Keanu Reeves, who has not been associated with a big Hollywood production since the Matrix trilogy, says he is pleased to return to that format with "47 Ronin," a fantasy epic set in 18th-century Japan that hits theaters in the United States on Wednesday.

"I wasn't fleeing from the studios. It just didn't happen and it's good to be back," Reeves said in an interview with Efe.

Reeves plays a "half-breed" pariah named Kai who is among a group of outcast samurai warriors who avenge their feudal lord's death. It tells of the real-life "revenge of the 47 Ronin" that took place more than 300 years ago and has spawned numerous fictionalized accounts.

The film's budget is in excess of $200 million.

Reeves, who is also known for alternative films such as "My Own Private Idaho," "Thumbsucker" and "Man of Tai Chi," his directorial debut, said he was glad to star in another blockbuster.

"I've always wanted to do independent stories and studio films. The studios give you the chance to create worlds and reach dimensions that you obviously can't reach in independent cinema," he told Efe.

"But independent films can tell less popular stories. I hope I've been able to contribute something in those not-so-popular films."

He says "47 Ronin," directed by noted visual effects maestro Carl Rinsch and featuring Japanese film stars Rinko Kikuchi (best known for her role in the Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu film "Babel") and Hiroyuki Sanada, combines both tendencies.

The film creates its own fantasy world but at the same time communicates the idea of fighting for one's place in the world and that is something "universal," Reeves said. EFE