Bunraku - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bunraku Reviews

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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.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2012
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!
Beefy
Super Reviewer
January 5, 2012
Style to spare but nothing else to offer. Unoriginal, thin, overlong, and often silly.
skactopus
Super Reviewer
January 5, 2012
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.
SC007
Super Reviewer
February 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.
Super Reviewer
April 5, 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.
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2011
Along the lines of "Sin City" and "Watchmen", "Bunraku" creates an artistic and graphically induced world while steering clear of the laughable and pretentious world of a film like "The Warrior's Way". The characters are interesting with the actors fitting their parts surprisingly well. The visuals are up to par with high budget films, with many of the stories being told through paper cutouts. The fight scenes grow slightly extended, but with the "Kill Bill"-like set up to the villains, the viewer is constantly engaged in the story.
Super Reviewer
August 25, 2010
The Michael Bay of writers, except substitute explosions for fights. Ugh This movie was mind-blowingly stupid. I'm am amazed that his film even got made.
Super Reviewer
½ September 13, 2011
The word is style. This movie is western, Asian, video game, comedy, drama, action, and play. If anything, this movie should win the award for Best Set Design. I absolutely loved the fact that the background was made out of paper with gorgeous soft lighting behind it. Ron Perlman was cool as always and I love that Demi Moore played his woman and not some faceless actress half his age. Kevin McKidd was awesome as the slick-suited Killer #2, Woody Harrelson was probably playing himself for all I know, but he was fun as always, and Josh Hartnett and Gackt made for entertaining but flawed heroes (flawed in a good way, made them more human). Bunraku is the story of a gunless cowboy (Hartnett) and a swordless samurai (Gackt) both out seeking revenge on the crime boss of a small town named Niccola (Perlman). Again, Perlman was just too smooth. This film could've been more exciting, which is my only critique. Interesting premise that just came off as tame in the long run. But the cinematography. So excellent.
Super Reviewer
November 8, 2011
Interesting idea... cool visuals... weak execution. Too bad, cause it has a really cool cast and a lot of style.
John2223
Super Reviewer
September 14, 2011
It has stars BUT the execution is bad, the narrator voice is annoying, the fight scenes are too long that turn boring, well... the complete movie has dragged pacing, and the artistic look fail.
The movie running time is 118 minutes and I just watched an 50 minutes or so of boredom because I couldn't stand to watch a minute more.\

Boring+poor executed+uninteresting="Bunraku"
½ January 29, 2016
it's definitely different, it is visually vibrant every color is bright even black...the story line is a twist on an average revenge plot and the fact that there are NO GUNS ALLOWED is awesome you have to fight differently..don't worry not spoiling it's revealed within 2 minutes of watching. Great cast and great movie
½ April 18, 2015
Is it predictable and cliche, yes. Do i care? NO! See this is what I like to call a face value movie, a movie that you either accept at face value, or you don't. Words like plot, premise, and story are wasted here as this is more of a sit back and enjoy your popcorn movie. Not so much a check your brain at the door film but it is for lack of a better term a kung fu flick. All the talking serves to do is establish which side the characters are on and set up the fights scenes. It's refreshing so see stylized visual different movies, Tim Burtonesque in it's visuals. My kind of movie. I only dinged it for being too predictable and some people aren't gonna like this kind of mindless action film. But if you love kung fu films, you'll love this film. if you don't (what's wrong with you?) then you won't
January 3, 2015
Happy birthday fucker

A city ruled by gangs has one that oversees them all, lead by Nicola. Any gang can challenge for the title of gang leader of the city, but no one ever beats Nicola and his killers. One day a man bent on revenge, and an Asian man on a secret mission, land in town on the same train and each threaten to break Nicola's infrastructure and maybe claim the city's martial arts title.

"Did someone die?"
"Not yet, but the prospect seems promising"

Guy Moshe, director of Holly, delivers Bunraku as his second major motion picture. The storyline for this starts with a lot of potential but plateaus quickly and concludes disappointingly. When the film first started, I had a lot of hope this could be a bit like Sin City; unfortunately, this falls flat. The cast had potential but delivers average performances. The cast includes Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Demi Moore, Ron Perlman, and Kevin McKidd.

"Things never go well before first going wrong."

This is another random movie I came across on Netflix so I decided to give it a shot. I thought the cast looked interesting and fun. The film honestly had an amazing kickoff and I got excited to see its direction, but it quickly took a bad turn as they tried to develop Perlman's character. The film kind of fell flat and crashed. I recommend skipping this.

"Are you here for the ball, my friend?"

Grade: D+/C-
½ August 17, 2014
Shockingly terrible, Bunraku is an extreme example of style over any kind of substance, at all. Bunraku tries to tell a simple tale of good versus evil in post-apocalyptic setting, with a cowboy and a samurai going up against a murderous warlord called the woodcutter. The film has a very unique visual and cinematic style, with it's sensibilities coming from both theatre and videom games. But Buraku's visual style, which is all this movie has going for it, loses audience interest after about half an hour. You just become numb to all the forced quirkiness and the weirdness of the set design that you just stop caring. The film also contains poetic aspirations which are very annoying and pretentious. I actually stopped listening the around the fifth time the villain tried to give a profound speech. So all you're left with is the story, which is so threadbare it loses interest before the visual style does. And then there's the characters, whom are cardboard cutouts, poorly acted, without any definable characteristic to speak of. All this would have made for a bad movie, but what pushes Bunraku into the realm of the truly awful is how boring the whole thing is. It starts to get dull at around the half-hour mark, and then proceeds to get more and more tedious until I was desperate for the whole thing to end. To my complete horror the film turned out to be two hours long, thirty-five minutes longer than it should have been. It turned out to be one of the most painful sit-throughs of a film I've ever endured. Save yourself two hours, don't sit-through this unwatchable film.
½ August 14, 2014
Shockingly terrible, Bunraku is an extreme example of style over any kind of substance, at all. Bunraku tries to tell a simple tale of good versus evil in post-apocalyptic setting, with a cowboy and a samurai going up against a murderous warlord called the woodcutter. The film has a very unique visual and cinematic style, with it's sensibilities coming from both theatre and videom games. But Buraku's visual style, which is all this movie has going for it, loses audience interest after about half an hour. You just become numb to all the forced quirkiness and the weirdness of the set design that you just stop caring. The film also contains poetic aspirations which are very annoying and pretentious. I actually stopped listening the around the fifth time the villain tried to give a profound and speech. So all you're left with is the story, which is so threadbare it loses interest before the visual style does. And then there's the characters, whom are cardboard cutouts, poorly acted, without any definable characteristic to speak of. All this would have made for a bad movie, but what pushes Bunraku into the realm of the truly awful is how boring the whole thing is. It starts to get dull at around the half-hour mark, and then proceeds to get more and more tedious until I was desperate for the whole thing to end. To my complete horror the film turned out to be two hours long, thirty-five minutes longer than it should have been. It turned out to be one of the most painful sit-throughs of a film I've ever endured. Save yourself two hours, don't sit-through this unwatchable film.
February 15, 2014
Was pleasantly surprised with film didn't even put it on never mind think it was going to be good but kept my interest. I feel like half the cast should have been replaced but Hartnet and Harrelson hold their own in a bizarre aesthetically pleasing movie.
January 18, 2014
This is a fun movie. It is all about style and colorful characters performing in a very stylized manner in a very colorful fantasy setting. The story assembles a collection of classic tropes from western and martial arts films. The production design and visual effects are quite surreal and quite beautiful. The acting is very good with direction that is more choreography than direction. A very enjoyable and very offbeat movie.
½ December 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.
November 30, 2013
my favorite movie, Bunraku doesn't try to be like other movies, and it feels a lot like a comic book.
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