Playing this week: Samurai, soldier, and dino adventures

Bring on the popcorn! '47 Ronin,' 'Lone Survivor,' and 'Walking with Dinosaurs' are showing this week

Graphic by Mara Mercado

MANILA, Philippines  After a two-week blackout of foreign films for the annual Metro Manila Film Festival, fantasy, action, and family fun welcome viewers back to Hollywood.

Here are the new attractions in cinemas starting January 8:

47 Ronin

“The legend of 47 warriors who seized eternity,” so goes the trailer of Keanu Reeves’ latest action fantasy flick 47 Ronin. 

The film is loosely based on the real-life story of 47 master-less samurai (ronin) who avenged their master’s murder and their banishment. It follows exiled outcast Kai (Reeves), who becomes the deadliest weapon of the very samurai who once shunned him. 

Not to be mistaken as a remake of 1941 Japanese historical film The 47 Ronin, the American version dabbles more on elements of magic, witchcraft, and mythic beasts, set against lush landscapes and epic battles.

Despite the grandeur of the production, the film has so far earned less than stellar reviews. As of writing, the film earned an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 3.4/5 audience rating. Likewise, a review on pointed out several flaws in the interpretation of the legend, but said the film could have been both “stupid and awesome” had filmmakers tried more.

Watch the trailer here:

Lone Survivor

The Lone Survivor, a war film based on a non-fiction memoir by Patrick Robinson and Marcus Luttrell, narrates a soldier’s acount of what is dubbed as one of the deadliest military disasters of the 12-year Afghan war.

The film focuses on a failed Navy SEAL operation targeting an Islamist fighter, where 19 American soldiers perished. Co-author Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) was the only Navy SEAL to survive the raid in 2005.

Some critics have questioned the film’s authenticity, noting that the account failed to challenge the merits of the war and that some depictions of personalities were inaccurate.

Writer and director Peter Berg, however, has said that he is proud of his film. 

The film was branded “fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes with a 71% rating, saying the film’s “visceral power” compensates for its flaws. Variety offers a detailed look into the narrative, noting that while the violence and carnage seem ceaseless and mindnumbing, it ultimately leads to a “cathartic and surprising conclusion.”

Watch the trailer here:

Walking with Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs were perhaps an integral part of every ’80s and ’90s kid’s childhood. Animated film Land Before Time and TV series Dinosaurs depicted dinos in a softer, more cutesy manner, while the Jurassic Park films were hits for the older demographic.

This year, the dinos are back in animated feature Walking With Dinosaurs, a big screen adaptation of BBC’s 1999 documentary mini-series of the same name. The story traces the adventures of Patchi (voiced by Justin Long), a rhinoceros-like dinosaur who, from being a vulnerable hatchling, grows into a herd leader and a hero.

Walking with Dinosaurs was shot on location in Alaska and New Zealand, which served as the backdrop for the computer-generated dinos.

Despite the film’s $85 million budget, Rotten Tomatoes dubbed it rotten with 26%. Only 43% of over 14,000 viewers liked it. According to Screen Rant, the excessive commentary and narration coupled with the lack of plot and character development, made for a better museum documentary than a theatrical feature.

Watch the trailer here: 

Still playing:

  • The Legend of Hercules
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy
  • My Little Bossings

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