Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
April 2015

So there it was again. This time, sitting in the list of "On Demand" movies on the cable menu. And I was really not especially looking forward to it. I mean, I generally like Japanese movies, but this wasn't really a Japanese movie. Oh, it had a lot of Japanese actors in it. And it was a story that originated in Japan. But it was done Hollywood-style, and the lead actor was not even remotely Japanese. So I had my doubts. Which were not alleviated by some of the comments by others who had already seen it. The one which stuck most in my mind was: "Real events regurgitated as fantasy freak show." So you can see where I might have some trepidation. Still, our motto is, and remains, "We watch 'em so you don't have to." So you can see that I felt obligated, if only on behalf of you, my loyal readers. So I sat myself down in my big La-Z-Bubba recliner, pulled out my pen and notepad, and pushed "Play." And so it is that this month, Da'ud Bob reviews for you the 2013 Hollywoodized version of 47 Ronin.

Starring Keanu (no, I'm not Japanese) Reeves as the half-breed raised by demons in the forest, Kai, Hiroyuki Sanada as Oishi, Ko Shibasaki as Mika, Tadanobu Asano as Lord Kira, Min Tanaka as Lord Asano, Jin Akianishi as Chikara, Masayoshi Haneda as Yasuno, Hiroshi Sogabe as Hazama, Takato Yonemoto as Basho, Cary-Hiroyuki as the Shogun Tsunayoshi, Rinko Kikuchi as the Witch, and Neil Fingleton as the "Lovecraftian Samurai" (I kid you not! That's how his character is named in the credits), this is a take on the well-known story of the 47 former samurai who seek vengeance for their dishonored lord, no matter that they know beforehand that it can only lead to their own deaths. Which this version of the story tries to jazz up by adding a shape-shifting witch, a huge armored samurai, demons (who remind me a lot of UFO aliens), and a half-breed foundling with some demonic powers of his own. And which they try also to turn into a love story between Kai and Mika.

Good points: The red armor. Mika's cloak. Some of the costuming. The CGI dragon. (I did mention that the witch was a shape-shifter, right?)

Bad points: Some of the costuming. The collars on Mika's kimonos. The tattoos. The witch using her hair as chopsticks. The bride wearing white. Way too much magical stuff. And did I mention that they tried to turn it into a love story?

Zero breasts. 1 gallon of blood. 48 dead bodies. (And a bunch more off-screen.) Arrow fu. Antler fu. Katana fu. Musket fu. Ball on chain fu. Fire fu. Garrote fu. Dagger fu. Samurai roll. Heads roll. Gratuitous Japanese Balrog. (Well, I'm really not quite sure how else to describe this huge monster.) Gratuitous hallucinogenic spider. Gratuitous beatings. Gratuitous ghosts. Gratuitous changeling witch. Gratuitous imaginary rape. Academy Award nomination to 7' 7" tall Neil Fingleton as the "Lovecraftian Samurai" for pretty much dominating every scene he's in (obviously!). A 72 on the Vomit Meter. Two stars. Da'ud Bob says, "It's a great tale, and they tried to turn it into a love story. It isn't a love story, and it doesn't need to be. It's a story of honor, and the lengths these forty-seven masterless samurai, these "ronin," were willing to go to in avenging the wrong done to their former master, which had led to his ritual suicide. Check it out!"

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

April 5 - May 10, 2015

Masterpiece on PBS

Wolf Hall. Based on the novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, the miniseries is a fictionalized telling of the rise of Thomas Cromwell under King Henry VIII. Mark Rylance, Jonathan Pryce, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy, and Tom Holland.


2015 Macbeth. Yet another film of "the Scottish play," this time starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, and David Thewlis. "A modern interpretation of the bard's tragedy, set in the claustrophobic confines of a stretch limousine which prowls the streets of a contemporary landscape as its agoraphobic passengers struggle for existential meaning in a dog eat dog world where only the fit survive, and tragedy unfolds."


February 12, 2016 Gods of Egypt. The Egyptian god of darkness, Set (Gerard Butler), has taken the throne of Egypt for himself. A young thief (Brenton Thwaites), with the aid of the god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) seeks to defeat him. Brenton Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Geoffrey Rush, Rufus Sewell.

No official website yet.

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