Saturday, October 3, 2015

Bunraku (and, More Specifically, Yoshi)

Every now and then, I watch a movie solely for one reason: I like one of the actors. In the case of Bunraku, I not only wanted to watch the movie - but, since I couldn't find it anywhere to rent, I up and bought it. Why? Solely for Gackt, a Japanese singer/actor I'm fond of.
Gackt is the disgruntled passenger in the back seat.
Bunraku (Japanese Puppet Theater) is a highly stylized movie about the Drifter (Josh Hartnett) and the samurai Yoshi (Gackt) who band together to defeat the evil Woodcutter Nikolai (Ron Perlman) and save the town currently crushed in his iron fist.
I started the movie with my mom and sister, both of whom decided they didn't like it within the first ten minutes. It was so odd that I wasn't sure what I thought of it - but, as I like odd things, I decided to stick with it. I wasn't disappointed. The movie was even more stylized than The Warrior's Way and took some effort to get used to, but once it happened, I found a highly enjoyable movie.
The story itself is very simple - two heroes with their own motives start a small uprising to take out the bad guy. Plot-wise, not much is there. But the real joy of the movie wasn't in the plot - it was in the bromance between Yoshi and the Drifter. From their first meeting and consequent brawl to their hilarious parting of ways, it was a delight to watch.
Yoshi lives to restore honor to his family, while the Drifter lives for revenge. They frequently clash, but when they work together it's a sight to behold. The characters are all stereotypes (but the movie thrives on stereotypes), but they flourish as stereotypes. The storytelling isn't perfect, and Josh Hartnett's acting leaves much to be desired - but Yoshi, the reason I bought the movie, is perfect and worth every penny.
 Also, I may or may not have taken roughly 50 screencaps while watching the movie. It's not for everyone - the extreme stylization, use of sets and CGI, the stereotyping, and the frequently flat acting from Josh Hartnett are obstacles to overcome, but the relationship between Yoshi and the Drifter is, to me, completely worth it.
 Have you seen Bunraku or The Warrior's Way? If not, you should give it a try - the style isn't for everyone, but it might just be for you.


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