Daibutsu, Kamakura

Daibutsu, Kamakura
Daibutsu in Kamakura, June 2010. There were thousands of school kids visiting that day. It was still great fun.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Keanu Reeves as a samurai?

It is being reported that Keanu Reeves may become a samurai in a new movie about the famous Japanese story of the 47 Ronin.  I don't know about this choice.  Keanu was ok as a "chosen one" in the Matrix movies but I don't see him as a samurai.  Couldn't they have found a more appropriate actor then he.  

What I liked about The Last Samurai or Letters from Iwo Jima was that the Japanese characters spoke Japanese.  I can't really get into historical movies about non-English speaking figures where all the characters in the movie speak English such as the new Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie where all the Germans speak English.  I assume that Keanu does not speak Japanese so the movie will be in English.

Can anybody think of some other actors that would be more appropriate for this movie?  Below is a brief description of the 47 Ronin story.  I am currently reading a book about the 5th Tokugawa Shogun Tsunayoshi.  It was during his reign that this event occurred and the book covers it so I will write more about the 47 Ronin later.

The revenge of the Forty-seven Ronin, also known as the Forty-seven Samurai,took place in Japan at the start of the eighteenth century. The tale has been described as the country's "national legend." It recounts the most famous case involving the samurai code of honor, bushidō.

The story tells of a group of samurai who were left leaderless (became ronin) after their daimyo (feudal lord) was forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) for assaulting a court official named Kira Yoshinaka, whose title was Kōzuke no Suke. The ronin avenged their master's honor after patiently waiting and planning for over a year to kill Kira. In turn, the ronin were themselves forced to commit seppuku — as they had known they would be — for committing the crime of murder. With little embellishment, this true story was popularized in Japanese culture as emblematic of the loyalty, sacrifice, persistence, and honor that all good people should persevere in their daily lives. The popularity of the almost mythical tale was only enhanced by rapid modernization during the Meiji era of Japanese history, when many people in Japan longed for a return to their cultural roots.

11 comments:

  1. I have to say anything Keanu does is gold so I'm all for him in a samurai movie!

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  2. I'm a Keanu's fan, so I'll lap up everything even if as a samurai. :D

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  3. Thank you Jason and Lina. I suppose he is a better choice then Tom Cruise. I really did like Keanu in the Matix movies.

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  4. hmmm interesting. May have to see a trailer first and supporting actors at least to make up my mind

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  5. Me too. If it looks ok, then I will see it. I actually also enjoyed The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. Maybe this will be even better. the 47 Ronin is pretty good story.

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  6. Interesting - I actually think he'd be OK in the role. He's not exactly a versatile actor (he seems to have 2 modes of expression, scowl and sneer) and delivers pretty much everything in a deadpan monotone, but I can see that being just what is needed for a gritty tale of bushido honor...

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  7. Chris, I actually like Keanu as an actor also. But when it comes to historical movies that try and be authentic, I cent get over English speakers playing the roles of none-English speakers. For example, the new Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie where he plays a German but he and all the Germans all speak English.

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  8. Mmm.. I kind of agree with Chris. Keanu is good in a movie if he's there for eye candy but doesn't really have to "act". I'm not sure about how he'd do in this movie.

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  9. I am intrigued Melanie, not just because it is a movie about Japanese history which I have an interest in, but I am interested in how Keanu would do in this type of role. I will go see it.

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  10. Ok, Keanu as Little Buddha was one thing...and he was great in the Matrix and The Day The Earth Stood Still remake...but 47Ronin? Who would he play? There were no Americans in Japan at this time. How is that supposed to work out? I'll be curious to see how they pull this off.

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  11. Louis, Keeanu is part asian (hard to tell by looking) so I assume he would play the part of one of the main Japanese characters. He would be Japanese.

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