It's not been a good decade-and-a-half for Reeves, and 47 Ronin hasn't changed that
It’s quite telling that Keanu Reeves’ best effort - on Rotten Tomatoes at least - is a documentary about the rise of technology in film – an interesting and engaging subject for film lovers and geeks, something nearly all movie critics would claim to be.
Will 'Ronin' become a cult hit?
After that, films from the 80s and 90s, like 'Dangerous Liasons', 'Speed', 'The Matrix' and 'Parenthood', are the only ones with unanimous critical praise. The reviews since the turn of the millennium, though, paint a slightly different picture, with 'The Matrix Reloaded' his biggest critical success at 73%.
47 Ronin just had the sniff of failure about it: the Christmas day release; the numerous delays, and Keanu’s recent record for putting out stinkers made predicting the critical reaction to this martial arts-fantasy remake an easy sport.
“While the visuals are lovely to behold, this unremarkable version of the classic 18th century Japanese legend is stiff and uninvolving,” said Claudia Puig of Variety.
“As impressive as these visual elements prove to be, the film struggles to grab and maintain audiences' interest, whether or not they know the underlying legend by heart,” wrote Peter Debruge of Variety.
Keanu Reeves might have an almighty flop on his hands
“The eagerness of the major studios to cozy up to Asian markets yields awkward results in 47 Ronin, a lumpy 3D epic from Universal that fuses Japanese historical legend with generic CGI-heavy action fantasy,” said David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter.
There was one positive review; a 3/5 from Empire Magazine’s Kim Newman. “Perhaps a folly and - Kikuchi aside - too deadpan to be a romp,” wrote Newman, “this is still a decent, colourful samurai spectacle with a classical look (lots of symmetrical compositions) and a story which stands up under multiple retellings.”
So far, ‘47’ has accumulated a measly 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, putting it firmly in the flop category. And while there’s still time for that to change, the Christmas Day releases of The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle don’t bode well for ‘Ronin’s’ box office prospects.