47 Ronin 

Giving a first-time director around $170 million to make a samurai epic in the style of 13 Assassins—one that's beefed up to the scope of Zack Snyder’s 300, and stars Keanu Reeves as a half-Japanese, half-British outcast who isn’t a factual part of Japan’s national legend—maybe doesn’t seem like the best use of Universal’s resources. And considering 47 Ronin was originally scheduled for last November, before being pushed back over a year to this Christmas, the studio is perhaps understandably nervous about Carl Rinsch’s fantastical take on the frequently adapted tale. Instead of the 18th-century history of a group of ronin avenging their lord after a violation of honor, which is one of the most famous stories of samurai bushido code, Rinsch’s version gets rid of all that boring stuff in favor of colorful fight scenes, heavily tattooed assassins, and female villains who turn into dragons. Keanu Reeves mutters, “I’m not afraid of you,” and the dragon-lady hisses back, “You should be,” potentially presaging the reviews of critics everywhere.

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