Nowhere near as awful as some may have you believe. Depending upon what/who you read, this re-telling of a well-loved Japanese tale of honour and revenge is far more than maybe most blinkered critics originally saw.
Swayed by a largely unrecognised cast and one famous ‘half-breed’ thrown in as if to carry the film along for the benefit of the audience, it does dip its toe into the supernatural on occasion, but despite the trailer, this is not quite the sword and sorcery story you might have been expecting.
Initially performing terribly at the box office, 47 Ronin was slated by the critics, who probably didn’t give it it’s due, if we’re honest. All of this knee-jerk posturing to shoot down this effort didn’t help and audiences stayed away from theatres in droves.
Unfortunate for them then, as my prediction beforehand of ‘looks good, but is probably terrible’ was not borne out in actuality. It’s not a classic, by any means, however. Keanu Reeves’ part enjoys only slightly more screen time than the titular Ronin and never do we feel bored by the admittedly lengthy opportunities for discourse between all of the stabbing and general ludicrous violence.
A pedestrian first act does not bode well, but after the characters are introduced and the simple plotline unravelled, what’s left is a perfectly acceptable narrative that will not challenge those most likely to pay to see it, but still gives the viewer a sense of righteous justice for their money.
This could have been really, really dreadful, but the fear that it may have become a bastardised western nightmare never really came to fruition. It’s not as good as it could have been, but still, look on the bright side and think about , just for a minute, what you may have ended up with.