’47 Ronin’ Trailer: Keanu Reeves Fights Monsters and Witches in Ancient Japan

Published 2 years ago by

Yesterday, we got four characters posters for 47 Ronin, and now we can offer the first trailer to boot. The film is a (very) loose adaptation of the real-life story – a touchstone of Japanese history and society/cultural values - about how forty-seven samurai track down the warlord responsible for murdering their master: a task for which (spoiler?) they honorably sacrifice their own lives, in order to complete.

In the Hollywood version, the protagonist is Kai (Keanu Reeves): a “half-breed” who was rejected from Japanese society. Kai has long been enslaved and forced to participate in arena battles with many of the dangerous supernatural creatures that roam the countryside. However, it turns out that Kai is destined for a higher calling, when he is recruited by forty-seven ronin (re: samurai without a master) to help them defeat an evil witch and avenge the death of their leader.

The 47 Ronin trailer, much like the recently-unveiled posters, highlights the fantastical creatures that inhabit the film’s setting – ogres, giant horned beast and sorceresses who can transform into dragons – in addition to laying out the basics of Reeves’ character’s history and relevance to the story. Visually, everything looks quite impressive, be it glimpses of smoothly-shot action sequences or panoramic-style imagery that was designed with the 3D format in mind. You can tell that first-time director Carl Rinsch learned a thing or two about how to make a shiny movie from his mentor, Ridley Scott.

47 ronin keanu reeves 47 Ronin Trailer: Keanu Reeves Fights Monsters and Witches in Ancient Japan

Having said that, the movie seems a bit hectic – which, to be fair, could just be the result of how the trailer is constructed. Still, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that, while the final result could easily be watchable, the film will fall short of realizing its full potential: to give the samurai sub-genre a genuine epic treatment with a budget close to $200 million. (That worry is all the more justifiable because of the longstanding rumors about creative control problems behind the scenes.)

The bigger concern, from a storytelling perspective, is that the important themes and ideas inherent to the 47 Ronin tale will be overwhelmed by special effects and extraneous action scenes. The script blends the complimentary talents of Oscar-nominee Hossein Amini (Drive) and Chris Morgan (Wanted, Fast & Furious 3-7), in an attempt to produce popcorn entertainment with substance.

Will that work? Or will 47 Ronin feel like two movies – a kick-ass samurai fantasy and a parable for Eastern beliefs and philosophy – that’ve been awkwardly cobbled together? Be sure and let us know what you think in the comments section!


47 Ronin opens in 2D/3D theaters in the U.S. on December 25th, 2013.

Source: Yahoo! Movies

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: 47 ronin
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  1. Samurai Jack: The Live Action Motion Picture!

    • hey you’re right!

    • That was a great show!

  2. Another movie where the natives need the white man help to save the day

    • Do you not realize Keanu is half-asian? I apologize if it offends you that I’m not sure if he’s Japanese, Korean, Chinese, etc. But pull your head out of your ass and get off of your high-horse.

      I’m not big on Keanu Reeves but this guy has delivered some solid action flicks. Recently with Street Kings, potentially with “Man of Tai Chi” and this looks really good, in my opinion. If the whole him-being-half-white bothers you so much you can go slump your bigoted-ass down somewhere else and watch another movie.

      If it’s the type of fantastical action that bothers you, or the actor himself, fine. But you’re off-base here with that remark.

      • He’s a mutt, actually. English, Hawaiian, Irish, Portuguese, and Chinese.

        Although he does look like a white man, haha.

        • I’ve never thought he looked like a white man. He has a very exotic look to him.

      • What is this “Half Asian” nonsense? The guy lists not less than SIX cultures he’s from. His Mom is a honky. Is Dad is basically Hawaiian. Not ONE of the cultures he claims is Japanese. Your argument is of little merit. This is the same “White Guy Saves The Day” story as Last Samurai or the incredibly derivative and stupid Avatar.

    • Keanu Reeves father is half Chinese and half Hawaiian.

      • Even that makes Keanu one quarter chinese…not Japanese…Also. The Dad claims six heritages. The bulk being European. But whatever. Keanu is a white dude in a Japanese feudal movie

        • His dad doesn’t claim that the fans are claiming that for him but you’re right. Who really cares. He’s an actor and I’m so happy he got the part and that we are finally going to see the film.

          • Er…That’s not true. The fans are just randomly attributing heritage? It is a tried and true actor ploy to put down a varied number of races on your resume to snag a part. It, at least to my knowledge, is NOT a tried and true technique for fans to just make up things like “He’s Samoan/Russian/Turkmenistanian/Danish/Cambodian/French” when they follow and actor.

  3. I agree with Drool Monster, but I still think this looks like the most stupidly awesome movie ever. And Hiroyuki Sanada and Rinki Kikuchi are both awesome. Bring in the popcorn, I think between this and “Seventh Son” we are looking at a showdown for the next “Hansel & Grettel: Witch Hunters”. I can’t wait for this one.

  4. wow… it looks amazing. i cannot wait.

    this is definitely my type of movie.

    • Me too, son! Me too!

  5. I wasn’t expecting the J.K Rowling version of 47 Ronin. Very curious…

  6. I know this and seventh son are probably not going to be really good movies but I’m just glad we’re getting some more big budget fantasy movies. Because really, besides Lotr, there really is no other true sword and sorcery fantasy film franchise. I don’t count stuff like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson or Narnia because those are sort of intertwined to the real world. I know some people don’t love him but I like Keanu Reeves and I think this, along with Seventh Son will be entertaining at the least.

    • I agree with ya but I will have to ask how those movies are intertwined with the real world but this is not?

      LOTR and 47 Ronin are both based on the actual world as well

      • Those are intertwined with the real world because they actually reference an entirely different world parallel to ours. Narnia is the fantasy world inside a wardrobe (unknown to the world except a choice few), Percy Jackson’s world is pretty much separate from the normal world (in the way that “normal” people don’t know it exists) and Harry Potter has two worlds, a wizard’s world (entirely different reality not known by the “muggles”) and a normal world.

      • LOTR and Ronin are set in entirely different worlds from ours. It’s an alternate reality, not a tied in reality involving two separate aspects.

    • I wish they would re-make THE SWORD and the SORCERER… underated 80′s flick

    • Ya, they’re all too similar. Even Jack the Giant Slayer, I, Frankenstein, etc. Dude fights really fake stuff.

  7. Hiroyuki Sanada will be great. He always is.
    He’s reason enough for me to check this out.
    And Rinko Kikuchi is another draw for me too.

    Those two can help overlook Keanu Reeves whom
    I am unsure about but I will keep an open mind.

    • Yep, Sanada alone is the only reason i will be seeing this at all

    • Dude, don’t forget Tadanobu Asano!

      • He’s good too but my main point was
        Sanada alone is reason to see this.
        He does add to the overall draw.

        • Meaning Tadanobu adds to the draw.

  8. After seeing preview…I am actually excited to see a Keanu Reeves movie

  9. Ohhh brother. It’s a supernatural movie. *sigh* I bet they force it into a PG-13. Nothing like bloodless swordplay.

    • One of the things I’m really digging is that they’re using Japanese mythology. So one of the things you’re complaining about is one of its strong points.

      • Totally agree with you Ken.

    • It seems like it deals with Japanese mythology which is something great. If the script is as good as the visual effects then we might have something great. I have a feeling though this will be like Pacific Rim where it won’t do good in the states but it will have most of it’s sales overseas.

  10. Hiroyuki Sanada, Rinki Kikuchi, decent visual effects, with samurai fantasy? It now has me interested. The release date though I can see could be an issue with the second chapter of the hobbit only being out a couple of weeks.

  11. gotta say… not what i was expecting. i am pleasantly surprised.

    • what THE WOLVERINE should have been?

  12. I guess Keanu still acts like a robot. Otoh, there isn’t much out there in the samurai genre so I’ll most likely check this out.

    • I like Keanu, but yea, I kinda agree here. He’s very wooden in this trailer.

  13. Cant wait to see it, very excited!

  14. why the hell would Hiroyuki Sanada need Keanu’s help? Sanada is a total badass in everything he’s in and Keanu, as hard as he tries, can’t seem to do anything other than surfer dude acting (point break/speed being his only exceptions).

    • Dude, he WAS a surfer dude/FBI agent in Point Break.

      • LOL

    • +1

  15. Hiroyuki Sanada in it so its watch for me.

  16. While Reeves does act like a robot, this trailer actually has me excited for.

  17. Big Keanu Reeves fan so I’m pumped for this. The Japanese mythology is what makes me want to see the film. Keanu Reeves loves the sci-fi genre so I don’t see why this is confusing to the author of the article. I don’t want another retelling of the actual 47 Ronin story. That’s what I have the History Channel for. Sites like this are forever crying “foul” for there not being enough sci-fi/fantasy genre movies out there and then when someone makes one all I here is “why are they doing that?” & “why aren’t they doing the story I want them to do?” “why, why, why”, “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha”. Geese Louise.

    • I’m happy to see a big budget fantasy samurai film made, and I intend to go see this on the big screen, but this film shouldn’t be called simply “47 Ronin”. The isn’t even close to the true story of the 47 Ronin, as the title would suggest. But if you think I’m just crying “foul”, then consider the following. What if you heard a movie called “The Alamo” was being released next year? You’d have some expectations about what the film was about. So imagine if you saw the first trailer, and the story was changed so that rather than defending the mission from General Santa Anna and the Mexican Army, the defenders were slowly being picked off by chupacabras! Or how about a film entitled “The Lewis and Clark Expedition”? But instead of traveling west to the Pacific Ocean, Sacagawea leads the party out of this world and into the realm of Faerie. If these films existed, people would be complaining, justifiably, about the titles.

      • Kind of like when “Raiders of the Lost Ark” came out everyone was mad that it was a pulp fantasy adventure instead of a realistic depiction of the ultimate fate of the Ark of the Covenant. Or how “Pirates of the Caribbean” disappointed everyone expecting a historical drama about piracy in the West Indies.

        Seriously though, I’ve been following this project for a while and everyone involved has been open about the fact that it was a historical fantasy, not realistic historical drama.

    • It’s because Marsha was going to become a teen model. That’s hard on a middle child.

  18. The story’s a classic. I personally could do without all the Percy Jackson type guff, but hey Sanada is in it so I’ll deffo give it a whirl.
    I’ve always found Reeves to be an unconvincing presence. He ‘acts’ like my eight year old boy when it’s past is bedtime, trying to pretend he’s not there.

    • But that isn’t the classic story. That’s something different. “White Guy Gets Pressed Backed Into Service In Feudal Japan”. What is that?

      • True, true, they’ve totally mixed it up, but if the overall tone of the movie works then I’m good with that. I guess I was hoping for more of a 13 Assassins type feel to it. Saying that, good fantasy is a rare thing on screen and this is set in feudal Japan instead of the usual back drops, fairy tale forests and the like. Still, I would’ve preferred an Japanese actor centre stage instead one half of Bill and Ted, would’ve had a more authentic vibe and thus more submersive.
        But on the face of it this does look ‘…Most excellent!!’

        • Though…If I hear he says “Whoah” in any part of the movie…I WILL immediately see it.

  19. Looks dumb.

  20. The visuals look great, but the trailer feels like a whole lotta nothing: No substance, and a lot of cheesy moments, is the impression I’m getting.

    I guess we’ll see. I’ve been looking forward to this movie for quite some time now.
    If anything, if this does well, we’ll be one step closer to seeing Samurai Jack in live action! :D

  21. This trailer looks a bit interesting, pure popcorn flick though. Still, I’ll check this out, always enjoyed Keanu Reeves’ performances, while not the best I always found him entertaining.

  22. This movie to me is like Pacific Rim. We know there are going to be some cheesy moments and the script will more than likely be average but the visual effects should draw the fans in. Sword fighting and awesome visual effects? What’s not to like

  23. another white man saves the day movie great like we don’t have enough of those

    • There is no “white man” in this trailer. I assume you’re referring to the multiracial character Kai played by multiracial actor Keanu Reeves.

      • I know I was just playing

  24. “the film will fall short of realizing its full potential: to give the samurai sub-genre a…”

    Sandy, do you have a crystal ball to foresee how the film will do at the b.o?

  25. I definitely wasn’t expecting something like this from an adaptation of the 47 Ronin story. That said, I’m probably gonna have to see this.

    As a side note, I notice on trailers where they don’t show more than a split second of a sword fight, they’re keeping the trailer green-band by hiding the blood splash after each sword strike. Makes me wonder if this is going to be a gory (albeit highly stylized) affair.

  26. Hello,
    I went through the movie trailer 47 Ronin and hope it will rock in the box office.