Samurai fantasy lacks spirit

Samurai fantasy lacks spirit

First-time director Carl Erik Rinsch has chosen to make an action fantasy film about the legendary Japanese tale, 47 Ronin, which focuses on a group of samurai seeking revenge when their boss dies because of a ruthless shogun.

Rinsch's great ambition is certainly matched by the impeccable, stunning computer-generated effects. Yet, despite the best efforts of his cast - including Hiroyuki Sanada as samurai leader Oishi, and former Matrix star Keanu Reeves, as Kai, an adopted, half-British, half-Japanese samurai - this disappointing effort fails to spark. It never captures the authentic, epic sweep, or spirit of films about "ronin" - the name for samurai left without any master.

Rinsch creates a fascinating ancient Japanese setting, teeming with Oriental-style castles, Eastern-looking armour and breathtaking scenery.

Yet the uneasy shift in focus between Sanada's and Reeves' characters prove distracting, and the Japanese cast are asked to deliver two hours of impassioned, stilted dialogue in English.

We're left with an empty film where visuals are all that count.

YP Rating: 3/5

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