"47 Ronin"--a samurai blockbuster with a $200 million budget--is set to open this Christmas against “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug", and while many are hoping it marks the beginning of a comeback for Keanu Reeves, others are wondering if the action/fantasy can really compete with the Peter Jackson vehicle.
The film is set in a fantastical world of dragons and ogres, based on a Japanese legend about 47 samurai who track down the man responsible for their master's death and then give their lives in order to have their vengeance ("ronin" means a samurai without a master). Reeves plays a "half-breed" who has been banished from society and forced to fight monsters in arena battles like the slaves in ancient Greece. The trailer looks promising, but movie critics are quick to point out that the director, Carl Rinsch, has music videos and commercials under his belt but no other feature films, and nothing in 3-D.
The movie's release date has already been pushed back twice because re-shoots and visual effect tweaks were needed, which could either work in the film's favor or against it. Some are worried that the presence of so much 3-D action and visuals will take away from the story and indeed, it's a delicate balance.
"47 Ronin" debuts on Christmas Day.