Bunraku is the tale of The Drifter (Josh Hartnett - Lucky Number Slevin
), a man who has come to seek revenge on Nicola 'The Woodcutter' (Ron Perlman - Hellboy
) the leader of a shadowy gang of ten killers. This is a world where what is left of humanity has shunned mechanical weapons due to damages they have ravaged on the planet. In their place; swords, fists and clubs rule supreme. Yoshi (The rather effeminate Gackt) is also looking to avenge his family's honour with Nicola, the Drifter and Yoshi combine their fantastic fighting styles to try and topple Nicola and his gang, will they succeed?
Well, where to begin? This is more comic than it is film, the animation is fantastic - the introductory scenes about how man nearly destroyed himself with weapons makes this film a must see for that reason alone. What follows is half graphic novel - half film, the fight scenes are heavily stylised and the sets are unlike anything you've seen before, basked in primary colours that change with the mood - credit to the director Guy Moshe. Hartnett's character is his typical stoic affair, Woody Harrelson plays a bartender with great aplomb but it's no runaway performance and Gackt is just a bit too feminine to be taken seriously.
The Japanese sections are subtitled with graphic-novel-style banners as the characters speak - a neat trick that fits the ethos of the film well. I believe this was an issue on the early releases of this disc, but mine was fine so I guess it's something they have addressed now.
In conclusion, this is a great film for comic fans and people who love samurai-style films, but the story is just a little too uninteresting to be dragged out for just under two hours. Commendable performances all round and completely different to the rest but not really pushing the envelope in any respect, nonetheless, worth a watch for a refreshingly different piece of cinema!