The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he's trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament - a path that puts the fighter on a collision corner with his older brother.
China is plunged into strife as feuding warlords try to expand their power by warring over neighboring lands. Fuelled by his success on the battlefield, young and arrogant Hao Jie sneers at... See full summary »
In a world with no guns, a mysterious drifter, a bartender and a young samurai plot revenge against a ruthless leader and his army of thugs, headed by nine diverse and deadly assassins. Written by
When the Drifter leaps onto the prison roof and attacks a guard, the Narrator says "Happy birthday, fucker." This line is quoted from the song "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies" by the band Faith No More. Mike Patton, who plays the Narrator, is the lead singer of Faith No More. See more »
Long before the dawn of man, strife was already a major component of life. Wherever a creature shared a piece of land with another, it was just a matter of time until a struggle for resources would ensue. Man was no different, showcasing a perverse fascination with violence. Man and civilization brought forth more innovative ways of taking human life than any other function needed for survival. There are more ways of killing a man than there are ways of making bread or making love....
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Bunraku is as difficult to describe as it is to pronounce. At its heart is a rather simple story of hero-strangers who roll into an oppressed town to start trouble with the oppressors. That familiar plot line is presented as an experimental piece of performance art that keeps you guessing as to whether or not the story will go quite as you're expecting.
If I had to describe Bunraku's presentation, I'd have to liken it to a life-size pop-up comic book being read stylishly aloud on a live stage, though with the freedom of motion and effects afforded by the medium of film.
Bunraku's story seems to merely be a vessel to deliver the style and written nuggets the filmmaker seems much more eager to get off his chest. There isn't much depth of character beyond the pop-up cutouts immediately evident, but there are those bits of dialog and narration that resonate with some philosophical wisdom you might find in an interpretation of a myth or legend.
Assuming you get used to the style, don't mind the intentionally shallow story, and don't feel the need to use the word "pretentious" that the combination of those two things plus a new filmmaker might normally conjure, you won't find much to hate about Bunraku. You'll be reasonably entertained by the constant action and colorful motion, and aside from some occasionally imperfect fight choreography, this is a well-made film.
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