The story of a a young man who has spent his life searching for revenge only to find himself up against a bigger challenge than he originally bargained for.The story of a a young man who has spent his life searching for revenge only to find himself up against a bigger challenge than he originally bargained for.The story of a a young man who has spent his life searching for revenge only to find himself up against a bigger challenge than he originally bargained for.
Pretty, empty and pretty empty
This movie had a promising pedigree, a great cast and interesting if a bit obvious art direction yet I couldn't connect with anything happening on the screen. The point was obviously to mix cliches of eastern and western and present the whole melange in a unique look that could have worked in the hands of a better filmmaker or as an animated movie. I was on board for the first 5 minutes of the film. The prologue was very charming and made me curious for what was to come. Some may find the premise too ridiculous to believe but I'm perfectly fine with a fantasy setting writing its own rules. The main problem is that set design, however pleasing to the eye, does not make a movie and the movie doesn't deliver anything beyond that. There is no tension to the action scenes that lack weight and impact and I don't find any of the cast relatable or interesting. Dialogue is very artificial which is probably intentional, but it seems like the creators of bunraku were too focused on making the movie look stylish to notice that none of it means anything. What is oddly lacking in style for the most part is ironically the cinematography itself. The movie moves in very predictable and uninspired ways. Occasionally there are some shots that work as a comic book panel and/or look cool but do not necessarily work as a scene or connect to the rest of the movie. Film has a very specific language to it that is different from comics, videogames and the theatre. It is rather deceitful in many ways. You have to take your audience by the eye and guide it through your film. A picture says more than a thousand words and the pictures in Bunraku only tell me some very talented people didn't get their hard work presented in the most flattering way. Copying the aspects of other art forms and applying them to cinema as an experiment can be intriguing but you have to go all the way. If you get caught right in the middle of the road you fail. The fact that I even noticed the lacking cinematography should tell you something about how unengaged I was throughout the entire movie. If all you want to do is style over substance, fine. Not everything has to be deep, wordy and literal. Some of the most intriguing films, especially in animation, would work solely as visual experiences without dialogue of any kind. If you find language clumsy, be visceral. Hong Kong action has that down without any pretense of being art. If you do go for style only though, you really have to deliver.
- Feb 14, 2018
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