|Image from datapremiery.pl|
Annoyingly the evening showings were only in 3D - of which, there was very little within the film itself - and I can't help but feel that cinemas and the film industry are taking advantage of cinema goers by restricting '2D' viewings to times which are not always watcher friendly, plus the evening films are much busier in terms of viewing figures. Great revenue for them, but what about us poor folks who rather not see a film in 3D and have to pay the extra money for the pleasure?
Anyway, to the film - beforehand there seems to be two camps of viewer having seen this film: those who hate it, and those who love it. No middle ground it appears?
For me, it was a little slow in the beginning, taking the slow build up that always seems to be associated with films concerning feudal Japan and the subject of the Samurai. It did lack the sweeping, glorious vistas of Japan's varied landscapes, and seemed to lack cohesion. And I think this is where the film divides its viewing audience. From the trailer you expect to be treated to an all-out fantasy, action-packed story, but no. The trailer shows all the 'best bits' in terms of fantasy-styled action - sorry.
But if you loved 'The Last Samurai', or 'Seven Samurai' then you will most likely enjoy this film, as I did, though I was still a tad disappointed overall. As for Mr Reeves' performance, it was, I would say, a mix of his Constantine character and his Neo character from the last film in the Matrix trilogy. Not a bad performance. His fight scenes were fluid and very well choreographed, and his Matrix martial arts training has come to good use. The rest of the cast are equally good within their roles, but I would have liked to have seen the villains of the film put to more use, especially the main protagonist's 'go-to henchman'; a ripe baddie never used to their full potential. Shame.
Not a film for those who love the all-out-action-fest, but more towards the slow boil film fan.
*EDIT: After reconsidering my initial impressions and reading further 'reviews', I would have to suggest, save your money and wait for the DVD, as my good friend Jeremy has already stated below in the comments.*
What is interesting is that the film is loosely based on actual events within Japan's feudal history, where 47 masterless Samurai - referred to as 'ronin', took it upon themselves to avenge their Lord's death. Even today, people from all over the world travel to Japan to visit the graves of these 47 brave and valiant ronin.
If I had to score this film out of 10, I would have to give it a 5 - average/good, but could have been so much better.