Monday, September 15, 2014


GoemonGoemon is a Japanese folk hero in the tradition of Robin Hood -fighting tyranny and robbing the rich to give to the poor.

So he was inevitably the subject of an action movie, simply called "Goemon." This sleek, stylized historical-fantasy movie looks a little like the ninja lovechild of The Adventures of Robin Hood and 300, but the mix of humor, romance and sharply-drawn action takes a shockingly dark turn in the movie's last third.

Goemon Ishikawa (Yôsuke Eguchi) is a clever master thief who likes to give his stolen valuables to the impoverished. But fifteen years ago, he was a loyal ninja serving the brilliant warlord Oda Nobunaga (Hashinosuké Nakamura) -and after Nobunaga was murdered by a traitor, the disillusioned Goemon became a wandering thief and friend to the poor.

That is, until a literal Pandora's box shows him that Toyotomi Hideyoshi was involved in his master's death -the very man who is taking Goemon's childhood sweetheart Chacha (Ryoko Hirosue) as his concubine, and preparing to declare war using Western weapons. Along with his old friend/rival Saizo (Takao Ôsawa), Goemon sets out to attack Hideyoshi... but they soon discover that this path only leads to tragedy.

"Goemon" is one of those movies that has a good-but-not-great script, paired with spellbindingly lovely visuals -explosive ninja battles on golden rooftops, waterfalls surrounded by glimmering fireflies, and sea battles full of blood and fire. It's a pretty wild ride, and the only problem is that a couple of the characters feel unnecessary (the little boy Goemon rescues).

The first two-thirds of the movie are a pretty steady stream of action, brief romantic scenes, and sepia-toned flashbacks of Goemon's childhood (and especially of the charismatic Nobunaga). But after that, the movie becomes much darker and bleaker, with innocent people being horribly killed and Goemon becoming a more hardened, dark person.

Egichi does a great job as Goemon, both as the rakish thief and the tormented ninja avenger -sort of like a Japanese Errol Flynn with a touch of Harrison Ford. He's funny, charming and eventually heartwrenching. Hirosue is decent, although she doesn't get to do much except wear enormous dresses and look sad.

But honestly, the title character often gets eclipsed by Saizo -this is a strong, tragic man who is torn between his old friendship, his intense love for his wife and baby, and his often nasty job. Osawa gives a beautiful performance full of raw emotion, which climaxes in an impassioned speech to the masses, apparently inspiring them to rebel.

"Goemon" sculpts a folk legend into a fun, thrilling and ultimately tragic adventure movie, and turns out a pretty good movie while it's at it.

Goemon a body guard to a princess turned thief after his lord Oda Nobunagas assassination chooses freedom over service but freedom as we know

comes with price. Stealing from the rich and corrupt and giving to the poor. during one of his heists he comes across a mysterious box that could

unravel a deadly conspiracy and tear Japan apart at the seams into a another civil war can Goemon put a stop to this chaos or will he be torn apart with it?

A beautifully done film with amazing special effects through green screen which most of the film is done in with plenty of emotional impact and crazy over the top action.I was truly impressed with this film on all levels and enjoyed it the beautiful done cgi scenery, the great action scenes through out the

film especially at the last 30 or so minutes of which is pure totally unrealistic but awesome action where he takes on hordes of enemies to enact revenge

for a loss of a friend and save Japan from yet another civil war and finally bring peace to a war torn land.

I highly recommend this film but if you have doubts about it then i would recommend renting it first. But if you like Japanese action films

with some history put in although changed for dramatic effect or if you simply like action films i say buy it, i did and it was truly worth it.

With my respect Thanks for reading my review

I hope it was helpful.

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This movie caught my eye, as I have been trying to increase my Foreign Film collection. I have always been curious with anything that has to do with Japanese history (especially the unification period). It literally grabbed my attention in the first minute and a half, and never let go. The time period this movie is based on was one full of civil strife and unrest for Japan, with class and rank clearly defined and Feudal Lords constantly fighting for power to control the whole country. And while the movie stylizes the mood and scenery greatly in regards to these things, it still held some historical accuracy. Most of the main characters in the movie actually existed during this time period: Oda Nobunaga, Mitsuhide Aketchi, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Ieyasu Tokogawa, Hitori Hanzo. I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones I caught.

Many of the reviews have brought up the utter beauty of the landscape and architectural design. Needless to say, I am on the same side of the fence. Scenes in the forest FEEL like a forest, scenes in a castle FEEL like a castle, and so on. Sometimes you DO feel like it's obvious you're looking at a green screen or floor. But it all seems integrated smoothly with the actors/actresses utilizing that space, so you don't end up paying attention to it that closely. The sets are busy; lots of extras wandering around and adding "life" to the background. The colors are vibrant and the sound is crisp and clear. My only qualm with quality is that the English dub track sounds a bit "goofy," whereas the Japanese track is emotional and feels more decisive. Also with the Japanese track, you get 6.1 surround instead of Eng 5.1.....not a huge difference if you don't have the extra speaker.

The action is frequent and fast! Obviously, as one can see from the preview, the scope of realism is stretched. But what good are action sequences that abide by all natural laws of physics?! Joking....but the action is good. Some shots are up close and a little cluttered, but others are even paced and use a lot of form.

To sum it up, this movie really took my breath away with an, albeit, LOOSE historical relevance, but historical nonetheless. The combination of action, drama, atmosphere, mood, and dialog progresses the movie fluidly and you may be surprised by how many times you catch yourself saying "ah" or "wow."

*on a side note* If you are looking for any literature regarding the subject matter of this time period in Japanese history, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend "TAIKO." It is a very detailed, and very long book (but worth the read) regarding the deep relationship between Hideyoshi Toyotomi and the majority of those listed in the first paragraph of this review.

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Far from a perfect movie, but a great movie none-the-less as the whole rises above the parts. For me, it's the underlying historical themes about fate, personal choices, the lust for power and it's never-ending affect on the world that pushes it over the line. I truly enjoyed it. The plot was interesting and complex. Visually, if you accept the film on its own terms, it's stunning. It has the usual sense of duty and fate over-whelming personal lives so common in this genre, but with some hopeful twists thrown in.

An apt commentary on today's world, at heart, it can be enjoyed on many levels. Two thumbs up!

2011-08-11 Update -I think about this flawed masterpiece a lot and that's another indication of the substance and value embedded within it. I'm at 6 decades now, probably not in the target demographic, but I loved this highly original effort. It definitely struck a chord with me. Some of the visuals are quite memorable in and of themselves. Quite an interesting work.

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The movie seems to have the mask of being a "robin hood" themed movie but I found it to be such a small part of the movie to not even talk about it. Let's say maybe 5 minutes worth of the movie. Essentially Goemon goes by the "Greatest thief to live" but he started out as a ninja serving his master that saved him as a small child and taught him how to become strong so that nothing could be taken from him. His master/mentor then was assasinated in which Goemon then took on his "freedom" and went into stealing for a living.

Then his past comes back to haunt him and you begin to see how all of the main characters have such a deep history together and everything you thought was wrong.

In the end I would say this was a pretty good movie. It has some great fighting scenes but I will warn you that this is not a realistic action movie. It has unbeleiveable jumping and swordplay that go well with ninja movies.

Not sure if I will watch this movie again though. I would recommend a rent

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