By: Cynthia A.
Directed by: Carl Erik Rinsch
Screenplay by: Chris Morgan & Hossei Amini
Story by: Chris Morgan & Walter Hamada
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuchi, Kou Shibasaki, Jin Akanishi & Min Tanaka
The outcast Kai, orphaned son of a British sailor and a Japanese peasant woman, joins a group of rōnin, led by Kuranosuke Oishi, who seeks vengeance on Lord Kira, a ruthless rival daimyo who, aided by the evil sorceress Mizuki, engineers the shaming and execution of their master and the banishment of the group by the shogun. The rōnin embark on a journey to get their revenge, overcoming challenges that would defeat most warriors.
Over all, this was a beautiful movie. As a whole the movie, story and plot of the movie flowed effortlessly from one scene of events to another. Story wise it was done well, displaying strength and loyalty.
The story is a fictional representation of 47 samurai warriors who faced the ultimate test of loyalty as they avenge the death of their master. It was a beautiful story because it showed a testament to the loyalty and honor that samurai warriors have. That alone deserved to be applauded along with the beautiful special effects and cinematography.
Stylistically, this was a masterfully done movie enhanced by an all-star cast. There was no fault with the acting nor was there any real fault with the design and set of the movie. But the characters were a little dense at times. The overall character growth moved in harmony with the movie, and that was at a fast paced. Kai, played by Keanu Reeves, went from being the obedient boy he was before transforming into a warrior through the harsh cold reality that followed his masters’ death. Although we do not get to see his transformation, we see the after effects, the man that he has become bettering the character. He has few lines in the movie, but Keanu Reeves rarely needs lines to deliver an excellent performance. His body language and facial expressions make him fit into this movie where his accent would otherwise make him seem out of place. More importantly, he looks the part and actually knows Kung-Fu. Sorry, had to do it.
As for the other characters, although their character development is limited, there is enough to make the movie work. As samurai they have a strong sense of loyalty, of honor, that makes them who they are. Their only change being their acceptance of not only Kai, but of their honorable deaths they know will come for disobeying the Emperor. As a whole, they remain the same, but the trials and tests put to them do allow for change and growth, aspects that denied, would have left them as one-dimensional characters. Their trials gave them depth.
As for the rest of the characters, the villains remained the same but the Princess grew as her life turned upside down within moments.
Looking at this movie as a whole with the non-stop action coupled with decent acting from an all-star cast, it was a well-made and put together movie, even if the character development was limited. ★★☆☆ (B)