I know... oh fuck it.

I know… oh fuck it.

My brother and I have an awful habit of watching absolutely horrid movies in the theater when we get together.  And so it was last night that we found ourselves in a mostly empty auditorium with Real 3D glasses strapped to our faces in anticipation of, sigh, 47 Ronin.

For the record, I am not entirely opposed to Keanu Reeves.  I absolutely loved Man of Tai Chi which he directed and starred in.  And I wouldn’t mind him as Spike Spiegel in the live action Cowboy Beebop. But I can’t figure out why he’s in this stupid thing.

This thing is pretty rad.

This thing is pretty rad.

I also can’t figure out why the studio sunk so much money into this thing.  47 Ronin cost $200 million.  Why? Where did the fucking money go? Certainly not to Keanu’s salary.  As far as Hollywood stars go, he’s the least likely to demand a stupid large pay day.  Certainly not the writers.  I don’t think they actually know a thing about the actual legend. They certainly didn’t spend money on historians or researchers or anything historical at all.  I suppose the creature design was pretty cool.  There were four creature scenes that a bunch of CG houses probably spent a lot of work on.  The virtual locations and set extensions were pretty impressive.  And the costumes were absolutely exquisit.  Buuuuuuuut that still doesn’t account for such a high price tag for such a dull ass movie.

47 Booooooooooring

The chief sin of this movie is not its vast list of historical inaccuracies.  Its fatal flaw is that it’s a total bore.  The few action scene are spaced entirely too far apart so that you almost forget you’re watching a movie about swords.  Everyone speaks ever line of dialog like it’s the. Most. Important. Thing. They. Have. Ever. Said. In. Their. Entire. Lives.  Which robs the dialog of the entire film of any import or weight.

There’s a lot of extraneous stuff in here.  The romance between Keanu and Lord Asano’s daughter lacks any real chemistry which makes it entirely difficult to connect with.  Many of the fantasy elements take away from the main plot.  Sadly, those are also the most interesting bits of the film which makes me think that maybe they needed to go even further with the fantasy stuff.

The saddest victim of waste in this movie is Rick Genest.  You may remember him from the trailers as the tattooed man with guns.

This scene isn't in the movie I watched.

This scene isn’t in the movie I watched.

There are entire posters of him in much of the 47 Ronin publicity campaign.  He’s in like one scene which doesn’t include any of the action shots from the trailer.  What the fuck?  There’s so much wasted film in this thing, you might as well extend his scenes.  I don’t know why his stuff was left on the cutting room floor, but it’s a damn shame.  Might have made those scenes in the Dutch port somewhat interesting.

Also, there needed to be more of Lord Kira’s giant warrior.

This guy is totally badass and underused.

This guy is totally badass and underused.

The Great White Token

I complain a lot when minority characters are used as tokens.  If there is a single Asian character in a majority white cast, their Asianess is their justification for inclusion in the film.  Either they’re a martial artists or some tech wizard or some former Yakuza.  It kind of surprised me to see this, but in this instance, Keanus is the token.  His whiteness is the entire reason he’s there.

I really love Tengu man's design.

Tengu man is tired of your shit.

You see, the ronin can’t defeat Kira on their own.  Kira has the witch, Mizuki played by Rinko Kikuchi, who can poison men and defeat entire armies.  The 47 need someone on their side who can fight the demons.  Which is where Keanu comes in.  Since he’s half white and an outcast, everyone calls him a demon or a half breed.  As it turns out, he actually is a sort of demon.  He was taken in by the tengu of the forest when his mother abandoned him because he was a horrid half breed.  They taught him their demon ways so now he can do things no normal human can.

The really sad part, though, is that if you cut his scenes out of this thing, you’d still have a pretty solid movie.  Even though the movie makes every effort to convince you that the 47 need Keanu’s tengu powers to defeat Kira, his character is completely extraneous.  The 47 would have succeeded on their own without Keanu’s help.  Sure, it would have been a little more difficult to fight off the dragon lady, but I think they would have eventually done it.

More Creatures! More Dragons! More ANYTHING INTERESTING!

I don’t believe I’m saying this because it offended me so that they’re using the title of the actual legend, but I kind of wish they pushed the fantasy angle way more than they did.  By making it so subtle, Keanu’s character never felt fully integrated into the narrative of the damn thing.  More demon fights would have also helped to keep my interest.

Mako Mori as a literal dragon lady is actually fucking rad.

Mako Mori as a literal dragon lady is actually fucking rad.

As long and as boring as it is, we surprisingly don’t get a lot of character development from anyone.  We see very little growth from our heroes which makes it difficult to get emotionally attached to any of them.  The romance angle feels forced and you can only get so far with a revenge story.  Lots of things going on but none of it very focused.

If you want to see a movie with samurai doing samurai things, there’s an entire Akira Kurosawa library of films to go through.  He did way more with way less.  Universal should feel embarrassed for dumping so much money into this thing.  Ran is waaaaay longer than 47 Ronin but hardly feels boring even with the camera locked down on that shot of Hidetora Ichimonji slowly walking out of a burning castle.  If you’re looking for a fantasy movie with lots of creatures and dragons, well shit, there’s a Hobbit waiting for you.  If you’re looking for both samurai action and demons, there’s nothing in the theaters for you.  47 Ronin fails to deliver on both the fantasy and reality fronts making for a totally boring experience at the theater.


It’s the Ask A Slave Christmas Special!  Man, even during the holidays, the lack of empathy that some people have is truly astounding.

I’ve been tickled to death watching how far Ask A Slave has spread and how much the show has resonated with people.  Azie’s biting satire expertly gets her point across without beating viewers over the head with her message.  Her writing is smart and sophisticated and ready for prime time.


Chou Henshin!

Chou Henshin!

Kamen Rider Kuuga is one of my favorite Riders so I thought I’d make a little thing paying tribute to all of his forms.  I loved that each form had a unique fighting style.  Form changes are sort of par for the course in the Heisei era, but other than a color and armor change, it can be tough to figure exactly why the Rider made the transformation.  With Kuuga, there was no question.

If you’re as big a Kuuga fan as I am, you can pick up a print or poster over at my Red Bubble or Society 6 stores.  One of these days, I’m gonna track down that DX Arcle belt!  It’s so badass!


Since we did the 21 questions Asian People are sick of answering, I thought it’d be fun to come up with 21 questions Asian People would LOOOOOOVE to answer. So here goes (feel free to answer along with me even if you’re not Asian):

21. How was your weekend?
20. How do you like your steak?
19. Do you know a good place to get ribs?
18. What do you like on your pizza?
17. Do you have any dietary restrictions?
16. Why do all ringtones suck?
15. Would you ever cosplay?
14. Are you a cat or dog person?
13. Would you ever get a tattoo? And if so, what would it be?
12. What was the last video game you played?
11. What webcomics are you reading?
10. Do you fondu?
09. Is CM Punk really the best in the world?
08. Do you like watching movies in the theater?
07. Godzilla vs King Kong, who wins?
06. Are you sick of people asking if your life was like the Joy Luck Club?
05. What was so bad about the live action Last Airbender movie, really?
04. Why do so many films fail the Bechdel test?
03. Why is it okay to show extreme acts of violence on television but completely taboo to show sex or nudity?
02. How will you introduce your daughter to Star Wars?
01. What’s it like being so awesome?


On its surface, Edge of Tomorrow looks like a fun little action flick.  Certainly looks a hell of a lot better than Tom Cruise’s last foray in the fiction of science, Oblivion.  I also quite like Emily Blunt.  Using the Groundhog Day mechanic to learn how to become a badass weapon is probably one of the best things you could do when the fate of our world is at stake.

So why has this film appeared on my list of things to nerd rage over?

Well it turns out that this is based on a Japanese light novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka entitled All You Need Is Kill.  From the synopsis:

When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally–the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji’s escape or his final death?

Sooooo as much as I dislike the trend of Hollywood White Washing Japanese things, I will give this movie some credit.  Unlike the Americanized live action Akira film which I pray never makes it to screen in my lifetime, they’ve come up with a new title and have renamed the characters.  If AZM Ally Derek Jeffers had never pointed out the basis for the film, I would have never known.  I would have been slightly dismayed that there seemed to be no minorities in the trailer, but I would have had no idea.

I’ve got mixed feelings on this.  I really hope Sakurazaka gets a nice big royalty from the movie rights.  I’m dismayed that Hollywood is mining Asian fiction for ideas rather than tapping some home grown talent.  There are plenty of amazing ideas right here at home that aren’t getting a chance.  But then again, without this trend, we wouldn’t have this amazing Godzilla film to look forward to.

Thanks to AZM Ally Derek Jeffers for the heads up.