Let’s get this out of the way right now.
Keanu is not Japanese. He is, apparently, a whole lot of other things; Hawaiian, Chinese (1/32 or 1/64th, the account varies, even within the same website). English, Portuguese.
He was born in Lebanon, has citizenship in Canada and is often seen moping around NYC, but he is not Japanese. To delve deeper into his lineage would require knowledge of calculus and alchemy, neither of which I have.
Right now, I’m trying to figure out if it matters. I mean, this movie is his brainchild. Hatched as he trained for the kung fu scenes in the Matrix, and cultivated over years of raw angst and introspection, this is his vision.
And while it is based on the legend of the 47 Ronin- a revenge plot that came to personify the loyalty between a samurai and his master – this is version is uniquely his. If the trailer is any indication, this is a fantasy of almost Gilliamesque proportions.
So, if someone re-imagines a tale from another culture, can he then insert himself into the lead role? I can’t answer that.
The Last Samurai comes to mind. Tom Cruise, a drunk civil war soldier, travels Japan to teach them modern war tactics. He falls in with the guerrilla fighters, gets beat up, turned out by a widow and comes out the other side able to best even experienced samurai with his expert use of the sword. It was implausible. Cringeworthy. And I enjoyed it. It is the definition of a guilty pleasure.
Only time will tell if this move becomes my next guilty pleasure, but it has some seriously cool stuff going on. The gunslinger with the full body bones tattoo… the bruiser with the meteor chain… the little kid in me just stomped his feet out of sheer cool overload.
He is called half-breed, which sort of explains why he is so… white looking. Now, at :49, he asks his fellow ronin, “Why did you come for me.” If the move can come up with a plausible answer to that question then it may transcend guilty pleasure status.
It comes out in December. I’ll be there.