Saturday, October 5, 2013

47 Ronin - And the Keanu factor


What do you want from me? Nobody’s perfect.
I’ve always been a junkie for samurai fantasy adventures circa early 1980s (Ninja Wars Legend of the Eight Samurai) so to see Universal backing one, with a first-time director at the helm no less, and with all the production design and modern FX spectacle a hefty $175 million can buy is the kind of Hollywood foolhardiness I can get behind. Add to the absurdity Keanu Reeves. Any other white actor in the lead would have likely proven disdainful to the Japanese born source material, but Keanu is the exception: he is beyond any known race. I’m not just referring to his multi-ethnic ancestry, but his artfully dopey, live-action anime, surfer-mystic, rock star incarnate screen persona that could only exist in movies. It’s Keanu’s particular ingenuousness that makes casting like this work, that he’s clearly playing the part so doggedly and sincere.
The worst thing this movie can do is short-change its own goofy potential. All the elements in place, what it needs in order to succeed is to just be, like, "Fuck it!" and go all-out; to fully embrace it’s 'magic and monsters' conceit with reckless abandon; to be as wild, ridiculous and over-the-top as possible. Assuming it lives up to the trailer, what's not to like? I mean, shit, there’s gonna be pirates and ogres and witches and fireballs ...and Neo with a glowing katana. I’m in. Hell, I might even see it opening day, as a Christmas present to myself. 
Merry Christmas, Cannon.

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