Keanu Reeves directed himself in the underground martial arts fighting thriller Man of Tai Chi; that film opened in select Asian theater markets earlier this year and could reach the States before 2013 draws to a close. Nonetheless, far more people are likely to hear about – not to mention actually see – this winter’s release 47 Ronin, which features Reeves headlining a big-budget Hollywood treatment of the famous true-story (wherein 47 samurai set out to honorably avenge the death of their slain master).

Reeves may be the 47 Ronin cast member whose picture will (probably) adorn the majority of posters released for U.S. audiences, but the bulk of the film’s cast is composed of Japanese actors and actresses. That lineup includes a handful of faces that ought to seem familiar to the sci-fi and comic book crowd, such as Rinko Kikuchi (Pacific Rim), Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine) and Tadanobu Asano (Thor: The Dark World).

No surprise, Reeves’ costars get more attention in the newly-released 47 Ronin international trailer, which is about half as long as its U.S. counterpart and includes Japanese titles. Of course, there’s still plenty of footage that showcases a bearded, long-haired and grimy Reeves in action; in addition to, excerpts from the film’s many stylized battle sequences (pitting Reeves and his samurai comrades against a diverse collection of supernatural enemies and creatures).

Here is an official synopsis for 47 Ronin:

Keanu Reeves makes an explosive return to action-adventure in 47 Ronin. After a treacherous warlord kills their master and banishes their kind, 47 leaderless samurai vow to seek vengeance and restore honor to their people. Driven from their homes and dispersed across the land, this band of Ronin must seek the help of Kai (Reeves)–a half-breed they once rejected–as they fight their way across a savage world of mythic beasts, shape-shifting witchcraft and wondrous terrors. As this exiled, enslaved outcast becomes their most deadly weapon, he will transform into the hero who inspires this band of outnumbered rebels to seize eternity.

 47 Ronin was co-scripted by Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious 6) and Hossein Amini (Snow White and the Huntsman), as based on an adapted screen story that Morgan conceived alongside executive producer Walter Hamada (The Conjuring). It would appear as though Morgan and Amini have given the 47 Ronin source story a similar treatment as the latter helped to give the Snow White fairy tale; in other words, the writers have incorporated more tentpole spectacle and larger production values into the original narrative (combined with a gritty, yet PG-13 friendly tone).

The Snow White/47 Ronin parallels don’t end there, as the latter is also a feature-length debut for its director, Carl Rinsch. Rumors about creative issues during post-production – coupled with multiple release date delays – give reason to be cautious about Reeves’ Samurai flick and suggest that it might be flashy, yet messy and hollow from a storytelling perspective, similar to the aforementioned Snow White re-envisioning. (In all fairness, though, even if that proves to be the case, then 47 Ronin could still be a serviceable popcorn flick).

How does 47 Ronin look to you: like a fun Samurai fantasy-adventure, a fun-but-dumb Keanu Reeves blockbuster – or just dumb?

47 Ronin opens in U.S. theaters on December 25th, 2013.

Source: Twitch Film