Here is a film which raises many questions: Why choose such a genre? How explain such a budget? And is it truly the glorious return of Keanu Reeves at the top of success?
Based on the over and over adapted 47 Ronin legend, Universal Pictures tried to strike hard inspired from the Japanese aestheticism, Samurais honor and the mysteries of its time. However, this is not it without completely fails.
So it is a wonky project, which bets on the leading role Keanu Reeves playing so well the « hero against all »; the one who chooses the red pill to defend justice and freedom like Kaï, an outcast, proving his honor and bravery. The actor shows again all his talent, with his 50 years, through expected and amazing fighting scenes.
Although the story rather works, it’s not thrilling. Inspired by all the chivalrous tale, you unfortunately remain passive aside. With decor designs which will remind you those from Pirates of the Caribbean’s At World’s End or Shogun constructions close to pulp board, you quickly understand hesitation is everywhere: assuming a mainstream westernized directing sometimes crude or put some soul choosing a more humble and focused execution.
In many scenes, you can actually feel how itchy were the Studios to apply their codes and mannerisms: hard to resist the Japanese reserve when the hero stares his lady for ages without kissing! Hence this constant hesitation and this platonic result.
Nonetheless, the $175 Million budget (source: Box Office Mojo) is not spent to waste. Visual effects are well executed. The witch character is one of the more charismatic since she shows stunning transformations very 3D friendly.
To conclude, a movie neither blowing up nor failing, more subject to action than emotion.
April 6, 2014