The sequel to 2013’s 47 Ronin has now begun production. The original 47 Ronin starred Keanu Reeves as a half-English, half-Japanese samurai, who sets out to avenge his father’s death. It was directed by Carl Rinsch and was a remake of the 1941 Japanese film, The 47 Ronin, directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, which was based on the historical Akō incident.
The film, which was released on Christmas of 2013 is anything but memorable. It was panned by both critics and audiences alike and bombed at both the U.S. and Japanese box offices. Overall, audiences felt that the movie was dull. After all, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Anchorman 2, American Hustle, and The Wolf of Wall Street were all playing in theaters when 47 Ronin came out. Plus, audiences felt that the film’s leading star had not been a compelling actor since his time in The Matrix. However, despite all the negative press, Universal announced a sequel to 47 Ronin back in 2020.
Per Universal, principal photography is already underway in Budapest. The sequel, which is being produced by Universal 1440 and distributed by Netflix, will star Anna Akana (Netflix’s Jupiter’s Legacy and Luis’ writer friend in Ant-Man) and Mark Dacascos (Mani in Brotherhood of the Wolf and Zero in John Wick: Chapter 3– Parabellum). It will also be directed by Ron Yuan (Sergeant Qiang in Disney’s Mulan remake and Hing in The Paper Tigers). The Executive Vice President and General Manager of Universal 1440 Entertainment had this to say about the new film:
“We are excited to continue the story of these ancient Japanese samurai warriors with this next chapter of the47 Ronin film franchise set in modern times. This all-new production features some of today’s most talented international action stars. We think fans worldwide will be thrilled with director Ron Yuan’s vision of diverse and inclusive samurai warriors.”
The sequel noticeably does not have Reeves in the principal cast. When the 47 Ronin came out, Reeves was not a box-office lure, as evidenced by the numbers. However, 47 Ronin came out 10 months before Reeves saw a renaissance in his career with the popular John Wick films. Since John Wick, Reeves has enjoyed his time in the spotlight with two additional sequels in that franchise, as well as starring in Toy Story 4, Cyberpunk 2077, Bill and Ted: Face the Music, and the upcoming The Matrix Resurrections, which Reeves has suggested is more fun than the original trilogy.
While the film will stream on Netflix, losing Reeves could be a major detriment to 47 Ronin sequel. He was not a box-office draw at the time of the first film’s release unlike his role in John Wick. So, not having him in the sequel and capitalizing on his post-John Wick success will most likely hurt the film and prevent it from gaining a following. On top of that, it is not necessarily connecting to the original story, which ended with the Ronin committing seppuku. So, the 47 Ronin sequel will most likely have little or no connection to the original, and it lost the one person who could generate interest around the film, which puts it in the position to possibly fail worse than its predecessor.
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Author: Caleb Schmidt