Based on a Japanese folk legend that echoes the tale of Robin Hood, this ninja thriller follows the exploits of Goemon Ishikawa (Yôsuke Eguchi), who leaves his fighting clan after its chief... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Yôsuke Eguchi ...
Takao Ohsawa ...
Ryôko Hirosue ...
Chacha Asai
Jun Kaname ...
Gori ...
Mikijirô Hira ...
Rikyu Sen
Masatô Ibu ...
Tetsuji Tamayama ...
Hashinosuke Nakamura ...
Eiji Okuda ...
Choi Hong Man ...
Susumu Terajima ...
Eriko Satô ...
Courtesan Yoshino
Erika Toda ...
Courtesan Yukiri
Mayu Tsuruta ...
Koheita's mother


Based on a Japanese folk legend that echoes the tale of Robin Hood, this ninja thriller follows the exploits of Goemon Ishikawa (Yôsuke Eguchi), who leaves his fighting clan after its chief is murdered and uses his skills as a thief to help the poor. But after learning the identity of his leader's killer - the traitorous Hideyoshi (Eiji Okuda) - Goemon sets out on a bloody path of vengeance, joined by his loyal friend, Saizo (Takao Ôsawa). Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama


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Release Date:

1 May 2009 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Legend of Goemon  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Lyrics and composed by Yoshiki
Performed by Violet UK
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User Reviews

Kiriya makes another epic doomed to be misunderstood
7 November 2009 | by (Japan) – See all my reviews

It was the same with Casshern and it will be the same with Goemon. At this moment, the film hasn't gotten as much exposure in the West but needless to say, when it does, the film community will be awash with disappointment and confusion. Why? I think it has a lot to do with the role of CGI in film today. Being largely the domain of larger Hollywood studios, the technology has been used as a means of replacing reality, emulating it to the point of near transparency. Jurrassic Park was one the first films to show that such a goal was even possible and effects have progressed so much further since then.

It therefore are that a Hollywood films attempt to use CGI for enhancing reality or making an entirely new reality of their own. Sin City was made outside of the studio system and perhaps that is why it was made at all. 300 was a valiant attempt as well at using CGI to create the actual fantastical. On the other side of the coin, Lord of the Rings, though amazing for its depiction of monsters and creatures of the imagination, ultimately had the purpose of bring THEM into OUR world.

GOEMON, like Casshern, is an attempt to bring us into another world, similar to our own but in so many ways, different. The effects and design serve the purpose of creating an unreality of enhanced surreality, mimicking the pages of comic books and the frames of animation. Visually, it was never intended to fool the eye or make the fantastical 'real'. Like its predecessor, it had loftier, more artistic goals. The question is, did the film reach them? In many ways it did, but in many, it fell short. In the running time of story, there is certainly no lack of sumptuous composition and stunning colour. The action is hyperactive and generally defies the rules of the real world, though they make total sense in the scheme of Goemon's. The sheer audacity of the large scale battles, especially in the last quarter, makes the viewer simultaneously bewildered and amazed. You have never seen this before outside of the imagination and the boundless universe of pen and paper. No Hollywood film would dare do it.

And that is the film's dual strength and weakness. What it does is alien to a majority of film fans bred on Hollywood's particular brand. They have been fed so much in the way of safe challenges and formulaic product, that their first instinct is to rebel against any films cutting against the grain. The beauty of GOEMON is that it isn't a Hollywood picture and therefore doesn't need to apply itself to pleasing a conservative demographic who are otherwise unable to accept what the film ultimately creates.

That is not to say that it doesn't follow clichés and formulas of its own origin, but the presentation is fresh and eccentric enough to counter them. The whole is entirely a product of Japan. It reflects the culture's own eclectic, modern tastes while also preserving a filtered rendition of the old. It both revises and reinforces its subject matter, forming it into something that is Japan and at the same time, is not. It doesn't matter that most of the story never really happened. The vitality of the film is its lust for a life of its own and, its characters, while largely archetypal, serve the mythic aspects the story perfectly, because that is what myths are made of.

GOEMON is a film that shouldn't be weighed against standards set outside its context. It is a film trying to shed the limitations forced upon it by a conservative industry and consuming public. It is a myth, a comic book, a video game, an animation, and an epic drama; it is a lush and inspirational 'other world' and doesn't need to be constrained by our own. Films should not need to succumb to our ingrained demand for adherence to our reality. Go into the film with this in mind, and your imagination will be enriched by it. Be unable to let those strictures go, and I think that sadly, you will miss out.

41 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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