I came to 47 Ronin hoping that it was better than the terrible reviews – but it was a mess. The story comes from an actual historical event that became a Japanese legend: 47 samurai-turned-ronin avenging their master’s death; however this movie fumbles the original themes of duty and dilemma, and makes a poor pure action movie too.
While the costumes were nice, the landscapes pretty, and Asano Tadanobu and Kikuchi Rinko great, the pace of the movie was slow, the action scenes unimpressive, and the characterisation absent. Despite the movie’s name, the 47 samurai are more like extras, and the Skeleton Man prominently featured in advertising turned out to be a literal 5 second role. The showdown with the giant was lame, and the witch didn’t even have a name.
One positive point is that (despite studio interference foregrounding the Western savior Keanu Reeves) the movie is relatively respectful to Japanese culture.