You know that a feature film is in trouble when you get bored halfway through its two minute trailer. This was my recent experience with the latest full length preview for 47 Ronin, starring Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, and some CGI dragons. I have many feelings about 47 Ronin so far, but they can all be summed up in one onomatopoeia: Oof.
There’s not another word for this experience. It just looks dire. 47 Ronin stars Reeves as Kai, an outcast who was enslaved for some reason. He’s recruited by 47 ronin who seek to avenge the death of their master and restore their homeland. This apparently means fighting dragon-ladies, troll-like creatures, some guys in yellow robes and…I just got bored again.
We’ve already seen a few teasers for 47 Ronin that made the CGI look like it was done by a fourteen year old with an animation program. Fortunately, this latest trailer is a bit better on that front. The creatures on display are at least as convincing as anything del Toro did in Pacific Rim, which is a plus. But none of that means anything without an interesting plot, exciting action and good dialogue. What I’m seeing so far is pounding music and blank stares.
I’m afraid that the trailers make 47 Ronin look like a miscalculation of the worst order. How many more times can Keanu Reeves do his Neo act and get away with it? It worked in The Matrix, but he’s had diminishing returns on it ever since. It’s a shame too, because Reeves can be an enjoyable screen presence when he sets his mind to it. He’s got a good cast backing him up in 47 Ronin, with Sanada (The Wolverine) complemented by Rinko Kikuchi, of Pacific Rim fame. But the trailers are not selling the film the way they should.
You can decide about 47 Ronin for yourself by watching the latest trailer below, and letting me know if you think I’m being unfair in the comments section.
47 Ronin hits theatres December 25. So…Merry Christmas?