BUNRAKU tries to be a madcap, genre bending bonzo Cowboys versus Samurai flick. There’s a slew of name actors in the film (from Woody Woody Harrelson to Demi Moore), a highly stylized look, and a large number of set and action pieces that should keep things ramblin’.
Alas, even the more kinetic fights fall flat. While ROME’s Kevin Kidd does his utmost in creating a great, archtypical baddie, it all feels more than a bit forced. Save for Kidd and genre fave Ron Perlman, the rest of the cast seem unsure of their roles in the work, lost amongst the greenscreen insanity and oblique visuals.
BUNRAKU is an interesting experiment, taking the more radical parts of Asian action movies and using a Western cast to craft it. I do have a niggling fear that it’s this very familiarity with cast (as opposed to a more “foreign” take, complete with subtitles) that makes the suspension of disbelief and forgiveness for the stylistic missteps of production all that more challenging.