Where I Watched it: HBo MAX
English Audio Description provided By: Media Access Group
Narrated by: Christopher Flowers
This might seem random, but i promise, my next review will make sense. It will pull this whole thing together.
Yes, when this thing came out nine years ago, I could have seen it in theatres. But, it came out in December, and when you decide to tackle a crowded marketplace, you’d either be a sure fire blockbuster or be up for Oscar consideration. This is basically why I also didn’t see The mist in theatres. Things were just too crowded, and I’m out there trying to knock off Oscar bait, and still get reviews out for the top films. 47 Ronin was a big budget, just not a big grosser.
I know it was disappointing for Keanu, and this film has since found fans. For me, I thought the film had a lot going on. it felt like the film was full of exposition and backstory constantly getting crammed in so we could hopefully follow the story. it doesn’t really pay off, and it just makes the story feel far more complicated than it ever needed to be. My biggest complaint is that 47 Ronin tries to do too much, with that everything but the kitchen sink attitude. My second would be the runtime.
Aside from that, Keanu does some really great work here, and I’m sure he did most of his own stunts. Keanu is known for always training and wanting to not have to rely on a stunt double unless absolutely necessary. It pays off, because the action sequences in this film, when they really get going, are spectacular. I wasn’t crazy about the film, but I was all in on the action scenes.
Saying that feels weird to me as a blind film critic, because before, seeing a film with some crazy action sequences that allowed itself to be elevated through fight choreography was something I encountered, but not since I’ve been blind. Now, action sequences don’t always grab me, because the description has a hard time filling in the gaps. There are a few standouts, but those films usually have something else going for them. What I’m saying for 47 Ronin, is that the action sequences were basically the only thing I did enjoy. And that feels very different for me, and a testament to the narration produced by the Media Accesss Group for this film.
Depending on what you want from 47 Ronin, it will either deliver or not. But it is an action film first and foremost, and those scenes deliver thanks to the audio description. Without that, this film is long, and far too expository to be great.
Final Grade: C+