Forty-Seven Ronin (officially titled 47 Ronin) is a 2013 fantasy/action film loosely based on the story of The 47 Ronin. Very loosely.Outcast from society and enslaved due to being half-Japanese, half-British, a man named Kai (Keanu Reeves) encounters the eponymous ronin. They, of course, are samurai out to get revenge for the death of their master. His killer, Lord Kira, is allied with a wicked witch (Rinko Kikuchi) who controls supernatural forces threatening the land which Kai and the ronin must defeat.The first trailer can be seen here. The film was a box office disaster, losing around 150 million dollars for the studio.
Advertised Extra: Rick Genest, aka "Zombie Boy", was featured prominently in posters◊ for the film. He appears in one scene in the film that lasts about thirty seconds, with role entirely consisting of an interesting looking extra who points them where to go.
And Now You Must Marry Me: The Shogun orders Lady Asano to wed Lord Kira to force Ako into Kira's hands and prevent Lord Asano's forces from attacking out of vengeance.
Artistic License - History: Lord Asano Naganori is portrayed as an old and wizened man and Lord Kira Yoshinaka as a young upstart noble (which resonates with him being power-hungry). In Real Life, during the events of 1701 AD, Lord Kira was the older man (Lord Asano was 34 by then and Lord Kira was almost 60).
Audible Sharpness: Not two minutes into the film, someone picks a sword up out of a puddle and it goes "FSCCCHWINGGG".
Barrier Warrior: Invoked by Kai, who uses his sword to deflect a burst of flame. Handwaved in that he earlier demonstrated "magical powers" learned from the Tengu, and that the sword is supposed to have powers as well.
Bittersweet Ending: Despite the looseness of the adaptation, the story does end with all the ronin committing honorable suicide, including Kai; he and Mika promise to find each other in another lifetime.
Break the Cutie: Mizuki does this big time towards Lady Asano. She constantly taunts her and later tells her that her father's men and Kai are dead.
Cassandra Truth: Kai warns Oishi that a concubine traveling with Lord Kira has the same Mismatched Eyes as a white fox he saw during their demon hunt a week earlier. Oishi warns him that only a demon could see past a witch's disguises, and asks if Kai is a demon. He says he's not, and Oishi suggests he was just bewitched by the concubine's beauty. Unfortunately this causes a lot of problems for the people of Ako later on.
Lord Asano taking the blame for Kai fighting instead of Yasuno during the tournament. Though he suffers a beating, at least his life was spared.
Oishi tells his wife that she should divorce him to be free of any blame for the revenge he was about to enact on Lord Asano's behalf. However, she refuses to do so, stating she was going to follow him till the bitter end as the wife of a samurai.
Dragon-in-Chief: Mizuki the witch. Literally becomes one at the end of the film as well.
The Dreaded: Lord Kira's samurai. On top of the scary looking armor he's wearing, he's also much larger than everyone else. So when he starts to approach a group of Oishi's men, they understandably back away from him.
Exact Words: The witch prophesied correctly how Lord Kira will be paraded throughout Japan and people bow before him in towns and villages, how his name will last... just he was paraded as a severed head and his name lasts to present day as one of the greatest JerkAsses of Japan.
Evil Is Hammy: Some of Mizuki's dialogue can seem this way at times, particularly when taunting Lady Asano.
Lord Kira's samurai wear a black and silver uniform.
Lord Asano and his men wear red and gold, the colors of celebration in East Asian cultures.
Mika wears a white dress during her marriage ceremony - white is a mourning color for Japanese, not a celebratory one. This was a Stealth Insult to Lord Kira and a way to show she still mourned her father and clan.
Lord Kira has flowing hair, not tied in the traditional Samurai chonmagetop knot, even in festive occasions and in front of the Shogun himself. This was a violation of the Samurai dress code and a way to show he didn't care for tradition and had no respect for authority.
Fantastic Racism: Kai is ostracized not only because of his mixed ancestry which makes him look different than every Japanese person, but also because of his suspicious early upbringing by some demons. And when Oishi brings him along for the revenge plan, some of his men still don't trust Kai.
Flash Step: The Tengu move at such an alarmingly fast speed that they appear like a blur to Oishi and his men.
Flynning: Averted. Many scenes involve the samurai/ronin go for the kill, sometimes brutally so
Fog of Doom: A creature made of fog appears in the trailer.
Gory Discretion Shot: Lord Asano's seppuku doesn't show the gory/bloody parts. And when the beheading takes place, the candles in Kai's room go out instead to signify his death.
Go Through Me: Lady Asano leaps towards Kai before Lord Kira's samurai can kill him. After Lord Asano apologizes for Kai's actions (he wasn't a samurai, but stepped in when the witch knocked out the former's samurai intended for the duel, which was seen as an insult), the Shogun allows Kai to be beaten instead of killed.
Honey Trap: Mizuki uses one on one of Oishi's men while he's trying to gather information on Lord Kira's movements. He later tells Oishi about Lord Kira planning to move at night, but his eyes are clouded like other characters earlier in the film who were brainwashed by Mizuki. He is later burned alive after luring Oishi and his men into an ambush.
Keystone Army: After Lord Kira is beaten by Oishi, the former's men immediately stop fighting. Largely because he's holding their lord's head in his hands.
Kick the Dog: As if Lord Kira's actions at the tournament weren't heinous enough, later on he's seen sparring with two men. He knocks one of them out right away, and the other is defeated enough to fall to his knees. Lord Kira then hits him with his wooden sword, and then kicks the poor guy's face a couple of times.
Kitsune: The witch is strongly implied to be one - seductive, shapeshifter, a mistress of plotting and trickery, most of the time turns into fox-form.
"I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: When Oishi first sees Kai in the port town after his release from the pit, the latter is fighting a very large man. After he wins, Oishi attempts to talk to him, only for Kai to attack. Oishi attempts to get Kai to recognize him, but the latter doesn't seem to care until he mentions Lady Asano being married off to Lord Kira if they don't stop it.
Living Macguffin: Uh...the Big Bad himself. Beyond killing a sparring partner and ordering Oishi tossed down a pit early on, he accomplishes literally nothing throughout the movie that Mizuki doesn't do for him, instead having a role consisting of reacting to what people tell him and running when people try to kill him. He's simply an object to be destroyed.
Mizuki taunts Lady Asano at one point, saying that her father's men and Kai have been killed. She then tells her that while she promised Lord Kira she wouldn't harm a hair on her head, what Lady Asano does to herself is beyond her control. Then she stabs the ground next to Lady Asano, leaving behind a knife and implying she kill herself.
The Shogun tells Oishi that they should be hanged as criminals due to disobeying his order to not seek vengeance for Lord Asano's death. However, because they were following the ways of Bushido and avenged their lord's murder, he allows them to die with dignity via Seppuku.
Made a Slave: Kai in the beginning and in the middle of the film a year after Lord Asano's death.
Mighty Whitey: Kai is half-white, raised by Tengu, possesses magical abilities none of his fellow samurai do, and raises to a position above what should have been possible for a man of his lineagenote while common warriors had been inducted as Samurai during Japan's past, in the rigid society of the Edo Period this was a near impossibility for a non-Japanese of suspicious background, and while he is one of the main protagonists who rescues the princess, ultimately the true hero of the story is Oishi, who slays the Big Bad and led his men, including Kai, to victory.
In-setting, Kai qualifies both for his half-English heritage and the fact that he learned magic powers from being raised by tengu. From an audience standpoint, the entirety of the movie seems designed to evoke the "Exotic Orient".
Ironic Echo: Kai is hated and despised throughout his life for being a half-breed, treated as a dangerous savage, a demon spawn. The character which mostly deserves such treatment, the witch (who is not even human, cruel, murderous) is a highly respected lady, concubine of a Daimyo.
Mismatched Eyes: Mizuki's trademark. Carries over whenever she shapeshifts.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Kai takes Oishi and his men to the Tengu forest in an attempt to get some swords, he tells the latter to come alone. He also warns Oishi not to draw his weapon no matter what happens inside. While his men do wait for a while, they eventually come into the temple where the other two are. They then show up, and pull their weapons out, causing the Tengu praying in the temple to attack them. Oishi can hear someone telling him to draw his blade to save his men as they're slaughtered left and right. However, this becomes a subversion when it turns out that Oishi was actually being tested, and none of his men being killed was real, but instead all of it was an illusion to see if he would listen to what Kai said about not pulling his weapon out. He later sees Kai and the Tengu once again praying, but this time with swords in front for his men.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Mizuki gave a distressed Mika the knife so she could kill herself. Instead she hid it in her person to use on Kira so she could escape.
After barely surviving in the pit for a year, Oishi is let out and within hours begins to form his rebellion. Why Kira couldn't just leave him down there is unknown.
Lord Asano, who doesn't kill Kai when he first meets the boy. He also raises him and commits Seppuku to retain his clan's honor after he's brainwashed into attacking Lord Kira.
Oishi as well. After he takes over for Lord Asano, he's Genre Savvy enough to realize that if they attacked Lord Kira now, the people of Ako would be slaughtered in retaliation.
Heck, even the Shogun isn't a heartless bastard. When Oishi and his men are getting ready to commit Seppuku, he stops Chikara, Oishi's son, from doing it as well. Instead he tells Chikara to live on and serve Lady Asano so that Oishi's bloodline wouldn't die out, despite Chikara having taken part in the revenge plan.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Oishi is also Genre Savvy enough to realize that if they did attack after Lord Asano's forced Seppuku, then the people of Ako would be slaughtered down to the last man, woman, and child so they instead turn their sword down before the Shogun. The latter is also is Genre Savvy enough to realize that what just happened wouldn't sit well with his followers. So he makes them ronin, or masterless samurai, and orders them specifically to not attack Lord Kira or seek vengeance, probably also with the implication that Ako would be attacked by all the other Japanese provinces in retaliation. However, they do eventually end up doing this, though it takes at least a year to do so, mostly because Oishi was in jail for that time, but also to throw off Lord Kira's heightened security immediately following Lord Asano's death.
Secret Test of Character: For Oishi. Though Kai subverts this somewhat by forewarning him and also telling him how to pass the test. Not that it was easy for him however, as he was told to save his men as they were being slain left and right.
Smug Snake: Lord Kira often has this look in many of the scenes he's in. You can practically tell he's up to no good the moment you see him on screen.
Take a Third Option: After the first village Oishi attempts to get weapons from is taken over and presumably wiped out by Lord Kira's men, he suggests they can probably get weapons in a different nearby village. Kai says it'll be impossible, as Lord Kira will have taken over the entire region and they'd just end up in the same situation as the first village. He then suggests they go to the Tengu forest to acquire weapons, which coincidentally was also where he was raised prior to running away to Ako.
Thrown Down a Well: Kira dumps Oishi into a pit for a year to break his spirit. (It doesn't.)