Blade Of The 47 Ronin

Blade of the 47: Revenge of the Onna-Bugeisha
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Reviewed by   |  Jun 30, 2023

Belated and lower budget follow up to the much maligned (but entertaining) Keanu Reeves blockbuster ’47 Ronin’, this straight-to-streaming/DVD sequel is another fun slice of samurai swordplay action.

Jettisoning the period setting and overly fantastical elements of the previous film (no giant CGI creatures here this time!), ‘Blade of the 47 Ronin’ shifts the action to modern day Budapest where several samurai clans come together to combat rogue witch Yurei (Southworth) and his army who want to eradicate all samurai by uniting the blades of a powerful weapon called the Tengu Sword. Yurei’s ancestor was slain by one of the 47 Ronin, and he wants revenge while a prophecy tells that only a descendant of the 47 Ronin can stop Yurie. So, Lord Shinshiro (Dacascos) and his clan are charged with locating and training the descendant to face Yurei. Problem is, said descendant is foul mouthed New Yorker, and definitely not samurai warrior, Luna (Akana) who has no interest in fighting.

A sequel to a big budget spectacle that underperformed, many seem to loath (not this reviewer: it was a fun film!) and many years after the fact may not appear to be the best idea but ‘Blade of the 47 Ronin’ is a pleasant surprise and an impressive full-on fight flick. Released under the Universal 1440 banner (which specializes in lower budget squeals to blockbusters), ‘Blade of the 47 Ronin’ is slick albeit silly fun that rightly plays everything just earnest enough to be taken seriously but having fun with the hokey concept of Samurai’s running around modern Budapest fighting evil witches. The cast are game also, which contributes to the sense of fun, a nice mixture of genre stalwarts (Dacascos, Nguyen, Southworth) and fresh faces (Akana, Moh, Ting, Fukuyama) all adding gravitas, personality, a sense of humour and oodles of stellar fight action.

Mixing modern action tropes with a hint of the magical, it’s a heightened reality the characters inhabit as they wander around a modern city brandishing swords and wearing full samurai attire like it’s no big thing. This amps up the comic book style tone allowing the antagonists to engage in multiple impressive fight sequences. The action is rendered well and the likes of Moh, Ting and Fukuyama get to show off their impressive fight skills doing most of the heavy lifting action wise. Old hats Dacacos, Nguyen and Southworth also get to shine fight wise though it’s a great shame Dacascos and Southworth didn’t get to face off properly at least once, as both are incredible screen fighters. Southworth supervised a lot of the action and the last 20 minutes is packed with glorious fight action. It’s great stuff and so much better than one might have been expecting from a low budget sequel.

The flick is also surprisingly funny, the cast delivering as much banter as they do face punches and along with a fair amount of fruity language (which cuts through what could have been an overly serious/po-face tone), director Ron Yuan (an action movie stalwart himself and seen recently in the ace ‘The Paper Tigers’) juggles the various elements well to deliver an action treat. Also, there are a ton of ninjas in it, so that’s another plus.

Originally published on Blueprint: Review.
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