Disappointingly, this $175million Hollywood reworking of Japan’s most celebrated tale of honour and revenge is a mostly plodding affair, notwithstanding some fantastical sword-and-sorcery flourishes and a leading role for Keanu Reeves, shoehorned into the story as a ‘half-breed’ orphan who joins the eponymous band of outcast samurai on their suicidal mission to avenge their dead master. Reeves’ restrained romance with the betrayed lord’s daughter (Ko Shibasaki) fails to quicken the pulse, but the film does liven up whenever action switches to the female villain, a wickedly seductive shape-shifting witch played by Pacific Rim star Rinko Kikuchi.
Certificate 12. Runtime 114 mins. Director Carl Rinsch.
Released on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 12th May by Universal Pictures.
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