20 user 22 critic

Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle (2000)

Gojô reisenki: Gojoe (original title)
1:09 | Trailer
Benkei, a master fighter and killer, vows never to take another life after his conversion to Buddhism. His faith in pacifism, however, is shaken and ultimately broken by the attacks from a ... See full summary »


Gakuryû Ishii (as Sogo Ishii)


Gakuryû Ishii (as Sogo Ishii), Goro Nakajima
3 wins. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Tadanobu Asano ... Shanao
Masatoshi Nagase ... Tetsukichi
Daisuke Ryû ... Benkei
Masakatsu Funaki Masakatsu Funaki ... Tankai
Jun Kunimura ... Suzaku-hougan
Urara Awata Urara Awata ... Asagiri
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wui-Sin Chong Wui-Sin Chong ... Shoshinbo
Shunsuke Gondo Shunsuke Gondo ... Heike warrior (as Syunsuke Gondo)
Takahito Hosoyamada Takahito Hosoyamada ... Keshimaru (as Takato Hosoyamada)
Hiroshi Inoue Hiroshi Inoue ... Puppeteer
Toshihiro Isomi Toshihiro Isomi ... Minamoto no Yoshitomo
Ryô Kase ... Kamuro
Ittoku Kishibe Ittoku Kishibe ... Taira no Tadanori
Dave Mallow ... Tankai (voice)
Naruki Matsukawa Naruki Matsukawa


Benkei, a master fighter and killer, vows never to take another life after his conversion to Buddhism. His faith in pacifism, however, is shaken and ultimately broken by the attacks from a trio of fighters known only as "the demons". Taking up his sword once more, he sets out to end their murderous terror. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | History


See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Total on-screen body count is 300+, making this the most violent Japanese movie to date. See more »


[Before the final attack]
Benkei: Now I'll show you the fury of a real demon!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Most festival prints are missing over 40 minutes of footage. Most of the political subplots were removed. See more »

User Reviews

Excellent cinematography, uninvolving story
17 July 2001 | by christian94See all my reviews

This story is set in 12th century Japan and shows the fight of a non-violent monk against a demon protector of the Gojoe bridge. As far as story goes, this one is not very interesting. At no point in the movie do you actually care what will happen next. The pace is slow, which is successful at times, but feel overly drawn out for the majority of the picture.

The fighting scenes are not very well choreographed and are truly long and boring with the exception of the finale one. The effortlessness in which the demon slays its victims should have been shown with a few well placed kill instead of a continuous uninteresting, placid bloodbath. It is said that the demon wants to kill a thousand souls, and the director seemingly tried to show us at least a few hundred kills. I think this was a mistake.

As much as the story fails to convey anything substantial, the cinematographic work of Makoto Watanabe is some of the best footage I have seen in a while, who exploits some interesting visual technics and has an amazing grasp of the power of colors. It also serves to create some distinct moods that can be relatively suggestive and involving. In particular, I am thinking here of a scene in which Benkei finds a poor soul on a beach who wants to set himself ablaze. Numerous innovative compositions were also well used by director Sogo Ishii who seems to be given his cinematographer some creative leeway. Unfortunately, the director cannot direct the rest of this mediocre story to anything substantial. The real star here is Watanabe who proves to be an ingenious director of photography and explores the art more than your average DOP. If you like artistic cinematography, I suggest you endure the tedious story (put mute if you want) and enjoy some excellent footage.

7 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 20 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

7 October 2000 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital


See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed