Universal‘s sequel of 47 Ronin wrapped in Hungary today, revamping the franchise after receiving cultural criticism of the Keanu Reeves-led film. The film, Blade of The 47 Ronin, will have a fresh cast in order to emphasize on Asian fantasy heroes. The new film is set in present-day Budapest where the meeting of five Samurai clans, with some of the leaders bringing three Onna Bugeisha (‘Women Warriors’). The three meet a chilly reception before the action of the film showcases just how needed they are to these leaders.
The cast of the film is headed by Anna Akana, U.S. actress and YouTuber creator, with Teresa Ting and Mike Moh (who played Bruce Lee in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) also along for the ride. Dustin Nguyen, Chris Pang (of Crazy Rich Asians and Charlie’s Angels fame), actor and model Fukuyama Chikako, and John Wick 3 alum Mark Dacascos have also signed on to the project. A few new cast members were revealed alongside this star-studded cast, with Luna Fujimoto, Koieyama Akira (who was featured in the original film), and Nino Furuhata, who is also attached to the movie.
The ensemble was assembled by director Ron Yuan and producer Tim Kwok. Yuan discussed the previous film, specifically the cultural criticism it received, with Variety. Yuan stated how:
“We need people who know the genres, people that know the history, people that can understand how to bring these stories, make it fresh and pop off the screen. Not like those old TV shows where every time there’s an Asian theme, or an Asian character, you hear the gong going ‘ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding dang’. None of that shit anymore.”
The film was delayed due to COVID-19 concerns and was originally slated to be filmed in Thailand. As that was not an option, the filming had to take place in Hungary in order to accommodate for the pandemic. Kwok discussed how this resulted in a more modern feel for the film, stating that:
“This is a female-driven story, with our main group of heroes — Luna, Onami, Aya and Mai — fighting alongside Reo, who is a male Ronin (exiled Samurai), for the fulfilment of the prophecy. They are also fighting against ingrained prejudices of the other clans about female warriors. The story of strong females fighting against societal pressures and expectations is really timely.”
Blade of The 47 Ronin plans to be a turning point in the genre, giving it the modern upgrade that has been sorely needed as the stories of these Samurai come to our screens.