Lydia C. Lee is still trying to work out what to do with her one wild and precious life. She currently is a haphazard blogger. Read more at holidazeandhellidaze.blogspot.com.au or www.pandoraandmax.blogspot.com
Published January 20th 2014
Hollywood takes on Edo Japan
This is a hard film to review - if you watch a lot of Asian Cinema, it's not as CGI crazy as a lot of recent films. If this is your first foray into this genre, then you'll find it a little over the top.
If you watch Asian cinema, you'll be lamenting there were no subtitles; If you don't, then you'll be rolling your eyes at some of the dialogue.
My honest opinion; it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. It's familiar territory for me, though a Hollywood remake, with all that entails, both good and bad.
Based on a true story, a popular history that appears in puppet shows, kubuki and even wood block prints, this film focuses more on the outcast (Keanu Reeves), though Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada, seen recently in The Railway Man and The Wolverine) steals the show and clearly the story is really about him.
Tadanobu Asano brings a little fun to the piece as the villainous Lord Kira. He made me smile with his enjoyment of wicked frivolity. You will recognise him from Mongol, but he's also in the Thor movies, though I can't remember him in them at all, for some reason.
Scene stealing Rinko Kikuchi is easily the most entertaining character in the film, with a very different look to her Pacific Rim appearance.
The film looks great and there are plenty of broad vistas and lovely costumes.
I'm not saying rush out and see it, nor am I saying don't bother. Our audience seemed to enjoy it, and the story of Oishi Yoshio is interesting enough to make you disregard the flaws in the execution. I think the attempt to please the Western film goers is where they went wrong, and had they focused more on the actual Japanese story, it may have worked better.
That all said, the film is easy to watch, entertaining for the most part and visually pleasing.