It’s official, Keanu loves his gongfu. Though strictly speaking this isn’t a film about Chinese martial arts, but instead a sensationalized tale about Japanese Bushido and the way of the Samurai.
The action-packed '47 Ronin' bases itself on a true Japanese story from the 18th century, about a vengeful gang of ronin (leaderless Samurai) and their quest to assassinate the slayer of their former master. This timeless story is regarded as the epitome of Japanese loyalty and honour.
So truth be told, we’re not quite sure what to think about the casting of Keanu for the lead role, as a Western character created specifically for this film adaptation. It’s shades of 'The Last Samurai' (thanks for the memories Tom Cruise) all over again.
But if you can get past this historical anomaly, then for what it’s worth, the first glance of '47 Ronin' does reveal a potentially explosive and entertaining film with stunning swordsmanship, insane effects, and that mystical Japanese culture we all love too well.
Read also: 'Man of Tai Chi' movie review
Keanu is of course in his element, once again playing the Orient-influenced protagonist ('The Matrix Trilogy', 'Man of Tai Chi'). And from what we can see, his signature stiff one-liners come included as well.
Meet the impressive Japanese cast of 47 Ronin. And then there's Keanu.
Thankfully the film does seem to retain some of its Japanese roots with a stellar cast of Japanese icons, including Hiroyuki Sanada ('Ring', 'Sunshine', 'The Wolverine'), Rinko Kikuchi ('Babel', 'Pacific Rim'), and even J-Pop celebrity Jin Akanishi.
Japanese realism aside, the trailer does introduce a fantasy-themed setting with magical dragons, violent giants, and evil sorceresses. While all this spells awesome, we just hope that they’ll be enough to trump the awkward premise of Keanu’s inclusion.