Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 23


Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,501
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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 with a secret past. This classic tale is re-vitalized and re-imagined in an entirely fresh visual context, set in a unique world that mixes skewed reality with shadow-play fantasy, a place where even the landscape can betray you. -- (C) Picturesque Films


Josh Hartnett
as The Drifter
Woody Harrelson
as Bartender
as Yoshi
Kevin Mckidd
as Killer No. 2
Jordi Molla
as Valentine
Demi Moore
as Alexandra
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Critic Reviews for Bunraku

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (19)

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

    Sep 30, 2011 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Sep 30, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Extremely cool-looking in the manner of "Sin City,'' but clumsily staged, slackly acted and mind-numbingly dull...

    Sep 30, 2011 | Full Review…
  • A potpourri of genres that ends up a morass of clichés.

    Sep 29, 2011 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • "Bunraku" is so desensitizing with its hyper-stylized distractions and movie references it feels more mush-up than mash-up.

    Sep 29, 2011 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Sep 29, 2011 | Rating: 1.5/4

Audience Reviews for Bunraku

  • Feb 16, 2014
    This film does deliver. It has a unique look to it. It is like they were trying to do a visual style similar to Sin City and The Big Bang. The story reminded me of movies like The Man with the Iron Fists, Escape From N.Y., and Tron Legacy. The film feels like a comic book or graphic novel. Some of the fight scenes reminded me of the fight scenes from the 1966 Adam West Batman TV show. All that was missing was the "Bam!" and "Pow!" It was great seeing Hartnett on screen again. It's been awhile since I last saw him in a movie. He kind of reminded me of the Clint Eastwood Man with no name character or Snake Plisskin. He has a good chemistry with Woody and Gackt. Woody is good here and brings humor when needed. Ron Perlman is great as usual. He kind of reminded me of Mickey Rourke's character in The Immortals. I definitely liked this film and recommend it.
    Sol C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 31, 2013
    Very weird but also very interesting. I love how this film is shot, and the artistic detail in the background and sets is simply amazing; I've never seen anything like it. Again, weird film, but I like how it mixes genres, and I definitely like how it tells its story. After seeing the film once, you feel that the story couldn't be told any differently. Props for casting Kevin McKidd btw...the voice actor for Soap MacTavish in Call of Duty. Anyway, I wouldn't mind a sequel to this film.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • May 23, 2012
    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.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 05, 2012
    The only reason I gave "Bunraku" a pretty average score instead of something a little lower was that it was entertaining enough and of course had some great actors in it, Gackt as a Samurai too! The film tries to go for a visually unique look and even though I understand what it's going for, it comes off just cheap more than an intentional stylistic choice. The film doesn't take itself too seriously and Woody Harrelson and his ride help balance the more serious tone of the film but there are moments that the serious tone is just cheesy. I can see now why some of these elements hindered the film's chance at big box office success and a timely release. In the end though, if you are looking for an action film with very little in the way of plot or story but focuses primarily on visual style it's still a fun little flick.
    Chris B Super Reviewer

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