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Bunraku (2011)

tomatometer

19

Average Rating: 3.9/10
Reviews Counted: 21
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 17

Bunraku admirably strives for visual panache, but the staging, acting, and effects are dismal with a complete lack of excitement.

17

Average Rating: 4/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 10

Bunraku admirably strives for visual panache, but the staging, acting, and effects are dismal with a complete lack of excitement.

audience

49

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 4,127

My Rating

Movie Info

A mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett) and an ardent young Japanese warrior Yoshi (Gackt) both arrive in a town that has been terrorized by outrageous and virulent criminals. Each is obsessed with his separate mission, and guided by the wisdom of The Bartender (Woody Harrelson) at the Horseless Horseman Saloon, the two eventually join forces to bring down the corrupt and contemptuous reign of Nicola (Ron Perlman), the awesomely evil "woodcutter" and his lady Alexandra (Demi Moore), a femme fatale

R,

Drama, Action & Adventure

Nov 1, 2011

Cinedigm Entertainment - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (22) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (17) | DVD (4)

It should surprise no one that visually quirky, graphic-novelish, pulp-noir action flicks rarely come through the sausage machine intact.

September 30, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not difficult to see why this movie - which reportedly cost $25 million - has been looking for a release date since it was finished more than three years ago.

September 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Extremely cool-looking in the manner of "Sin City,'' but clumsily staged, slackly acted and mind-numbingly dull...

September 30, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A potpourri of genres that ends up a morass of clichés.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Bunraku" is so desensitizing with its hyper-stylized distractions and movie references it feels more mush-up than mash-up.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One long, extensively choreographed fight sequence in which "mortal" blows are delivered so often, and with so little lasting impact, that a brawl just becomes a brawl becomes a brawl.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bunraku is everything from blatant ripoff to experimental cinema to a graphic novel gone wild with its bad acting and predictable ending.

February 11, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Bunraku's premise involves a level of fanboy wankery that makes Sucker Punch look restrained.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

A mega mash-up in the vein of Sucker Punch, Bunraku jumbles together elements with a self-consciousness that's as turgid as its story proper.

September 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

An overstylized, overwritten, overinflated jumble that doesn't have a clue when to quit. It's definitely colorful and eager to please, but a little of this convoluted mess goes a long way.

September 15, 2011 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

Midnight movie fans as well as graphic artists will appreciate the style of the picture, if not the substance... mainly because there's not much substance to be found at all.

September 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Television Without Pity
Television Without Pity

What do Hartnett and Geckt want with Perlman? Mostly, I think, they're just looking for excuses to get into elaborate kung fu fights.

September 5, 2011 Full Review Source: IFC.com | Comment (1)
IFC.com

Completely pointless and utterly unwatchable...

September 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comments (9)
Reel Film Reviews

A fun action flick distinguished by the stunning visuals.

September 14, 2010 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Audience Reviews for Bunraku

Films like this really need to manage their style and substance. Josh Hartnett plays a lone stranger in a world where guns have become outlawed. He is joined by lone swordsman, and the two form a friendship with a bartender. They each have their own gripes with the mysterious leader of the town, who is protected by a group of assassins. Bunraku starts off really cool, and the visuals continue to impress throughout. It takes on forms of puppetry at times, and also uses the aesthetics of a pop-up book for its transitions. The wonderfully constructed sets hide the limited budget and the action scenes are competently choreographed. All this said though, it is certainly reminiscent of every western ever made. By paying too much homage, the twists and turns become apparent early on. An exciting and fun film, but when something looks this good, you wish it try a little harder.
May 23, 2012
kiriyamakazou

Super Reviewer

What a very strange movie. It looks like it was shot on the same soundstage (and with the same crew) as Repo! The Genetic Opera, with its lush and surreal colour scheme and odd use of animation in the narrative. In this world, there are no backgrounds, only trompe d'oeil paintings, and people often hang chandeliers outdoors while cultivating rock gardens in their homes. I get the feeling that more interesting things could have been done in a movie world where the mob is in full force but guns don't exist. I think one of the biggest troubles of this movie is the fact that all the characters are so terribly, otherworldly cool that the writers and actors forgot to make them real. I couldn't connect with anyone. Everyone was as invincible, or sullen, or artificially flawed as the heroes of Livejournal poetry. They are simply instruments upon which to hang all the novel ideas of this film, but I really didn't care about what happened to anyone. Actually, I'd like to see another story, written by someone else that takes place in this diegetic world. Hmm. Off to read fanfic!
January 18, 2012
MidnightMadwoman

Super Reviewer

Guy Moshe's Bunraku goes heavy on the visuals, but is that enough?The pacing of the story is consistently moderate; however, it is the film's style and storytelling that really drags this 2 hour picture down. Very film noir in nature, the constant narration and background music becomes tiresome. Combining that with the visual look, which is a mix between a comic book and the Bunraku Japanese puppet theater style where this film gets its title from, turns things into a monotonous piece of work.The action contains some promise with the choreography and the bloody violence, for the most part, is held in check; although there is enough to warrant an R rating.Similarly with the film's tone, the performances by the likes of Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Gackt, and Ron Perlman are all colorless and dry. Kevin McKidd tends to standout from the rest with some spark in his character.Bunraku does have its artistic elements, but in the end things turn out less entertaining than expected.
January 5, 2012
skactopus
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

    1. Nicola: Someone once told me, there is always someone more powerful than you.
    – Submitted by John K (2 years ago)
    1. Bartender: The hero is not always the strongest man, sometimes it's the just the guy who leads the way.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Bartender: Gangbusters. Cowboy in world without guns, and a samurai with no sword, team up to defeat a common evil.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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