Bunraku takes place in the distant future in a town called Little Westworld, where guns have been outlawed and people use melee weapons to fight. Gangs now rule the world and to be number one, you must kill your way to the top.
Little Westworld is ruled by Nicola the Woodcutter (Ron Perlman) and his gang of killers. They bring order to the town through the Red Suits, led by Killer No. 2 (Kevin McKidd). The henchmen use violence to extort from the businesses and citizens.
Their reign of terror in Little Westworld is challenged by the newcomer The Drifter (Josh Harnett). He has his eyes set on The Woodcutter. He meets Yoshi (Gackt), who also wants something from Nicola. The two join forces to go through the gang of killers and to Nikola himself.
Narrator: Long before the dawn of man, strife was already a major component of life. Wherever a creature shared a piece of land with another, it was just a matter of time until a struggle for resources would ensue. Man was no different, showcasing a perverse fascination with violence. Man and civilization brought forth more innovative ways of taking human life than any other function needed for survival. There are more ways of killing a man than there are ways of making bread or making love. While the latter two are quite limited in scale, man has gone beyond imagination with his capacity to destroy life with one push of a button. Between uncontrolled crime in the streets and escalating war on the borders, it was all just a matter of time. From the ashes, a new world was born. The surviving nations finally realized that man’s unstoppable appetite for destruction must be contained. A ban on all firearms was strictly enforced. And just as the sword gave way to the gun, the gun gave way to the sword; leaving the authorities to carry the hope of their nations on the tip of a spear. Little did they know that the self-destructive nature of man could never be stopped. There’s not enough love in this world, not enough money to prevent this ancient circle from coming around again. When the time is ripe, evil will rise; personified in our case with a wood cutter. Nicola is his name, and this is his town, his land. The God-forsaken place where our tale begins. And as many ways as there are of killing a man, there are equally as many ways of telling this old tale of strife.
Harnett and Gackt played their parts well. The same can also be said with the rest of the cast, including Woody Harrelson as The Bartender and Demi Moore as Alexandra. But I bet that the roles didn’t give them much of a challenge. Ron Perlman looks like he was back in the 80s as Vincent in the TV show Beauty and the Beast but instead of Linda Hamilton as beauty, we get Demi Moore.
Bunraku is a good combination of samurai film and spaghetti western set in a pop-up origami book. It is visually stunning. It’s like a moving picture made to entertain the audience. The backdrop is made of drawings, wood and cardboard that looks like a scene straight out of a popup book.
Overall, I like the feel of the movie but it is definitely not for everyone. If you can appreciate a visually stimulating experimental movie with a shallow plot but kickass action, then go ahead and watch it.