A second international trailer for 47 Ronin dropped a month ago, but it was difficult to properly appreciate the footage – unless you speak Russian, that is. The non-dubbed (read: English) cut of the trailer for UK audiences is now online and… well… okay, there’s not much in the way of new insight to gain from understanding the dialogue (then again, now we can better appreciate Rinko Kikuchi’s deliciously cartoony-evil line delivery as the antagonist, the wicked sorceress Mizuki).
47 Ronin is based on the Japanese legend about a group of leaderless Samurai (a.k.a. Ronin) warriors who set out to avenge their leader after he is unjustly killed. However, rather than unfold as a somewhat-grounded story of honorable men who charge into battle facing near-to-impossible odds (i.e. 300, with Samurai armor instead of six-packs), this version takes place in a fantasy version of ancient Japan – one populated by mystical beasts, a power-hungry witch, and a bi-racial outcast (Keanu Reeves) who must fulfill his destiny and save the day.
Interestingly, 47 Ronin is the second East-meets-West blockbuster – featuring Kikuchi in a pivotal role – that will soon have opened in theaters in 2013, following Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim this past summer. The Oscar-nominated Kikuchi was on the cusp of becoming a fan-favorite even before she played newbie Jaeger pilot Mako Mori in del Toro’s Mecha-genre throwback. Her performance as a villainous (literal) hidden-dragon in Reeves’ fantasy/adventure should only further cement her status as an actress with a proper fan following (even if the actual 47 Ronin movie tanks at the box office).
Speaking of which: 47 Ronin is just the latest tentpole that was rumored to have gone through some disconcerting rough patches during the filming/post-production processes. Whereas Disney’s Lone Ranger reportedly went over its budgeted cost and time schedule for principal photography – while Paramount’s World War Z ended up having its entire third act reshot before release – there was a time when 47 Ronin director Carl Rinsch (who is making his feature-length debut on the film) was said to have been removed from the project – though, the claims have since been denied (so take them or leave them as you will).
Question is, will 47 Ronin – rumored to have cost between $175 million and $225 million – follow in the footsteps of Lone Ranger (poor reviews, insufficient box office returns), World War Z (solid reviews, excellent box office returns) or a path that lies somewhere between the two? It seems to have potential as decent effects-heavy popcorn entertainment, and the film won’t overlap too much with the other titles during the 2013 Winter Holiday frame (except for a little holdover from earlier in the month called The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) – but, as always, we’ll have to wait and see…
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.