In a world without guns, a mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett) arrives in a strange town terrorised by the ruthless Woodcutter (Ron Perlman) and his army of thugs, headed by the vicious Killer #2 (Kevin McKidd). The drifter is forced to trust a young samurai (Japanese superstar Gackt) looking to restore his family’s honour, and the local bartender (Woody Harrelson) with his own secret score to settle, as they team up to destroy the Woodcutter’s tyrannical and corrupt regime.
Using cutting-edge visuals and breathtaking fight choreography, Bunraku, also starring Demi Moore, is a wholly new and original take on the action and martial arts genre: Kill Bill meets Sin City.
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If you're looking for a straight action movie, forget it. This film is, quite frankly, unique. Stylistically it is more theatre than movie, and the choreography is fantastic. The story itself is really quite straight forward. In simple terms: the Drifter is out for revenge, and Yoshi is recovering stolen property. Josh Hartnett & Gackt work really well together, and Woody Harrelson is brilliant as the Bartender. The villains of the piece are well played by Ron Perlman, whose Woodcutter seems tired of it all, and Kevin McKidd's 'Killer No.2' who is a cold blooded psychopath. That said, McKidd's character often provides humour, and his fight scenes are stunning. This movie received a lot of negative reviews, possibly because people were expecting an action movie and got something a bit more theatrical and, dare I say it, refined. It is a beautiful film, and I can't think of any movie that compares. If you like theatre and don't feel the need for lots of screaming and shouting and explosions - give it a go.
I love Bunraku. A truly misunderstood masterpiece!
Strangely the reason behind the name of this film and the style of backdrops and scenery is not mentioned either in the film or on the packaging. Bunraku is a style of Japanese pupettry where the puppeteers are quite visible as they control the puppets. Bunraku uses this as a basis for it's style and visual flair. Even without that though this is a terrific, albeit straightforward journey. Much like the old spaghetti westerns and the Japanese films that inspired them, Bunraku is the tale of the lone drifter (Josh Hartnett) on a quest. The action sequences with Josh Hartnett, with Gackt and even with even Kevin Mckidd are beautifully choreagraphed and exhilaratlingly visceral. If you like western style movies, martial arts movies or just plain stylish movies - Bunraku is definitely worth a look. Oh and of course it's got Japanese megastar Gackt (Moonchild, FFVII Crisis Core, Fist of the North Star) in it too - which is worth the admission price alone if you ask me.