Well, in the case of “47 Ronin,” I would say that is the punchline, but I can’t because I never saw it so that wouldn’t be very fair on my part. Having read the book ages ago, I was excited when I heard the title was being made into a movie, but as soon as the trailer showed a dragon, I was out. I get that a good portion of the book itself (a bunch of masterless samurai hanging out and waiting……), is not exactly “edge of your seat” material to work with. However, I think a good screenwriter and/or filmmaker could have made use of Kyoto’s beautiful scenery (with a little extra action thrown in), and come up with a good movie without f…..ing dragons. Hey, but for all I know, it’s a wonderful film.
In the case of Tom Cruise, I enjoyed “The Last Samurai,” because it exhibited three of my favorite traits in good historical fiction:
- Although the movie storyline itself wasn’t real, many of the films narratives were occurring in Japan on or about that time. (I’m pretty sure there weren’t any American Civil War veterans fighting with Saigo Takamori in the Satsuma Rebellion, but the Satsuma Rebellion did occur and there were plenty of foreign advisors trying to muscle into Japan’s arms market during the Meiji Era.)
- The movie takes you into another culture (sure its a little cliche and a little cheesy), but I still enjoyed it.
- Lots of action.
If you’re interested in a twist on Westerners going to Asia to rescue Asians, you might like my book. My book is like “The Last Samurai,” but in reverse. This time the Asian travels to England to help an Englishman. Kind of like the old TV series “Kung Fu.” My novel also tries to stick closely to the enumerated points above (with less cheesiness).
As for Matt Damon and his dragons at the Great Wall of China? It looks like a crap-fest, so I’ll let my friends go see it first. If they tell me it’s good, maybe I’ll rent it when it hits Redbox.