Blade of the 47 Ronin (2022) Review
Who would have thought we would be seeing a sequel to 47 Ronin among all of the Halloween goodies? But sure enough, Universal 1440 Entertainment, the company’s direct-to-video department, has come up with Blade of the 47 Ronin, a modern-day sequel to the Keanu Reeves samurai epic. And they said there’s no such thing as The Great Pumpkin.
Somewhere in Budapest Yurei (Dan Southworth, The Doorman, Battle Drone) kills Arai (Chris Pang, Fist of the Dragon, Tomorrow When the War Began) thought to be the last in the bloodline of those who wielded the Blade of the 47 Ronin. But as he kills him, he senses the existence of another heir.
As the other clans argue over what to do about the sword and the prophecy attached to it, Onami (Teresa Ting, Don Peyote, She Has A Name) one of Lord Shinshiro’s (Mark Dacascos, Run & Gun, One Night in Bangkok) onna-bugeisha reaches out to Reo (Mike Moh, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Killerman).
A skilled tracker, he once served Shinshiro but is now a ronin. He finds out the sword is in the hands of Luna (Anna Akana, Amphibia, Big City Greens) a young American woman with a shady past and a very uncertain future.
Blade of the 47 Ronin was directed by Ron Yuan (Ron Yuan, Unspoken: Diary of an Assassin, Step Up China) a veteran actor with over a hundred and seventy credits to his name ranging from Ring of Fire to Mulan and Mortal Kombat Legends: Snow Blind. And while shooting all of them, he paid attention and learned how to shoot an action scene.
The script, which took three writers, Aimee Garcia, A.J. Mendez, and John Swetnam (Into the Storm, Breaking Through) gives him plenty of chances to stage them while giving the cast lines like “You’re just going to leave a beheaded dude on the ground?” But apart from that, it’s a fairly typical East meets West action film with some fantasy elements thrown in involving the fusing of the Blade of 47 Ronin with the Witch Blade to create a Tengu Blade.
What this all means is that Luna has five days to become a master swordswoman and kill Yurei who is the last descendent of the witch who crafted the Witch Blade. If not, he’ll kill her and wipe out the samurai. It’s actually closer to John Frankenheimer’s The Challenge than the film it’s supposed to be a sequel to.
Being from Universal’s low-budget department means that Dacascos makes his exit about halfway through the film. Although with it running an hour and forty-five minutes, he’s around for longer than I thought. However, it also means we get an extended training session, taking up much of the film’s midsection, rather than actual fighting
The last act makes up for it though with a couple of twists and double-crosses, as well as a lot of sword fighting and bloodshed. Unfortunately, much of that blood is CGI, and what should have been a highlight, someone split in half with a katana, is ruined by the poor CGI.
While it is a cheap cash-in and sequel in name only, Blade of the 47 Ronin is a perfectly acceptable action film in its own right. There are plenty of fights, and Dacascos gets to join in a few of them before taking his leave.
Blade of the 47 Ronin will be available on Blu-ray and DVD as well as VOD and Digital platforms on October 25th from Universal Home Entertainment. You can check their website for more information. It’s also available on Netflix. You can also check FilmTagger for more suggestions for similar films than you can shake a sword at,
There isn’t a proper trailer, but Universal has made a ten-minute preview available.