Friday, December 27, 2013

47 Ronin

On Christmas Day, "47 Ronin" was a small gift.  A scrumptiously costumed piece set in feudal Japan, the movie was obviously a piece created out of love.  Based on the famous tale of 47 ronin, masterless samurai who are sworn not to take revenge for the death of their master, the fable came to life with magic and mayhem.  

Kai is a half-breed teenager who comes to the village of Arco after fleeing for his life from another world.  He is taken in by Master Asado, the samurai warrior who runs the village, and falls in love with Asado's daughter, Mika.  However, since he is not from the same culture, he can never be a true samurai and prove himself worthy of Mika's love.  Despite his skills with a sword, he winds up being sold off in slavery when Master Asado is killed using witchcraft by Kira, the rival lord from another village.  

The masterless samurai warriors are led by Oeshi, a long-time samurai who looked down upon Kai when he was a villager.  After he is punished for a year, Oeshi is expected to leave the village and his wife and son to live in infamy; however, instead he plots revenge upon Kira for his treacherous act against Master Asado and his upcoming wedding to fatherless Mika.  Oeshi seeks out Kai in his slavery, knowing that the young man loves Mika and will do anything for her.  Given his background with demons, Kai knows how to acquire weapons for the samurai and joins them to take their revenge.  

The movie is a jewel of a show, with beautiful scenery, gorgeous costumes, and elaborate fantasies in the beast, the demons, and the witch-dragon.  Since the scene is in the trailer, I can talk about the witch-dragon and how realistic its fight scene was, with its muscular snake body and its razor-sharp teeth.  The creature virtually swam through the air and danced with Keanu.  The other fight scenes are also well-done, with intricate sophistication and straightforward strength.  Keanu Reeves has created a tiny masterpiece, the revenge fantasy ending as it could only end, in love and blood. 

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