and why do they look the way they do?. Other things stood out to me also, for example, when 'Oishi' is getting his samurai back together for his revenge mission he finds Reeves character first. But why? he clearly doesn't like the guy as we saw for the whole film right up to that point, also Reeves character isn't a samurai so why would he even think of him, this whole issue has nothing to do with Reeves character. Its about the 47 Ronin, not 47 Ronin and one outcast along for the ride.

Another thing I don't get was the abundant advertising of Rick Genest's face all over the posters (guy covered in tattoos). I kinda got the impression this bloke was a main character in the film yet he does nothing and shows up for less than a minute. I'm guessing whatever he did was cut out.

I'm not gonna beat around the bush here, I really liked this film. It has its problems but as far as I'm concerned they are easily overlooked by the tremendously sumptuous visuals, solid acting from the Japanese cast and the kick ass battle sequences. Yep if you wanna see some samurai action that other films like 'The Last Samurai' didn't quite deliver on then this is for you. There isn't any blood and gore on display but the sword battles are awesome and most of the time not spoilt by CGI silliness. For the most part everything seems to have been kept as relatively historically accurate as possible, its just bits here and there...which does beg the question why but anyway.

In all honesty there are many little niggly bits that could be pointed out, I get the feeling they really struggled to incorporate the fantasy element they wanted into this historic event. But lets not allow that to dampen our oriental spirits here. Yes the film blatantly pinches ideas from various films like '300' 'The Matrix' and even 'The Empire Strikes Back' with the sequence where the good guys must enter a sacred spooky wood to face an unknown force...of sorts. It does feel like they're totally jumpin' on the 300 franchise bandwagon mainly and as I've said it does feel a bit unnecessary.

Never the less I did enjoy the film thoroughly. My love of Japanese culture will make me somewhat biased of course but anyone who likes this new blend of history and slick glossy stylised action should enjoy this.
March 30, 2014
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

    1. Kai: I will search for you through a thousand worlds and 10,000 lifetimes until I find you.
    – Submitted by Nandu J (15 days ago)
    1. Oishi: Riku. You must make the whole world believe you've divorced me. It is the only way to protect you from what I have to do. No one but you and I can know that you are, and will always be, the joy of my life.
    – Submitted by Nandu J (15 days ago)
    1. Shogun Tsunayoshi: For the crime of disobedience, you should all be executed as common criminals, but you and your men follow the old ways of Bushido, to honor your lord and avenge treachery. I see only samurai before me.
    – Submitted by Rex John A (5 months ago)
    1. Kai: I will search through a thousand worlds, through ten thousand lifetimes until I find you.
    – Submitted by Alex B (7 months ago)
    1. Kai: I will search for you.
    – Submitted by Drimz X (7 months ago)
    1. Mika: Rivers of blood and mountains of corpses will not stand in our way.
    – Submitted by Michael B (8 months ago)
View all quotes (6)

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