47 Ronin

Yesterday, the internet was graced with new character posters for the Keanu Reeves-starring 47 Ronin. Today, the ante gets significantly upped with the film’s first trailer. This first trailer builds up some decent atmosphere in its initial 45 seconds. The film displays its vision of feudal Japan, along with plenty of rich color (plus a giant who looks like he wandered in from 300). Reeves’ protagonist seems like a man of few words and fewer smiles – a beaten-down warrior who will rise to greatness.

Then Reeves opens his mouth. With that single, wooden utterance of “why did you come for me,” the entire trailer comes crashing down. From here, we’re introduced to a cackling, one-note villain and a bevy of middling CGI. Worse still is Reeves, who with every line and every silent stare is less a stony hero and more a version of Neo who seems trapped in the wrong genre.

The one aspect that shows real promise is the trailer’s featured creatures. It’s rare to find a monster that’s not at least slightly entertaining; even more so if those monsters are based off of Japanese myth. Although there is an unpleasant resemblance to the most recent Mummy feature, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, that’s a little hard to shake. Take a look for yourself:

47 Ronin releases on December 25th, and stars Reeves as well as Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Kou Shibasaki.

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