Sci-Fi, Westerns, Martial Arts Combine for 'Bunraku'

First Feature Boasts Great Cast, Including Josh Hartnett and Demi Moore

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Poster for 'Bunraku."

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Poster for 'Bunraku."

Sometimes you read about a movie and find it hard to believe that so many big-name actors jumped on board for it. It looks so quirky and odd. However, somehow this first-time director got all these stars to be in his little film. Those were my exact thoughts when I was exposed to "Bunraku."

The story of "Bunraku" centers on "a mysterious drifter and an ardent young Japanese warrior Yoshi 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 at the Horseless Horseman Saloon, the two eventually join forces to bring down the corrupt and contemptuous reign of Nicola, the awesomely evil 'woodcutter' and his lady Alexandra, a femme fatale with a secret past."

I have to say that "Bunraku" looks very promising. It is a bizarre mix of action, sci-fi, martial arts, and fantasy. The sets for the film remind me of that episode of the original "Star Trek" series where the away team is trapped on an alien planet with a set of the OK Corral standing in the middle of nowhere. It looked so out of place with the red sky shining above and around it. "Star Trek" always had those weird, clear-colored artificial skies that made you feel like you were in some surreal world. That's what "Bunraku" reminded me of when I saw the trailer.

The movie also reminded me of Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch" at first glance. Granted, it looks like a much better and thought-out version of that disaster of a film. It also brought to mind some of the visual looks of "300" and "Sin City." There's one part that had a guy jumping from one building to another that reminded me of "The Spirit." That's not to say that "Bunraku" looks like a complete rehash of those films. It just looks like they inspired the filmmaker.

The cast of "Bunraku" is utterly amazing. It includes Josh Hartnett, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Ron Perlman, and Gackt. How this movie attracted actors of this magnitude is so strange. Actually, there are many actors who like to do things a bit off the beaten path occasionally.

"Bunraku" was written and directed by Guy Moshe. The movie was filmed in Bucharest, Romania. It is being released in limited theaters through ARC Entertainment on September 30, 2011.

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