It's the bitterest of winters and spring seems near and yet so far. Fear not, though, there's news that will brighten your day. Suits is coming back to TV in March. The sassy, snarky people of the constantly re-named law firm that employs Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle), Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) and Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty) will be heating up your living room. Of course, the madness will all be overseen by Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres), a good, strong woman boss who more than holds her own against the supposed boys club that is Law.
With all due respect to Almost Human's Kennex and Dorian, Specter and Ross have the best bromance on TV. Macht and Adams have great banter between each other despite events that strained their professional and personal friendships in the past. This must continue this season - it's part of the glue that really holds the show together. Of course, they can get mad at each other every now and then — the show needs drama, after all. But if it drags on too long, then the show loses some of its luster.
The character whose personal change works best is Litt. At the show's beginning, he was supposed to be the firm's resident jerk and foil for Specter and Ross. As the seasons have passed, he has slowly fleshed out into a really loyal person with his own code of honor. The events in last season's finale had him learning of Ross' duplicity regarding the fact that he had never attended Harvard Law School — or any law school for any matter. This is a fact that Pearson and Specter both know, but have kept under wraps. If the old, first season Litt re-emerges, all hell could break loose. I'd actually be very sad if that happened, since Hoffman has been turning in a consistently nuanced performance straddling the line of a comedic device and real person.
The fourth season is kind of a tricky one. By all accounts, it should really be hitting its stride and firing on all cylinders, since the cast is largely comfortable with each other. Then again, it has to also push some envelopes, so as not to become stale. The problem is, if they push in the wrong direction, then things can fall apart very, very quickly and it's hard to get viewers back after missteps. But if the cast keeps its cohesiveness, then that would go a long, long way.
That said, get ready for March 6. Spring and sunshine won't be too far behind. Time to get the suits out of storage.
The genesis of Universal's 47 Ronin is almost as tragic as the actual history that the movie is culling from. As the story goes, Universal saw the sprigs of talent sprouting from fresh faced director Carl Rinsch, whose previous experience was limited to just a couple of commercials and a nifty short film. The studio decided to ease the new director into feature filmmaking by cutting him what amounts to virtually a blank check, and giving him charge over a multi-national samurai fantasy epic. Almost impossibly, the film isn't a complete disaster. It's just a minor one.
47 Ronin follows the classic story of the titular team of warriors, a group of disgraced samurai who band together to seek revenge against a merciless warlord that betrayed and killed their master. But this isn't your grandfather's version of the story. 47 Ronin is an international affair, and it's covered with a veneer of Japanese mysticism and a thick coating of Hollywood lacquer, but east meets west rather uncomfortably, and it's mostly due to Keanu Reeves. Reeves' character is clearly crowbarred into the story that has no room for him, and it's plainly obvious where the seams of the story were stretched in order to patch him into the narrative. Reeves plays Kai, a half Japanese, half English orphan who is adopted by the samurai clan. His character serves no real purpose beyond being white, slicing things until they die, and playing the male lead of the most superfluous love story of the year. Rinsch simply can't make the inclusion of the character feel organic in any way, and "Kai" ends up feeling like a calculated studio move. It's a shame that the film spends so much time on Reeves when the real star is clearly Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays off the stoic samurai most believably among the rest of the cast.
It's also shame that with all the mysticism pumped into the story, there's no magic in the actual center of the film, the ronin themselves. The only personality trait a samurai is allowed to possess seems to be unerring stoicism, and between all 47 ronin, there are probably only three distinct samurai with any discernible character traits beyond an intense need to brood, and you'll probably only remember those three by the time the credits roll, only to promptly forget about them only a few hours later. Thankfully, Rinko Kikuchi's slinky and treacherous witch adds some much needed camp and personality to the mostly forgettable human characters.
And that's the issue with 47 Ronin. It's largely forgettable. When your film takes on a historical legend like the tale of the 47 ronin, a story that has been told and told again ad nauseum over the years, you really need to justify your own version. There are reels and reels of film dedicated to this story, and 47 Ronin doesn't manage to add anything significant to the canon. It promises to weld myth and history together, but does so clumsily, and while some of the action scenes are exciting, especially a particularly inspired set piece that involves the ronin noiselessly breaking into a heavily guarded fortress, the film is a bore when it's not clanking swords together.
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47 Ronin is a film with many stories. As much as it is a tale about the revenge of four dozen masterless samurai, it's also the tale of an inexperienced filmmaker swallowed up by the enormity of blockbuster filmmaking. Most of all though, It's proof that you shouldn't cram Keanu Reeves into a movie that doesn't really need Keanu Reeves. What you're left with is a dull and bloated samurai epic that has its moments, but feels largely unnecessary.