It's hard to deny that the "bullet-time" fight sequences from The Matrix would look all that much cooler if they could've been seen in 3D. Since we've yet to catch the "convert old movies to 3D" fever, the upcoming Samurai epic starring Keanu "Neo" Reeves, 47 Ronin, will have to satisfy our need to see multi-dimensional martial arts action on the big screen.
Universal has plans for the pic to be shot and released in 3D, with first-time feature director Carl Rensch (who recently left the Logan's Run remake for the Reeves period action flick) in the director's chair.
47 Ronin is a refashioning of the famous Japanese story, which itself was based off a real-life incident often referred to as the Genroku Akō incident. This event occurred near the beginning of the 18th century and concerned a group of forty-seven samurai who set out to avenge the death of their leader after he was forced to commit ritual suicide (seppuku) for attacking a court official. It's a legend of Japanese culture that is seen as a reflection of the country's heavy emphasis on values such as loyalty, honor, and sacrifice in the name of justice.
Like the folklore legend Mulan, the 47 Ronin story has been adapted by Japanese filmmakers many a time in the past - and now it will be given a Hollywood makeover as an action movie that stars Reeves. It's not yet clear whether the Speed actor will play one of the forty-seven warriors or if his character will be a new addition to the centuries-old epic. Will he join the ranks of the Samurai, a la Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai?
Rensch will undoubtedly amp up the sword-clashing battles and blood-shedding in his 3D take on 47 Ronin, which hopefully won't go overboard on the "stuff flying out at the camera" gimmick. The true story has generally been embellished and elaborated upon heavily in previous Japanese theatrical and cinematic adaptations, so a big-budget Hollywood treatment seems almost appropriate.
Reeves may not be known as an especially expressive actor (to put it mildly), but his mannerisms could serve him well as a stoic warrior who places an emphasis on not being overtly emotional in either everyday life or battle. The prospect of having Reeves play a Japanese samurai will definitely be problematic for some, but in the actor's defense, his father is of English, Irish, Portuguese, Hawaiian, and yes, Chinese descent. So there is a tiny, tiny, tiny, fraction of Asian genetics in there somewhere (which is better than none, no?).
Ultimately though, we should probably wait and see what Reeves' 47 Ronin role actually is before getting too riled up about the racial/cultural inaccuracies of his casting.
47 Ronin is scheduled to arrive in 2D and 3D on November 21st, 2012.
Source: Universal (via Collider)