Keanu Reeves returns to martial arts in 47 Ronin for the first time since kicking butt while uttering those classic The Matrix quotes. Reeves stars as Kai, a slave half-breed who goes from being discounted to someone who may hold the key to justice for his “adopted” clan.
47 Ronin is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download and for fans of Reeves and martial arts -- the film is a pretty solid entry for the actor and the genre. And you could add fantasy to the genres included by this picture as well. Let’s explain…
Reeves’ Kai is grateful to be rescued in a madcap world (look out for the witches!) and knows his place in the village where the group of samurai warriors -- called Ronin -- protect the royal family and ensure that life continues as it has for centuries.
Japan is feudal at the moment, but a strong (almost dictator-like) leader rules over the entire land. When he comes to Kai’s village for their hosting of the nationwide games that celebrate the greatness of each clan’s warriors, nefarious plans ensue. Most of the royal family is taken out and the village is taken over. The Ronin’s leader is killed and they scatter across the land.
Kai gets away and spends his days as a trained warrior fighting in a Fight Club-type locale. Years have passed and Kai has gotten incredibly adept with his fighting skills. One of the village’s Ronin tracks him down, knowing deep in his heart that this former slave half-breed is the key to the Ronin reuniting and getting justice for what happened to their village and their kind.
Reeves' fighting skills are top notch, as we stated in our theatrical 47 Ronin review. And the fact that his dialogue is short and to the point truly fits the actor and he gels with Kai like a glove.
This is not your straightforward martial arts film as there are supernatural elements at play here too, so the bonus features for 47 Ronin are an added treat to take us inside the magic.
Keanu & Kai is a fantastic featurette that looks at Reeves and how much martial arts he had to learn and execute for 47 Ronin to even work. The film’s director, Carl Rinsch, and Reeves talk about what the actor had to go through to have it be convincing that this “half-breed” would be as good of a fighter as those who embody a centuries-old tradition of warring excellence.
The reason to see 47 Ronin, let’s be real, is the fight scenes. Steel Fury: The Fights of 47 Ronin delves deeper into how those scenes were shot and the choreography that makes them some of the freshest looking battle scenes we’ve witnessed in some time. It is one intense featurette.
As we mentioned, there is a fantasy element to 47 Ronin and how that was achieved is explored in Myths, Magic & Monsters: The FX of 47 Ronin. The clip illustrates how filmmakers used creatures from classic Japanese culture, including the Kirin (a beast with the head of a dragon and the body of a deer!), the Oni troll, the demonic Tengu Monks and of course, the Ktsune witch
But the best of the bonus features is Re-Forging the Legend. Fans of the Ronin lore and Japanese legends will treasure this look at how 47 Ronin sought to take great influence from the legendary passed-down tales of this time and bring them to life in the form of a thrilling action adventure.
Witness the return of Reeves to martial arts and watch 47 Ronin online.