In Movie Theaters December 25, 2013
Keanu Reeves is the only American in this Japanese movie, which takes place in the 18th century and tells the story of a band of samurai who set out to avenge the death of their master..
The director of the Keanu Reeves samurai epic 47 Ronin, Carl Rinsch, is no longer in control of the film’s editing. Rinsch, a commercials director making his feature film debut on 47 Ronin, was sidelined by Hollywood studio Universal after the film’s budget ballooned to $225 million from an original $175 million.
Based on the Japanese legend in which a group of early 18th-century samurai avenge the death of their master, the Hollywood version adds fantasy elements such as giants and witches into the mix. It also found space for a half-Japanese, half-British character, Kai, not featured in the original story and played by Reeves.
The Keanu Reeves character was entirely absent from the film’s climactic scenes after the director's shoots in Budapest, Japan and Shepperton studios in London. A number of studio-ordered reshoots took place in the UK, allowing Keanu Reeves to play his part in the denouement and also adding a love scene, close-ups and extra dialogue to restore him to the centre of the action. The film now finishes with a battle between Kai (Keanu Reeves) and a supernatural monster.
Aside from Keanu Reeves, 47 Ronin features a completely Japanese cast, so U.S. audiences could have been perplexed by his absence from the end of the movie. The 3D epic is the first starring role for the Canadian actor in a big budget Hollywood production since the final Matrix installment in over a decade; the final The Matrix movie in 2003.
47 Ronin was originally scheduled for theatrical summer 2012 release. Its release date was pushed back more than eighteen months... never, ever a good sign. We are expecting a huge bomb at the U.S. movie box office with 47 Ronin, but it could make some of its money back in Asia.
STARRING: Keanu Reeves, Rinko Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Yorick van Wageningen, Kou Shibasaki, Togo Igawa
DIRECTED BY: Carl Rinsch
STUDIO: Universal Pictures
Some advanced teaser posters were created for the original 2012 release date, and were leaked, (below), offering up a look at Keanu Reeves as Kai, alongside his nemesis in the film, an armored shogun warrior.