Monday, March 31, 2014

Dragons, demons, damsels, and destruction. Booya.

47 RONIN (2013)

Now those of you that have followed ol' Boony know that I have a growing distaste for the large number of Jaded critics out there that just seem to no longer have fun watching films. Oh if you attach the right director, or star, all of a sudden they are seven ways of wet in their knickers. Yet here we are with another example of a movie that cost a whole bunch of money, more or less just to dazzle you... and yet people are going well... it's certainly no Oscar contender (Ok I paraphrase a bit there)... but I mean - DUR!

So the story goes - Keanu Reeves is a half breed demon child, Kai,  who gets taken in by a Lord of the land in the days of the samurai. The daughter of the lord that took him in want's his sweet man love, but Kai is all - "No you deserve better, because I am a low class half breed". Then an evil lord and his witchy bitchy show up kill the good lord, take over his land, take his daughter for his bride, and exile all of the Samurai. One year later they gather... Keanu accepts his demonness, and brings the revengy violence.

So Keanu... about that end to the Matrix Trilogy... 
So anyone have any problem with that so far? Did I mention the Dragon? This is a good old fashioned quest flick. They travel through snow, pirates, fortresses. They gather new weapons from Demon monks... Ok if you are still not intrigued than yes, this film is not for you. Listen Keanu's acting.... well, you either love it or hate it. I personally fall into the first category, so if you are a hater of the Keanu, well, this movie ain't gunna change your mind about his acting chops.

However, there are so many delicious and gorgeous sets, costumes, effects, action, and really shouldn't that be the focus? Can I talk about the directing for a moment? Of course I can, this is basically a first time director handed a gigantic budget. Now I have no idea how he got the job but he handles the action scenes quite well. The swords fights in particular have the classic feel to them. A nice contrast while watching someone battle a dragon.

I would describe this film as epic levels of fun. However... and this is a big issue here... this film just takes itself waaaaaaay too damn serious. I mean they actually have the balls to drop the "Inspired by a true story" at the end. I'm sorry what? I know hollywood takes liberties, but once you add a shape changing witch, and bird men demons... any right to add "Inspired by" anywhere near it are - REEEEEE-VOKED!

Yup. Still managed to add "Inspired by real events" at the end. 
But the seriousness doesn't end there. And sadly I think that is the biggest reason why this film will struggle to find an audience. The Matrix films were fun, they knew they were fun, and Keanu was free to play it with tongue firmly in cheek... Here he is asked to play completely straight because that is how the movie thinks of itself. But I ask you: Can a movie involving fantastic creatures, pirate ogre fighting, a dragon, and a poison spider pulled out of the evil of a man's heart... really take itself seriously?

NO! Damn it, NO! If the folks had realized what they actually had here was a rollicking big budget good time, like say - The Pirates of the Carribean flicks... well, we may have had a genuine blockbuster on our hands. But, seriously, the ending of this movie is depressing as hell. What the F. Are you kidding me... magic, dragon, demons - sad, realistic ending?

No damn sense. And on that vein how do you introduce a great showdown with a giant samurai demon only to Blow him up later? With out a fight? Boooooo!

That said. I still had a lot of fun here. I appreciated it for what it was - big budget adventure. Tons of great fights. The final action sequence is awesome. Beautifully directed, and the 3D - Gold! Tons of crazy crap coming out at ya. An adventure that should please most but be warned... the kids well be sitting in front of the TV going Wait, Mommy, what just happen? So there may have to be some comforting if you decide to go FamJam with this flick.

Movie scale 3 out 5 stars
Action/Adventure scale 3 out of 5 stars

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