a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Goemon / 五衛門

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Kazuaki Kiriya’s free flowing adaptation and expansion on the folk legend of Japan’s own Robin Hood is a big, splashy, garish Hollywood calling card that is mildly coherent (unlike his first epic, Casshern), yet ultimately unsatisfying, even if one’s only desire is to jump into a world of computer generated churning action. Goemon opens on a cleverly cross cut set of character introductions, rooftop chases and a fantasy-filled and fantastic recreation of Azuchi-Momoyama period Japan, introducing Yosuke Eguchi as the handsome and roguish Goemon. The red flags go up as a Luhrmanesque dance sequence follows, featuring sexily clad geisha-ettes bumping and grinding to a contemporary beat. Putting historical inaccuracies aside (Gatling guns in 16th century Japan?), Kiriya’s main problem is making visual and logical sense in his action sequences. And the CGI, though creditable, is fairly derivative in big set pieces and poorly done in several sequences. The wildly convoluted plot highlights some good character actors and in a clever twist, the emperor Hideyoshi Toyotomi, historically portrayed positively, is deliciously evil in Eiji Okuda’s hands.

Originally published in EL Magazine, May 2009

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

May 1, 2009 at 11:57 pm

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