47 Ronin

The 47 ronin were a group of samurai in the early 18th century who carried out an elaborate revenge on the court official who drove their master to suicide; their story became part of Japanese national legend, inspiring numerous plays, visual artworks, and films. This unnecessary Hollywood version tries to make the tale more palatable to Western audiences by adding things like computer-animated monsters and Keanu Reeves (playing a half-British samurai who improbably becomes the group’s leader). Those crazy additions might have yielded the sort of wild genre entertainment one associates with director Takashi Miike, yet the pacing is cloddish and tone unaccountably dour. To make things more awkward, the dialogue is in English, and few of the Japanese actors sound comfortable speaking it. Carl Rinsch directed.