47 Ronin Movie Review and historical account

Posted by David D'Angelo | 1/12/2014 07:19:00 PM | , , | 1 comments »

When someone says, "47 Ronin," it could immediately turn to refer to the new movie starring Keanu Reeves where he is portraying as an estranged Samurai or half-breed with some sort of power and avenging the death of their Lord together with Oishi.  However, the truth is that 47 Ronin refers to forty-seven rougue samurais who avenged the death of Lord Asano during the 14th day of the 12th month of the 15th year of Genroku.  

The trailer and everything which was circulated online and shown in movie houses shows an epic story of grandeur.  It shows a witch which seems to have served as the main tool for the fall of the Asano clan.  Let us examine however in this movie review the movie against the historical facts of the 47 Ronin.


47 Ronin is a 2013 American fantasy action film depicting a fictional account of the forty-seven Ronin, a real-life group of masterless samurai in 18th-century Japan who avenged the murder of their master (stories, plays and other dramatic performances of the 47 Ronin story are commonly referred to as Chūshingura in Japan). Produced by Universal Studios, the film is directed by Carl Erik Rinsch and stars Keanu Reeves. Filming started in Budapest in March 2011; it moved to Shepperton Studios in London and was concluded in Japan.

This firm is exclusively shown in SM Cinemas beginning January 8.

STORY:  5.  The movie 47 Ronin is HIGHLY FICTIONALIZED which means that some major changes had been made to the original historical account.  I am not saying that the film is bad but you should not rely on the film or even believe the film to be what really happened.  Some of the major discrepancies are:
  • Historical accounts indicate that Lord Kira already has a wife
  • Lord Asano does not have a daughter.
  • Kira Kozuke-no-Suke Yoshinaka is a powerful Edo official in the hierarchy of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi's shogunate and not a Lord of a rival kingdom.
  • There was no tournament nor was bewitching.  The reason why Lord Asano was disgraced and order to die by honorable death is because he lost temper over the continuous insults of Kira and eventually wounded him.  The prohibition against such actions was high during that era.
  • Oishi, our main Samurai character was not as courageous as he was portrayed.  He only realized what he must do after he was disgraced on the streets.
  • There was no such character as Kai, which was portrayed by Keanu Reeves.
  • Kira was not beheaded instantly instead Oishi also offered him an honorable death but since he was trembling, he was beheaded.
The series of events in the movie happened Genroku (year) 15, on the 14th day of the 12th month (元禄十五年十二月十四日?, Tuesday, January 30, 1703).  This was also known as the "Ako incident."

Aside from that, the general storyline depics the courage of the 47 Ronin and how they show the true meaning of Bushido.  The movie realistically tells how the son of OIshi was pardones (which in hitorical account was not indicated as his son) and also the restoration of the Asano clan.

CHARACTER:  8.  The characters were well played.  I can say that the role of Keanu Reeves as Kai was perfect to deliver a cinematic awesomeness to the 47 Ronin story likewise the witch was a perfect plot for the storyline which makes you wonder how she can be deeated and also be disgusted at her.

Here is a list of the characters of the movie:

  • Keanu Reeves as Kai, a former slave who joins the Rōnin.  Reeves's character is half-Japanese and half-British; the character was created for the film.
  • Hiroyuki Sanada as Oishi, the leader of the Rōnin.
  • Kou Shibasaki as Mika, Lord Asano's daughter and Kai's love interest.
  • Tadanobu Asano as Lord Kira, Lord Asano's rival daimyo and the one responsible for arranging the killing of the Rōnin's master.
  • Min Tanaka as Lord Asano, the former master of the Rōnin.
  • Jin Akanishi as Chikara, Oishi's son.
  • Masayoshi Haneda as Yasuno
  • Hiroshi Sogabe as Hazama
  • Neil Fingleton as Lovecraftian Samurai
  • Takato Yonemoto as Basho
  • Hiroshi Yamada as Hara
  • Shu Nakajima as Horibe
  • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shogun Tsunayoshi
  • Rinko Kikuchi as Mizuki, a witch who serves Lord Kira
  • Yorick van Wageningen as Kapitan
  • Rick Genest as Savage
My only problem with the character in this movie is the fact the Rick Genest who plays Savage in the film and enjoys major billing in poster was not even a major character in the film.  He appeared just less than a minute to answer Oishi's question while he was looking for Kai.  I have expected a major action between Savage, Kai and Oishi... which of course did not happen in the movie.

COHERENCE:  8.  Again my problem here has to do with the tattoed character, Savage and also there seems to be something missing in the story.  I find the ending a little bit anti-climatic.  Though I cannot pinpoint the exact reason I can deduce that it probably came from the moment Kira was defeated and his head was raised in front of everyone, the reaction was a little bland.

DEPTH:  6.  The movie could have dwell more on the original storyline so that the viewers will not only be amazed while watching the film but also know an important piece of Japanese history.  The story of the 47 Ronin was in fact a major historical account and part of its national heritage.  The danger made here is that people who saw the movie might actually believe it as reality.  This is the same danger I see when watching new movies which have put a new story into children's fairy tale.

MUSIC: 10.  47 Ronin used appropriate music for the film and for various plots during the movie.  The music used will make you feel that you are really watching the actual events during that period.

VISUAL EFFECTS:  10.  Highly commendable for its visual effects specially the fight scenes and also how the attack was portrayed in this movie was really amazing.  I highly recommend that you watch this film in digital 3D or IMAX so that you can fully enjoy and experience it.

POPULARITY: 10.  With Keanu Reeves as the main cast this movie will surely be very popular.  There are also a worldwide love for Japanese history so I am sure that this will be a big blockbuster.

RECOMMENDATION:  10.  I highly recommend the movie to everyone however, I also recommend those who will watch to read the actual story of the Forty-seven Ronin.  Remember that this movie is highly fictionalized and does not depict the true accounts of what happened.


If you have not yet watched the 47 Ronin movie please do since this is a really great film.  Plus remember that if you do watch you will have a chance to win a trip to Tokyo, Japan and personally visit the grave of the 47 Ronin.

Here is the 47 Ronin movie trailer:

So there you go folks.  Another amazing movie that you shouldn't be miss this first month of the year 2014!

You can watch 47 Ronin at SM Cinemas.  Do follow SM Cinema on Facebook and Twitter.

(Advance Screening of 47 Ronin at SM Megamall)

Watch 47 Ronin in SM Cinemas and get a chance to win a trip for 2 to Tokyo, Japan! Double your chance of winning by buying tickets using E-plus Tap-to-Pay card or JBC Credit Card. Visit SM Cinema's Facebook page to learn about the promo.

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