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3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Bunraku [Blu-ray]
Format: Blu-ray|Change
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on 24 August 2013
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 grey...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 humour. 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 dialouge is filled with symbolism, metaphors, and double ententes. "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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on 13 September 2012
Sharp, different, action-packed and endlessly entertaining - this is a film which effortlessly blends martial arts and westerns, all set is a strange, surreal world where, as the perspectives shift, the landscape, buildings and people unfold like origami. Absolutely worth seeing.
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on 31 December 2011
I had no idea what this film would be like before I watched it - I saw it was sci-fi and watched it anyway. During the (most impressive) intro, I saw just about every Hollywood name I ever knew mentioned. It has quite an impressive cast.

Set in an indeterminate timeless point in the future where all firearms have been outlawed and the gangs rule the streets, a couple of strangers decide to take them on. Nothing hugely original in the story; I think the cast signed on because of the way it was filmed. It looks amazing. Maximum points to the lighting guys and the set designers - at first I thought it reminded me of a living computer game, however, about half way through it, I changed my opinion to more like a graphic novel.

All the cast seem to be enjoying being in an `arty' flick, but just sort of mumble their lines. These (slightly over the top) dialogue sequences are intercut with a few fight scenes which are okay as they go, but nothing you haven't seen before.

Yes, it all looks great - every scene is a visual treat on the eyes. There just isn't much more to it than that. I don't know what it was aiming for. Some scenes are downright comical (intendedly so I'm guessing?), others are way too up themselves and serious.

It's probably a great film. I enjoyed it at first, but it got a little old a little too soon. Serious art-house sci-fi fans only. Perhaps the failings are on my part?
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 10 January 2012
Set in a time in the future that we are told is... some time in the future; we are faced with a world where man has been so inhuman to man that all firearms are banned! They are allowed to walk around with all forms of medieval stuff though, so all violent types need not fear.

Thrown into this heady mix of a world with neither calendars nor guns come three unsuspecting heroes. One, a drifter (Josh Hartnett), two a barman (Woody Harrelson) and the third a lone young Samurai - Gackt (well there is always one isn't there). They coalesce (meet) in `Little Westworld' a place that is ruled by a ruthless tyrannical man in a large hat and cloak - Nicola (Ron Perlman). He uses his army of red besuited henchman to maintain a gang warfare rule, that includes extortion, prostitution, corrupt police and sushi!

All three have reasons to want things to end, be it honour, lost love or something more intangible like revenge. They alone must fight the nasty Ron Perlman and Killer No 2 (Kevin McKidd). What is unleashed is an homage to so many things I was a bit confused, the only thread that runs through everything is the fighting - and if that is your bag you will be far from disappointed.

This film oozes style, it starts off being like a sixties re booted `Batman' and then goes all `Sin City', and every set is framed and shot like a graphic novel work of pop art. All the cars are classics even though this is the future, from a Fiat 500 to a Bentley hearse that is doubling up as a taxi and I am sure I spotted a Simca in the mix too. There is also oodles of Japanese influences and a particular preference for red in nigh on every shot. The dialogue though intermittent is sparse and to the point, not overly polished, but still contrived enough to have more than a nod to the noir classics. The plot unfolds quite predictably, the only shocks come from the violence, which is so stylised and choreographed that the blood comes across as not that authentic either.

That said this is a sumptuous production that cares more about style than the vehicle it uses to get the message across, and that is the only real criticism, there is humour, there is pathos, though only a veneer and there is a love interest that is left hanging, but there is a load of fighting. If you like action films with more than a leaning to the oriental then this will rock your world; if you like a more original plot then you will probably only remember this for the high production values. I did like the style but felt it lacked substance - hence my rating. There are good performances from all concerned and director Guy Moshe should be proud of what he has created, it is the script that has let this down, but it is far from being a bad film, it just is not a great one.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 16 February 2013
There are some harsh reviews here for what is essentially a very different and refreshing film. Although it's not amazing it is unlike anything you've seen before.

Trying to describe this film's visual approach is an impossible task - it's part western, part 1940s gangster flick, part Samurai film, all delivered in a visually stunning and beautiful way. Imagine Kill Bill on acid mixed with a bit of Buggsy Malone and you're half way there. The whole thing has a totally unique and distinct look and felt like a cross between Monkey Magic, Sin City and a broadway show.

True, much of it was style over substance, but it's a film like no other and for that it should be applauded. The all-star cast all do a good job with a script which isn't incredible but has its moments, and although the fight scenes aren't that amazing, they were only ever meant to be there in a secondary role an enhance the visual impact of the scenes and settings in which they took place.

Bunraku is a mixture of stories and styles creating a sum much bigger than its parts. If you want a film that is beautiful to watch - this is it. A good effort in my opinion and a film that will stick in my mind. It's a shame the story wasn't as interesting as the way it was told - if it had been it would have got 5 stars.
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERon 3 July 2012
Very mixed reviews on this one. I borrowed it on dvd from somebody in work.

Bunraku is the Japanese art of puppetry which uses 4 foot tall puppets operated by three people dressed in black so you cannot see them. You also have a chanter who performs all the vocals, usually one person voices several characters!

The movie is the classic story of a stranger/s drifting into town to try to sort the baddies out. There's several characters the main ones being the drifter (Hartnett) who has a score to settle, a samurai (Gackt) looking for a family golden dragon that was stolen and the bartender (Woody Harrelson) with his infinite wisdom who brings the drifter and samurai together in order to defeat the woodcutter Nicola, the most feared gang boss played by Ron Pearlman. Nicola has nine killers who are his top people. No2 killer (Kevin Mckidd, Poseidon in Percy Jackson and the lightening thief) is his red hat wearing and ever so slightly camp lieutenant.

This movie has been filmed in such a way as to look like a Bunraku play with a twist. It's a mix of western and samurai movies. Very colourful sets that cleverly pop up looking like card (think punch and Judy sets but full scale), stylised fight scenes which are almost like a dance routine at times, Kevin McKidd is brilliant at this, like a deadly Fred Astaire with a sword! The fight scenes are good throughout and the story is narrated by Mike Patton of Faith no more.

I would say this is worth a watch if you liked Sin City and Kung Fu Hustle as its a bit of a mix of the two, something different. I thought it was okay but I probably won't watch it again.
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on 16 November 2014
This film benefits from the Amazon marking scheme, based on how much you like it, whether or not it's good . I like many a bad movie and hate no small number of "good" or even "great" ones.

This is not a great movie, but it is very entertaining. It looks marvellous, and Josh Hartnett and Woody Harrelson are excellent. Gackt can't act for toffee, though his character does all that's required, and thankfully Demi Moore keeps the horror levels down by keeping her clothes on for once. Ron Perlman is fun just to watch, and Kevin McKidd's droll first henchman is even better than Lethal Weapon's Mr Joshua.

A straightforward revenge quest is mostly what we get, a very tongue in cheek "Fistful of Dollars" remake, really, but the verve and the style of it, the comic book characters and some great one-liners and corny philosophising make it a nicely entertaining romp.

Sometimes the dialogue is so tongue in cheek, it's hard to hear, but irrespective of everything else, I was entertained by this.
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on 23 January 2013
...but no subtitles...i am deaf so this is a tad demoralizing. I wish i knew this before i bought it :(
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on 20 January 2012
Okay, I'll admit the plot itself is not terribly original. It reminds me of a pastiche of western plots, yet the way it's all put together is fresh, and the comic-style imagery works really well with it. Bunraku is different, it's bold, and it doesn't take itself too seriously - all of those are big pluses with me. Add Japanese superstar Gackt and Ron Perlman to the ingredients, and it was well on the way to winning me over from the very beginning. I had't seen Josh Hartnett before, but I thought he did a good job as one of the two drifters. My admiration, however, goes entirely to Gaku-sama and Ron Perlman for their brilliant performances. Gackt is simply delightful as the idealistic warrior Yoshi, and Perlman is a superb villain, to such an extent that you keep wavering between hating his guts, and actually sympathising with him (at least I did). I have to also mention Woody Harrelson, whose interraction with Yoshi and Hartnett's drifter provided plenty of comic, as well as a few poignant, moments. Last, but not least, I must mention the fighting, as there's a lot of it. Now, I don't care much for fight scenes, but even so, I wasn't bored at all, not least due to the fact that there always seemed to be a slight comic element to them which made you switch from thinking "Wow, that was cool!" to chuckling in a matter of seconds.

To sum all up, if you like quirky and very visual films, you'll like Bunraku. And even if it fails to impress you as much as it impressed me, I promise you won't regret the time you spent watching it. The only downside can think of is the lack of bonus features (if you don't count the trailer, which I don't), at least on the DVD. Not sure if the BlueRay edition has more extras.
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on 28 April 2012
If I was to pick ten best films this year this would certainly be in the list, a fantastic movie thats utterly original, looks amazing with some fantastic visuals and striking effects, a very bold and beautiful revenge story with an amazing cast to tell it, every actor in this film is great, Josh Hartnett is great as the lead and is backed up by an amazing supporting cast like Demi Moore, Ron Perlman, and woody Harrelson plus lots more, all the characters are different and bring something to the film and have a story to tell and a destiny to fulfil, this is kind of a blend of sin city and kill bill and a mash of other things but still makes it its own, for just under 2 hours this is a great adventure from beginning to end, gem of the year and a must see, shame theres no features but a trailer. Just goes to show with a small budget and a fantastic story how imaginative some filmmakers can be.
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