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Bushido

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47 Ronin was finally released at 26 December, about two and a half years after the filming started. I had been waiting for this since October 2012. Why? It was firstly scheduled for release then, I am a Keanu fan and Samurai stories and history fascinate me. Yesterday I watched this movie on a date with my husband. Here is my review.

The story
This movie is inspired by a true story of 47 Ronin in Japan. Daimyo (warlord) Lord Asano from Ako prefect welcomes Shogun Tokugawa and other warlords for a tournament at his residence. There is one daimyo, Lord Kira who’s after him and his land. With a help of his witch concubine Lord Kira defames Lord Asano. Under influence of a spell, Lord Asano attacks Lord Kira. This is unheard of in Japan. The shogun condems this and sends Lord Asano for a Seppuku to save his own honor. Seppuku is an honorable ritual death when one stabs one’s stomach with a dagger.

The Shogun also sets Lord Asano’s daughter, Lady Mika, to marry Lord Kira after 1 year mourning period. And the 47 samurai of Lord Asano are declared a Ronin (masterless samurai). This story is about them trying to avenge the death of their lord, to save Ako and sabotage the wedding of Lord Kira & Lady Mika.

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Then there is this Kai character played by Keanu Reeves. Kai is a halfbreed born from a British father and a Japanese mother. Lord Asano and his samurai found him in the woods when he was a teen. He was saved and had lived in Ako eversince. Kai is an outcast because the samurai believes he is a demon. After the death of Lord Asano Kai is sent to a fighting pit. Õishi, the samurai leader, finds him and asks him to help the samurai, now they are ronin to avenge the death of Lord Asano.

My review
Despite bad reviews shortly after the premiere I went to see this movie anyway. I wanted to see it myself before taking my own conclusion. Unfortunately I have to agree with the bad review. Despite the mega budget 47 Ronin fails to convince me. It is a bland, giant production selling Keanu Reeves as its main character while Õishi, the Ronin leader played by Hiroyuki Sanada, has an even big role too in the storyline. Actually it is Sanada (recently seen in Wolverine as Lord Shingen) who carries this movie. His performance is convincing just as he did in Wolverine and The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise back in 2005.

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The rest of the cast performs averagely. The witch concubine of Lord Kira, played by Rinko Kikuchi is quite ridiculous to see. She tries to be scary, sexy and mysterious at the same time but the acting is over the top. Actually I was annoyed by her character the whole time.

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And Kai, hmm what can I say about him? Keanu Reeves is still an eye candy but he seems that he is not really into the role. Sorry darling, as your fan I need to be honest. I have seen you perform better in another movies. In my opinion even when Kai was not in the script, the storyline could continue easily.

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Bushido
I find the Japanese tradition of Bushido (Samurai/Warrior code of honor) is fairly showed here. As a teen I read Eiji Yoshikawa’s Musashi and Shogun by James Clavell. After that I started digging in the Japanese history. and was really impressed by Bushido. Bushido means loyalty and honor unto the death, followed by the honorable Seppuku.

Did you know that Seppuku means one stabs his own stomach with a dagger in a cross movement. When he is still alive, a samurai standing next to him needs to cut his head off as a gesture of mercy. That’s why you see Õishi stands by Lord Asano when he commits Seppuku. It is an ultimate example of courage in saving your own honor.

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Picture is taken from Yata No Kagami.

The score
Perhaps my expectations were high cause I referred to the actual history of 47 Ronin. At the end in the credit title it says that this movie is inspired by 47 Ronin. That explains a lot. The scenes when the witch turns into a dragon are just hilariously silly, my husband and I were giggling when we saw this. Some parts in the storyline seem to be just patched into it. The man with a tattooed face on the poster? He appears in one scene, just one scene.

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Deeply disappointed I do have a positive note about the beautiful costume and the special effects. That’s it. 47 Ronin earns 5 from me.

15 thoughts on “Bushido

  1. Trailernya menipu Fit. Aku & masku juga kecewa. Kita sepakat walaupun ceritanya ngawur, visually it is entertaining. Aku kasih nilai 5 aktingnya ngaco😦 Berat Fit nilai rendah untuk filmnya mas Nunu.

    • Iya, ya. So far menurutku nggak ada film mas nunu yg di bawah 7. Oh, aku sungguh makin penasaran pengen nonton. Minggu ini eyangnya anak2 rencana mau dateng, nih mbak. Hahaha, bisa deh ninggal mereka ber3 sama eyang dan tantenya: emak bapakya mau kentjan nonton 47 ronin!🙂

  2. Naga bonarnya yang biking daku gak minat ke bioskopnya ..ha.ha..ha..sayang bangets ya, harus filem digarap dengan apik.

    • Malesin banget liatnya memang Ed. Aku tahu di Jepang memang ada sihir-sihir juga, tapi kesannya disini kok Hollywood sekali, padahal bagus loh special effectnya.

  3. Even though I love Japanese culture, I would not want to see the movie because Hollywood does not know how to portray Japanese culture from a historical perspective, whether it is set during the samurai period or WWII. I am not saying there are no good movies out there, but people need to do their research before making a movie like this These kind of movies should be left up to Japan because they know about the true history of the samurai. If you would like, check out some of the posts on my blog:
    http://internationalwayne101.wordpress.com

    • I agree with you. The same thing applies for non American films made by Hollywood, not only the ones with Japanese background. One thing I find rather odd is why there is no Japanese dialogue at all in this movie? Unlike Tom
      Cruise’s The Last Samurai or even Wolverine. It is awkward.

      As a history nerd I can’t help but comparing the storyline with the history facts. Unfortunately it seems loosely based on the actual 47 Ronin. Thanks for stopping by and your link. I have read some of your posts, interesting!

      • I am not surprised that the movie bombed in Japan. The last movie I have seen that was actually good was The Letters of Iwo Jima starring Ken Watanabe. What made the movie stand out for me is that it was spoken in Japanese and used actual Japanese actors. Also, it gave an accurate depiction of the American takeover of Iwo Jima (a Japanese island) during WWII. It is one of the best movies that portrays the Japanese from a historical perspective very well.

  4. Kita jg nonton ini pas tgl 28 nya, film nya menurut aku one dimensional bgt deh. Sayang itu pemain jepang nyaaa! Gda emosi nya blas. Abis nonton itu reaksi nya cm satu: sayang yah. sayang budget segitu gede jd nya gt aja, sayang pemain jepang nya dianggurin, si tengkorak itu jg cm pemanis poster ajah, sayang mas nunu nya karakter nya ga di eksplor…Yah, tp seneng sih liat Keanu lg di layar lebar :)))

    • Menurut orang Betawi film ini cemplang ya Pie. Padahal budget ok, casting ok cuma kok eksekusinya ngga greget. Aku mulai berpikir ini salahnya di scriptwriter & sutradara loh. Kostum, lokasi & sinematografinya bagus soalnya. Sayang ngga greget rasa Jepangnya, karena ngga ada dialog bahasa Jepang.

  5. Iya mba setuju, 47 ronin ga sebagus apa yang aku harapkan. Kirain bakal beneran based on 47 ronin yang asli, ternyata cuma inspired by yang ceritanya malah melalang buana. Ceritanya terlalu plain dan heloo ada naga-naga segala. Klimaks ceritanya juga terlalu biasa dan mudah ditebak. Sayang sekalii..

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