Review Monday: Bunraku

I'm still working on reviews for two other writing stuff, Yarny and Liquid Story Binder, so they'll have to wait until next week. So instead I thought I'd review a movie :) I'll try not to spoil too much, because you really should see it :)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, GACKT, Woody Harrelson, Ron Perlman, Kevin McKidd. Also features Demi Moore.

Rating: R

Summary: In a world without guns, a mysterious drifter (Hartnett), a young samurai (GACKT) and a bartender (Harrelson) find themselves working together to overthrow the ruthless leader who controls the town (Perlman) and his Red Suit army.

My Thoughts:
First, for all the hype the company behind this movie gave it, it was completely underpromoted. Not a lot of effort was put into trying to promote this to the public which I think did the movie a huge disservice.

Bunraku's not your typical movie. Set in similar style to movies like Sin City and Kill Bill, it's a very different ride. Director Guy Moshe draws heavy inspiration from origami and bunraku, which is an old Japanese style of puppetry. It's bright and colourful and doesn't always takes itself seriously, which makes it rather fun. The storyline is rather good, the fight scenes are spectacular and the acting's superb. I've never been a fan of Josh Hartnett and I don't tend to go out of my way to see his movies but I really enjoyed him in this one. Ron Perlman is not your typical bad guy, doesn't encompass the "evil" archtype as much as you might expect. Woody Harrelson's character in the bartender is the wise guide helping the two protagonists along and sometimes is very much a father figure. Kevin McKidd, as Killer No. 2, IS your typical bad ass and embodies it well. With a rather stylish form of fighting more reminiscent of dancing than combat. And GACKT, even if you've never heard of him or think him just a singer, he's going to surprise you. For these guys alone, the movie's worth checking out.

Demi Moore's character of Alexandra is unfortunately kind of a useless character. Moshe, who also wrote the script, could have easily written the same story without her character. She plays her part well, it's just a shame that Alexandra doesn't have a more firm anchor in this story as she could have.

Yes, it does have a few shortcomings. In many ways the story showed a lot of potential that Moshe didn't quite reach. For example Alexandra's relation to the bartender could have been better developed. Their whole time in this movie especially at the end seemed kind of anti-climatic. The movie is also a little over-narrated; I'm not opposed to movies with narrators, unfortunately Moshe used the narrator to tell just a little too much of the story, instead of the characters. I would have eliminated it entirely, or at least kept it to the beginning and the end. But despite those things I really loved this movie. Visually the movie is stunning and unique like a blend of stage and movie. The fight scenes are well choreographed and entertaining to watch. There are no slow or dull moments in this movie, no lulls in action or dialogue as Moshe has set a very good pace between action and acting. And everyone's acting in this movie is supurb. It's hard to go into much more description without spoiling the movie itself, but please definitely pick this up and check it out. You won't be disappointed!

Bunraku can be ordered from, or buy it at Wal-Mart. Bunraku hits theatres in Japan January 2012.



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