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Good, not the best
thijs_de_beste12 September 2011
After seeing the relatively low rating on this movie I decided to just give it a go without expecting too much.

Boy was I wrong! One of the most compelling intros I've seen this year, with humor, fast paced storytelling and very, very stylishly done, what's not to like? Well: the story is fast but not so much original. The action is good but didn't quite blow me off my chair. Woody Harrelson is fun, but this role seems to be typecast for him, don't expect too much out of the ordinary. Harnett pretty much copies the role he had in Lucky number Slevin. Gackt makes his debut I think and does so convincingly.

Should you see this movie? Yes! It's beautifully made, switches visual styles, languages and mood a lot and does so convincingly. Just don't expect to many surprises from the writing department. 8/10
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A Movie well worth the effort
kamikaze_al13 September 2011
I must say at least to all the viewers who expect something else from this movie, you really need to understand what Bunraku is. It's a one word title. That itself tells you what to expect from the movie. With the amazing star-cast, each one does justice to his little role with ease. The script is not demanding so the acting is sombre in accordance with the characters. I really did not know what to expect from this movie and truthfully had to look up the meaning of Bunraku in the end of the film. I was awed with the direction, it takes some really amazing talent to put a script like this on film and gt it interesting. For every penny worth, if I were 10 yeas old, I'd love the movie, I'm 35 now and love it even more. Starting from Pac-Man up to Afro Samurai and from the Wild west to Shichinin no samurai, the Script Writer and Director have left no stone unturned. The movie is very very aesthetically pleasing in context to the title. I remember as kids when we had the pop-up story books, I couldn't have imagined anything better than this movie in my head. The movie may not be for everyone...... But for people who can appreciate the difference from run of the mill animation and Tarantino like action, here a movie worth watching a few times.
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Badass Modern Ultraviolence.
meddlecore20 September 2010
Mortal Kombat meets The Warriors meets Clockwork Orange meets Kung Fu Hustle in this East meets West film.

It's the future in "Little Westworld" (an ode to the amazing 1973 film) which is actually an "East-Meets-West-World", stylistically speaking. To prevent utter destruction by Men, guns have been outlawed and society has reverted to the sword....and, well... axes, hatchets, brass knuckles and extremely acrobatic Kung Fu. There is no longer any government, Gangs rule an Ultraviolent Warrior Society where you must KILL your way to the top. Little Westworld is controlled by Nicola the Woodcutter (Pearlman) and his Gang of Killers (of which there is a hierarchy of 10, himself being Killer #1). They keep order by having their henchman- the Red Suits (led by Killer #2, played amazingly by Kevin McKidd)- violently extort the general public, ruling by Fear.

Enter our two lone wolf characters. The Man With No Name (Hartnett) and Yoshi, the Jin Samurai (Gackt- who received more applause than all the other A-list actors at the TIFF Premiere). The Man is a vicious fighter known for having the quickest hands in the west; whose strength and rage is exposed when he sniffs an unlit cigarette. He has no goals or direction, he's just a drifter who wandered into town looking for a game of cards (gambling is banned by the way)- a lone man in a land of ultraviolent gangs. Yoshi is a young Samurai from the East who has been sent on "The Quest" by his father. His mission is to find and retrieve a Dragon Amulet that represents great power for his family...and while he's at it...to become a man.

Seeking information, both men end up in a small bar (with a sort of western/clockwork orange theme), of which is tended by Woody Harrelson- The Bartender, who has a knack for making Pop-Up books. After each individually beats down the biker gang that frequents the bar, their paths cross and the two lone wolves turn eyes toward each other. To get their issues with each other out of the way, The Bartender agrees to moderate an epic atmospheric battle where the two warriors stylistically beat the sh*t out of each other. (fight scene was a bit drawn out for my taste)

The plot develops as The Man is able to gain access to Nicola's weekly poker game. Nicola plays in costume via video link, and despite being cheated, The Man is able to knock out all the other players and obtain a significant chip advantage. Angered, Nicola demands to end the game face to face...if The Man can continue to "beat the odds", that is... Subsequently, Yoshi's Uncle- who runs a sushi restaurant- is being harassed by the Red Suits, and Yoshi's intervention puts him at odds with Killer #2. Things happen, battles ensue, people die, and our two lone wolves realize that they have a common enemy and, thus, could benefit from each others' friendship.

During the poker game, The Man realizes that Nicola has the Amulet that Yoshi seeks. The Man, on the other hand, simply wishes to end the game he started earlier. Throw The Bartender into the mix- as Nicola ended his Warrior career and be-whored the love of his life, Alexandra (Demi Moore)- along with the soldiers of the Proletariat Peasant Uprising- who seek to overthrow Nicola's violent and oppressive rule (their leader looks like Castro!)- and you have a force that is able to take on even the Killers and their army of Red Suits.

As the Peasants battle the Red Suits, our two warriors must slay their way up the hierarchy in order to reach their ultimate matches, vs Killer #2 and Nicola himself. Will good triumph over evil in this epic tale from the future? You'll have to watch it to find out, and trust me...you won't be disappointed.

This is one of the most visually stunning and original films I've ever seen. The opening animation (which gives us the back-story) uses CGI that emulates paper cut-out stop motion in combination with Japanese style Bunraku origami puppeteers, and sets the stage for the aesthetic atmosphere that will absorb the rest of the film. The background scenery has an origami look and feel to it and, as the camera pans over "Little Westworld", the scenery "unfolds" as if it were popping up from pages opening in a pop-up book. Moshe cleverly plays with this idea with The Bartender character. This has an absolutely amazing effect- I've never seen anything like it. It is definitely the atmosphere which makes this film so artistically incredible and visually consuming.

Original, Engrossing Atmosphere, Mind Blowing Action, Wonderful Casting and Acting...all in all this is a pretty awesome film that CANNOT BE MISSED. A Cult Classic waiting to happen. 9 out 10.
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An excellent off-beat ride.
metalheadgamergirl13 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I had been waiting for this film for some time. As a fan of GACKT, I had heard about this film from his fan-base, and was pleasantly surprised when I also read about the inclusion of Woody Harrelson and Ron Perlman.

Today, I was finally able to see the film, and was startled to see that it was everything I had expected.

The film is decidedly strange, with vivid backdrops reminiscent of the Japanese puppet theater from which it is named. The papery textures are somehow rich and colorful, yet feel as natural as the real world after a short time watching. However, this is more than a paper cut-out world- it has strong elements of impressionism and film noir, with a healthy dash of old-school Western lying on top.

The fight scenes are quite spectacular. They are wonderfully choreographed, and the actors all play their parts in them quite naturally, with distinct styles. GACKT has some background in martial arts, and it is easy to see as he fights- he has a certain grace and precision, while Hartnett is a brawling powerhouse of Western dime novels.

In terms of acting, I was impressed. I was expecting GACKT especially to be awkward, considering his stage personas in music have been very over-the-top and theatrical (not only as a solo act, where he portrays himself as a vampire, but in his past project Malice Mizer where he was known to dress as a woman in true "Visual Kei" style), but in this he was relatively understated, with only a few small distracting moments. His eyes do seem to be a sore point in this- either he is squinting or staring wide-eyed at everything around him. At first it is distracting, but after some time it becomes easier to ignore as one of Yoshi's personality traits and not the actor's. His English is very good, much improved from his earlier film, Moon Child, where it was barely recognizable.

Josh Hartnett, not usually a favorite of mine, seems to have found his calling. His wanderer character seems to fit him like a glove, and the obvious delight he takes in his cigarettes feels very natural and not as contrived as it could with another actor. His secretive, quiet demeanor does not feel forced, and he seems entirely comfortable in the role of Western hero.

Ron Perlman is just excellent as always. His portrayal of the enigmatic Woodcutter gives the clichéd "bad guy" a new life, with complexities under simple evil. His self-destructive and somehow magnetic personality is engrossing, and he never for a moment feels fake, even when delivering lines that would seem overdone with another actor. Perlman's natural gift of lending weight to his words is no less spectacular here.

And of course, Woody Harrelson. Ah, Woody. He plays his witty bartender with a mysterious past with such charisma that it is hard to believe he isn't real. He has a dry humor, which you can catch from time to time in random, wry smiles. He positively glows in every scene. Even when there are fights going on all around him, he remains the center of attention, for good reason. Woody Harrelson gets better with every project he does.

Demi Moore has a part in this, but she is out of her element and feels forced. She comes across as an angsty yet uninteresting character. If she had been flashed out, her circumstances could have been a selling point, but there simply wasn't enough. Hers was a character that was unnecessary, and a waste of Demi's talent.

In terms of plot, this is nothing unusual. It is a reinvention and blending of so many genres that it is barely its own entity, yet somehow it does it in a fresh way that feels familiar, but not stale.

The last point I will make has to do with run time. This is a long film, with many little subplots. Some of these subplots could have been cut entirely, such as the Alexandra (Demi Moore) story, and some of the fleshing out of the "Killers", who never seem to have more than five minutes of screen time anyway, aside from the fascinating and well- played Number 2. I truly believe that this movie should have been cleaned up and condensed, removing approximately twenty to thirty minutes of unneeded dialogue, to make it more tolerable to a wider audience. Some people would certainly get bored or frustrated with some of the needless time.

Overall, this film is a great watch. If you are a film buff, you'll find lots of fun little references and jokes. There is something here for everyone if you give it a fair chance.

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Dr. Frankenstein's Action/Art Film Project
mexicanscotsman22 October 2011
This stylized action film can best be described as an orgy of the following films: part Sin City, part Batman (Adam West era), part Dick Tracy, part The Quick and the Dead, and part Enter the Dragon. Squirt some Cirque du Soleil in there and the resulting love child of all these films is "Bunraku". That's really all I can say. Watch it and tell me if I'm wrong. There are parts of this film that are extraordinary, namely the animation, while other segments (or appendages?) are atrocious. It all makes sense in a mad scientist kind of way, where this creature of a film was cooked up in Dr. Frankenstein's Laboratory School of Film, Dance, and Animation. It's ludicrous, but very entertaining. I give it 7 full test-tubes of film DNA out of 10!
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Moving pictures. Literally.
Maleplatypus27 September 2011
What a pleasant surprise! So many symbols, details and colors. This movie is, like it says in the summary - moving pictures. Of course, the comparison with Sin City is inevitable, but this is different. Original. Poetry of composing colorful images. And yet, it still looks like a comic book brought to life. Or a theater of shadows. Or puppets (which is what Bunraku is all about, as a traditional Japanese theater). Everything made of drawings, cardboard and wood, except for some vehicles (Europeans will feel some nostalgia seeing old Fiat 600 and Reanault R8 Gordini) and swords. Surreal and yet very much close to what we imagine as real. Cast is excellent, as well as direction, editing, music and camera. Why not 10 stars then? There are some theatrical element I thing are not adequate for the whole composition. But you don't have to be so picky. Watch it and enjoy the art of making movies as moving pictures.
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Stylish well done violent comic book
dogmannut17 September 2011
Its like a hint of sin city and clockwork orange and done very tastefully with believable characters. Bunraku comes from a type of puppetry from japan and the movie was based off that with a unique take and I would not say that it fully reminds of something that has been done before. The plot is very well done if you pay attention and the attention to detail is key. The artistry of the movie was fantastic because I have never seen it introduced as it was done in this film and if you are looking for a lot of violence without it being overly gory. This movie pretty much had it all. There are essentially 4 things I look for in every movie and here's what this has. 1)Story that has never been done before. 2)Great artistry 3)Good acting(believable but did not get lost in the character) 4)Contains love, action (a lot of it) and drama
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Great movie!
Ciberbakuz26 September 2011
I really can't understand why those bad reviews about this movie, this was a great entertainment, never been bored for 2 hours. This could just have been directed by Tarantino, nobody would have noticed and everyone would loved it. The story is imaginative, i mean this is not just the story of a a young man who has spent his life searching for revenge like stated in the plot line. (i will not spoil but the beginning says it all). Also the acting is great, every role is carefully, naturally and so damn well interpreted. Demi Moore was a bit unlucky about that not very interesting character, and in my humble opinion like stated before kind of a waste of Demi's talent. Anyway i would even say theatrical, with Kevin McKidd's performance. If i could choose a mix of films to describe this one i would say: Sin City + Kill Bill + A Clockwork Orange + Dark City ...all with a nice perfume of old japan vs wide west western.

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easy to swallow
lpiplovi2 December 2011
Quite an interesting movie,set in kind of an origami environment which is quite unique,has some shiny action moments.......a movie which in my honest opinion had some exquisite potential but got ruined by poorly written scenario,typecast roles for actors that could present much more. Watchable but don't expect some Oscar movie going around....

It may disappoint you or you may even like it.Actors like Woody Harrelson,Demi Moore,hell even Josh Hartnett could give a lot more if properly stimulated with a good screenplay...yet they give them cheesy roles like these.Maybe the idea here was to go with the cheesy but in the end - mediocre with a hint of originality.
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It was very entertaining, not in any way boring, pure watchable pleasure.
idontlikeregisterso28 October 2011
It was very entertaining, not in any way boring, easy, pure watchable pleasure. 9/10 all thumbs up.

After few weeks watched it second time with my girl friend - and it was no less interesting and entertaining and pleasurable to watch as first time (for both of us). It is a pure audiovisual entertainment art show.

There is no point in trying to write about what this movie is. The point is not about "what", but about "how" everything is presented. It is a show for the pleasure of public (audience) and for the sake of the show.

P.S. Those who search for deep meaning in text (story), or some superior pro fight scenes - please go look sports TV or read some Martin Heidegger book. This movie is to entertain, not to give you a lessons, show sports or point to a meaning of life.
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Pretty, Oh So Pretty. Yet Vacant.
mrda198130 January 2013
Depicting the history of man's taste for intraspecies slaughter, the rather nifty, silhouette-animated opening sequence sets up the events leading to the movie's post-apocalyptic, gun-controlled future setting. In these surroundings arise two warriors, each seeking out the villain of the piece for a reason of his own.

This star-loaded feature seems to have everything going for it: a cast of proved pedigree (including Ron Perlman done-up like Rob Zombie); a stylised comic book setting (with the use of modern-day comic heroes as "ancient" legends); and some nifty narration. Unfortunately, I found it quite difficult to give much of a shi t about the story and characters, insipid and generic as they were. The action sequences, whilst hardly the worst I've seen, fail to make much in the way of impact, and half the lines delivered are mumbled, necessitating quite a bit of frustrating backscanning. Admittedly, Harrelson's bartending mentor and Perlman's ennui-stricken Big Bad provide a smidgen of interest, but they're no match for the aesthetically-appealing mediocrity of the film they find themselves in...and can someone tell me what the point of Demi Moore's character was? In summation, a beautifully bland beat 'em-up which took up two hours too many of this viewer's life.
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Bunraku is Visually Stunning and Gackt is Amazing
lenahime8214 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I went to the premier in Toronto Canada I am a HUGE Gackt Fan so this movie has been on the top of my list for awhile now

Bunraku (spoiler)

This Movie is very Surreal.

Gackt (World Famous Mega Jrocker) making his big screen movie debut, does speak some Japanese in it but mainly English and it sounds a bit forced but very understandable and well done. The plot line is a bit thin its your classic western tale of a drifter (Josh Hartnett) out to battle the evil overlord Nicola (Ron Perlman) but with an Eastern flair. On the way THE DRIFTER teams up with Yoshi (Gackt) who is out to reclaim his family's honor after Nicola's henchmen destroy his uncles Japanese Restaurant and steal his fathers amulet; with the help of a wise yet kooky barkeep (Woody Harrelson) they eventually take him out.

Now I understand why this film took so long to be released; with loads of visual effects crew this film delivers a stunning picture. Its refreshing to see actual theatrics combined with computer graphics. The scenes change so fast they make your head spin and are reminiscent of Tim Burton as in its really something not seen before or rarely seen in today's movies. It also sports a comic book feel there are pop-up captions whenever Japanese is spoken and you can't help but expect a ZING, BOW whenever a fight brakes out. and speaking of which the fight scenes were amazing and very well choreographed I read in an interview with TIFF that Gackt insisted on doing his own stunts and was even knocked out and taken to the hospital and that is just the kind of guy he is never doing anything Halfway.

"The title is amazingly appropriate too, because it's like a mad-cap circus' dark puppet show, all the character's are gathered & manipulated by Destiny's strings, just like the audience is pulled along by a thread"~Leia

I would find this movie very interesting even if I had no idea who Gackt was and I can't wait when it is released so I can see it again and again and I hope everyone that looks at this will too

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Pretty, empty and pretty empty
KaZenPhi14 February 2018
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.
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It's like watching someone work on a bonsai tree with a jackhammer
kevinc07229 November 2012
I saw this movie randomly on TV, without expectations, and I just can't finish it, and that's pretty rare for me.

The cast was wonderful, but the end result just don't justify it. The film was a fusion of sin city plus kill bill plus a large chunk of "I want to be different and artsy-fartsy", and I just don't like what came out of the blender. The script is plain, the art direction was too intentional, and the fight scenes are like watching a crappy cartoon.

I loved sin city, I loved kill bill, but Bunraku just isn't even near the same ball park as those. It's fine when a film have a low budget, crappy script and cheesy effects, at least they don't pretend to be something else, but trying to run before you can walk, art direction wise, is just a big no no for me. To create the new, you gotta first know the old.

This film might be entertaining for some who likes to see some eastern flavors in a movie, but growing up watching a good share of films from both the east and the west, the amount of cliché of both types annoys me.

A film that wasted a great cast.
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Moulin Rouge 2 electric boogaloo
funeralfortheliving16 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Where do I start...Bad acting, horrible script, white belt karate spliced together with better pop up footage. Did Godfrey Ho make this? Imagine the Warriors if they cut their hair, and traded their tough gear for Dick Tracy suits and were a Bunch of wimps and it was filmed in France and you have this pile of steaming hack. Imagine watching west side story and the sharks and the jets trying their hardest to make dancing around with no talent look like action and then some editor tried his hardest to use flashy cuts and pop up book intermissions to make up for the dry nonsensical plot and you would have a tiny clue of the mess that is Bunraku.

The dialog never makes you say ah ha except one line at the end and by then I stopped caring! The characters are mumble jumbled together so as to never let any of them shine. None of the back stories add anything to the heart of the movie (oh it has no heart)or emotion. Like others have pointed out the fight scenes are sad, sad, sad, boy go watch City of Violence or Invisible Target then watch this and weep!!! But for anyone claiming it isn't that bad can anyone of you explain to me how someone who loves movies and from every genre and country could have wanted to gouge my eye's out by about 30 minutes in after I realized the flashy cinematography was trying to cover a terrible script with no humor, no wit and none of the sets or cool pop up tricks in the back ground ever added to the story, except for the lame the sun came up and turned into a clock at sun up oohh what a master of the archetypal! Oh and then out of no where a medallion that never gets an explanation? Japanese film makers have the power of story telling and the skill of directing and they have really tight actors this film tries to be Japanese and misses every mark. If Quentin Tarantino Directed this he would be found dead in his hotel room from suicide after seeing the premier. Take that back there was no directing so he would have had to kill himself in pre production.

This should have been called Moulin Rouge 2 electric boogaloo and they should have dropped the three main characters for Scott Pilgrim and the super bad geeks. Poor Shun Sugata whose been in the best Japanese movies like Organ, Marebito, Izo and Ichi and goes from kill bill to Scott Pilgram vs Godfrey-Ho this movie sucks the fights are lame the colors suck the costumes blow the acting is dry and emotionless characters and plots keep manifesting but never amount to anything? This director never need attempt to try any sort of make a motion type thing again!!! PS flashy cinematography doesn't equal good film that's production visualization 101 the cinematographers and editor were excellent and deserve all the credit for this film period the director should have been replaced and the script should have been used by craft services and handed out for kids to color on while they wait for their food.
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A Stunning Piece of Art
kubikle-net15 January 2012
This is the first movie review that I have ever written, so be gentle :) The main reason I decided to pop my cherry by writing this review is because the current 6.1 rating of this movie does not do it any justice. This is the best movie that I saw in 2011. I saw it on DVD and the next week I re-rented it to see it again. I regret not seeing it in theaters.

The movie has a very distinct style backed up by stunning combat scenes, a fascinating fictional story and excellent acting. It combines elements of action, fiction, comedy and drama in a seamless way. All in all a superb piece of artwork that is very difficult to be described in words. It must be experienced.
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Overly artsy and overly boring
white_fire410 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I don't mind films that try to be artistic or stylish in one way or another, it can be interesting.

Having sets look like they're made out of paper and taken straight from a 4 year olds drawing is not artistic. Lighting everything in various hues from blue to green to red to yellow and blah blah blah is not artistic, it's lazy.

Here's the basic plot....world blew itself up, humans decided they should ban guns....why guns only, I don't know, since the movie establishes that we basically nuked ourselves near to extinction, but HEY. So this is post apocalyptic.

1 man, Drifter, and another Japanese man, Yoshi (yes, seriously) both are after a man named Nicola, who, as we are CONSTANTLY reminded, is the strongest man east of the Atlantic. And by constant, I mean at least every 15-20 minutes.

Drifter wants to kill him for reasons that are never really explained...at all. Yoshi wants back a medallion that Nicola stole from his clan. Yup.

In a SERIOUSLY dragged out first half, Drifter and Yoshi come to cross paths with The Bartender (yes, seriously again) and then each other. Drifter eventually "borrows" 48,000 dollars from Yoshi to enter a poker game, in order to challenge Nicola to....another poker game. To draw him out into public, as he never goes out (the movie claims nobody knows what he looks like, but of course, WE are shown his face many times over) In doing this, Yoshi gets caught up and gets his Uncle killed and his cousin kidnapped, they both go after Nicola for even more reasons, blah blah blah. All of this takes an hour and a half to establish and get out there. 90 minutes!!! During this, there are poorly choreographed fight scenes, which establish a few things.....in this post apocalyptic world, anyone can challenge who rules if they have at least 20 men and can win in the challenge. Nicola usually only sends 1 of 9 "killers" he keeps as his personal guard basically, although we don't really see any of the others except for very brief shots. Killer #2 (....noticing the lack of actual names with anyone but Nicola?) is the only one really fleshed out to any degree as a character.

People use old time technology....VERY old time. As in, 40's style phones, morse code machines, and people drive around in what are essentially clown cars. And since there's no guns, everyone fights with knives/swords, and just sheaths or pieces of wood they find lying around.

Yet everyone has overly fancy clothing.

IF you're willing to sit through a lot, a LOT of unnecessary narration (such as pointing out that men in red enter a room...when they're entering the room....not kidding) and conversation that is meant to be deep and philosophical yet is just boring and ultimately pointless, the movie does have a few interesting points (the poker game is intriguing) and some slightly decent fight scenes....emphasis on slightly.

But the story is basically non existent. The reason for everything happening is very simple, very boring, and takes just over two hours to tell. It's basically taking the plot of a Final Destination movie and trying to stretch it out for another 45 minutes.
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A funny kind of a western-samurai parody with beautiful pictures
zsuzsannapolyak18 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I'm surprised that none of the reviewers and most of the critics I've read so far never pointed out how hilarious it is. From the first fight-scene, I interpreted the whole film as a not-so-direct western/samurai film parody, full of irony (especially the lines of the narrator) and dark humor. Some people miss the actual plot behind it, but honestly, does most western classics have more plot than the lone/silent hero trying to get revenge on someone? Once upon a time in the West came to my mind a lot while watching Bunraku.

**** SPOILER Comments like "No bounties, no cards - what a lone man to do?" (I quote it from memory, sorry if it's not correct), not to mention the character of Yoshi who - at first glance - looks like a reprise of Gackt's role as the young Uesugi Kenshin in Fuurin Kazan. Until they start to talk about self-control and Bushido while about to explode with anger and Yoshi ends up wracking the whole restaurant. Or having a Bartender as the samurai master etc. END of SPOILER ****

I think it would have been better if it was a 2-part film like Kill Bill, to have more time for each character, a lot of the sub-plots were shallow. And it would be a killer in 3D. I really liked the Bartender and Killer No. 2. and Josh Hartnett was a pleasant surprise as I didn't really like him before. It's a unique film, and in my opinion, the worst mistake you can make while watching it is taking it too seriously. Just enjoy the beautiful pictures, the well-choreographed fight scenes and laugh a lot!
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Truly awful
xorys29 December 2011
I was tricked into watching this movie by the cover copy on the DVD, plus the fact that it had several excellent performers in it. Well... so far as the cover copy goes ("By far the best film I have seen this year") - either the guy saw it immediately after midnight on January 1st, or... I don't want to know what he was smoking. And yeah, I know I shouldn't be so dumb as to believe DVD cover copy. So, what about the movie. It's sort of like a cross between a high school production of Our Town (complete with UNBELIEVABLY annoying voice over) and a really, really, really bad comic, all visualized by a berserk designer whose main concern seems to be how many extreme color filters he can use. What else can I say. If this description seems appealing to you, by all means go ahead... but be prepared to be endlessly yammered at and patronized, and bored senseless by ham-fisted theatrics, and don't expect anything in the way of realism or sense. Approach this one the way you would a night at a bad amateur dramatic society, with a particularly 'artsy' director... then you won't be disappointed.
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nogodnomasters7 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
In the post apocalyptic world guns are outlawed, swords are used. A district/town is run by Nicola (Ron Perlman). He has an army of killers known as Reds because the dress in red. Kevin McKidd plays Killer #2 the strong arm for Nicola. He has the ability of Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill." The people dress in gray...guess what they're called? Woody Harrelson is Little West Town's bartender at the Horseless Horseman. He is known as "The Bartender." One day a drifter comes to town...known as "The Drifter." He looks like Leonardo DiCaprio and wants to get into a high stakes card game. The sets has that surreal CG look that we originally saw in "Dick Tracy." The scenes are all done on a stage.

In a subplot, another stranger named Yoshi (Gackt Camui) comes to town. He is looking to avenge his father by taking back a golden dragon talisman. Both men have the ability to fight multiple trained fighters at one time without breaking a sweat. They bump heads at the Horseless Horseman and decide to join forces against Nicola and his red suit fighters as a cowboy without a gun and samurai without a sword.

The film is something Quinton Tarantino might have done growing up watching "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World." It has cartoon segments, numbers dropping down by people, extreme amount of fighting, and quirky humor. Woody Harrelson provides us with philosophy and pop-up books. If you like weird action films and Scott Pilgrim type of movie, this one will blow you away. The dialogue is filled with symbolism, metaphors, and double entendres. "The fight is not about who's right, but who's left."

The film makes full use of the soundtrack. Bravo to relative new comer Guy Moshe.

F-bomb (Demi Moore is in it), no sex or nudity.
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What's actually happening here?
whitneyturney23 June 2019
This thing was definitely, as one guy on here put it, barely even boredom relief. Was so confusing as to the plot it was hard to even care about where it was going. There was a narrator, but he didn't help the direction at all. It was like they were trying to be artsy and slightly funny but just came off like a highschool film project. The fight scenes alone were horrendous! Most of them didn't even include anything but sticks. And not even in the way martial arts does, they were just bad fight scenes. Some were more like West Side Story fight scenes. The sad excuse for sets really rang highschool film project not artsy. The big names is what kept me from turning it off but they couldn't even save this monstrosity. Put it this way, we bought it off the fifty cents rack and didn't get our money's worth.
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A great disappointment
lanosiceland11 September 2011
All the elements/potential of a great movie: stars, good story, action. However, the execution is so bad that most people will torture themselves to get through this: took me three days... and I regretted it. The Sin City a la surrealism concept did not work. Bloody awful. 120min of good money badly spent. The blue-print for 'how not to.' I cannot recommend this. An utter and complete load of garbage; burn after watching and forget as quickly as humanly possible. If you do decide to chance it then expect nothing great and maybe you'll end up with less disappointment... but I doubt it. Everything is wrong with this. Check it out if you must: you'll only have yourself to blame.
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A very entertaining, exciting and surprisingly good movie with a great cast. Fans of "Sin CIty" will love it. I liked it. I say B
cosmo_tiger22 September 2011
"Revenge is an act of style." When a man (Hartnett) bent on revenge come to a city he finds what he is looking for. He begins fighting his way through nine very different and very deadly assassins on his way to the one he want. This is another movie that really surprised me as to how good it was. Having never seen a preview or even really heard about it I had no idea what to expect. While the movie is not that original it takes from many different types of movies and blends them together in a very interesting and exciting way. Some aspects have been taken from "Scott Pilgrim vs The World", "Kill Bill" and "Sin City" just to name a few. This is more like "Sin City" then the others in the style that it uses and the "comic-booky" feel that it has. The fighting is great, and is refreshing to see an action movie that doesn't rely on guns to make it fun. The cast is great and the movie is very fun, very much worth your time. The only thing that bothered me is that it didn't need to be two hours long. They could have cut at least 15-20 min out and had it move at a more exciting pace. Other then that I really enjoyed this. Overall, a very entertaining way to spend your time and money. I give it a B.

Would I watch again? - I don't think so *Also try - Sin City & Tekken
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Sin City + Clockwork Orange + Warriors + Oragami = BUNRAKU
faithhopeamour6 November 2011
This movie had my attention the moment it started. It's unique visual artistry, shadowing, narration and the excellent cast (as well as the story itself) kept my eyes glued to the screen wanting more and waiting eagerly in anticipation for another fight sequence.

There are scenes in this movie that leave you in awe with its one-of-a-kind artistic and imaginative filming techniques. **If you like how Sin City was filmed, then you'll really enjoy the likes of Bunraku.

I rated this 8 out of 10 because although I truly enjoyed it, there were some parts of the story-line I thought could've been better. That being said: This was definitely worth my 2 hours and its a keeper!
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Mild boredom relief Big Budget Flop
lucius_4209 September 2011
I'll give the film a generous five stars for trying to be artistic. There were some great actors in this one, but the direction was almost nonexistent, more like a producer whacked off in the writer's face so the writer could not see the page clearly and know that what he was typing was like chunks flying from a horse's arse. The plot was...not there. The narrator's voice was very very lame sounding, especially in its' delivery, and seemed to have more lines than some of the main actors at times which completely ruined any feeling of actually trying to get into the feeling of the movie, the creation of a setting. The little pop-up things only happened very rarely and weren't that mind-blowing or cult classic making, more like the saving graces that kept it from totally being lame, Ron Perlman's makeup was horrid, some sets were so not in the budget they were nothing more than sheets wrapped around fake trees! The fighting was pretty pathetic choreography, especially since nearly every hit or kill happens off screen or off camera somehow so that you can never see one person clearly land a single punch. The cartwheeling clowns? Reminded me of every bad movie ever made or a combination of all the worst movies ever made put together. Demi Moore...was there some purpose to having her in the film? Seriously, I had to write a scathing review because the other 2 reviews I saw here were definitely not honest with themselves or you because they wrote such glowing and praising remarks that they were obviously marketers from the company that wasted so many millions of dollars on a crap movie. East meets west? I don't think so. There are so many other better east/west films that this horrific attempt to blend the cultures on either side of the Pacific is just really really sad. The producers should hang themselves. Choppy editing in a bad way. The visuals were not artistic enough to be a true art film, everything was too glossed over, no attention to detail. Woody Harrelson was doing some really horrid acting on purpose (even though he can be a great actor if he wanted to) and the director could not even tell him to stop acting up and do the lines right because the director was obviously not competent enough to know what acting is or how to make his actors act in a way that makes the audience enjoy being entertained. No vision...or the people who made this film obviously had a very grand vision but almost everything flopped and got over-produced into the dirt, just like Mario Brothers. Best part of the movie was the very short animation sequences and they really weren't even all that special either. Looks like they were going for a cross between Kill Bill and Sin City and instead ended up with something more like The Last Samurai Gets Lost on the Way to Little Red Riding Hoods House meets Something Stupid This Way Comes. The best spot of acting actually came from the guy who played the uncle but the scene is ruined by the flashy CGI comic book style cations which looks cool when they appear but never reveal any grand truth or tell any funny jokes so, in essence, are a little kooky and fun but do not add anything really special to the film and are definitely not mind-blowing by any stretch of the imagination. Seriously, these guys with the big dollars need to get someone like me in there to write at least a half decent script where the story is told by the actors' voices and not some retarded narrator guy. There could have been a bit more engaging dialogue, what with all the top dollar actors they signed for the deal. I bet most of them will look back in 10 years and regret doing this silly farce. I really thought Kevin McKidd was great in the movie 'Dog Sodiers' and the TV series 'Rome', but his ability to act well and pirouette could not save him from an atrocious director and the writers/producers who jerked off this worse than trash film into existence. I've seen low budget B trash films show more flair and panache in one little finger than this whole awful mess. There, that is my review that I had to write in definite opposition to the guys who said it was "brilliant" or something like that. Mediocre, mildly amusing, no matter how many times you punch a guy off screen it will not look any different the next time because it will be off screen then too. With all the budget cuts in the sets, costumes, and writers/directors...there should at least have been some good CGI or something, some kind of special effects. Special effects is a big joke to these Hollywood producers now though. Every effect can be simulated and half-arsed in ways off camera so that virtually every "special" effect, turns into more of a big let down. Where are all the good science fiction films of the past when "effects" were real effects that had wire pulling and air canisters and corn syrup mixed with red food dye and cybernetic stop motion claymation critters and people falling off buildings and things blow up? The good old days long gone.
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