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Bunraku is a bizarre 2010 film, described as a "computer-animated live action fantasy" that revolves around a No Name Given stock character who goes around fighting crime and taking names. Directed by Guy Moshe, the title of the film is based on a 400-year-old form of Japanese puppet theater.

The plot is as follows: In a post-apocalyptic future, a mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett) and the ardent young Samurai Yoshi (Gackt) both arrive in a town that is terrorized by outrageous and virulent criminals. Each is obsessed with his separate mission, and guided by the wisdom of The Bartender (Woody Harrelson) at the Horseless Horseman Saloon, the two eventually join forces to bring down the corrupt and contemptuous reign of Nicola (Ron Perlman), the awesomely evil "woodcutter" and his lady Alexandra (Demi Moore), a Femme Fatale with a secret past. Heroes triumph here only because the force of their will transforms and transcends both space and time.


This film provides examples of the following tropes:

 Nicola: "You want to kill a man like me, you better stab me in the back. That's the catch. See, honorable men, they die hard. But they still die. It's men like me that survive and conquer."

 Narrator: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, will forever make better grammatical balance than turning the other cheek.”

  • Dark Mistress: Aversion. Alexandra appears to be this at first, but it's soon made clear that she's not a villain and doesn't really love Nicola.
  • Dawson Casting: Teenage Momoko is portrayed by 25 year old Emily Kaiho, who sort of pulls it off by being fresh-faced and petite.
    • Much is made of how Yoshi is the youngest of the protagonists, and inexperienced and hot-headed as a result. Gackt meanwhile is pushing forty (but looks twenty years younger).
  • Death Seeker

 Nicola: "There's a part of me that's hoping they pass through the camp and kill you all, and that there's no one left for them to fight but me. And if I die, it'll be how I always imagined. In battle, while I'm still craving life."

  • Determinator: The Drifter and Yoshi. It takes a lot of damage to put these two down, and even then they'll get back up and keep going.
  • Distressed Damsel: Momoko for most of the second half.
  • Doing It for the Art: This movie is a very stylistic film that cost a lot of time and money to shoot, but Guy Moshe just loved the idea.
  • Double Entendre: When Killer #2 has Momoko in his grasp, he talks suggestively about a ginseng tree that's given him a "hard idea". Traditionally ginseng has been used as an aphrodisiac.
  • The Dragon: Killer #2, who's even referred to as this by the narrator.
  • The Drifter: Take a guess.
  • Due to the Dead: Yoshi makes a point of closing one of his opponent's eyes after he kills them.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Heavily implied to be down to the Nuclear Option, the world was wrecked but not completely destroyed, and civilisation had to rebuild itself.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite being violent and bloodthirsty himself, Nicola still disapproves of Killer #2 showing off his box of dismembered fingers in front of Alexandra.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Yoshi mainly, plus Killer #5. There's Japanese culture everywhere, and bushido is mentioned a couple of times.
  • Evil Knockoff: Before they confront Nicola each hero faces off against an Evil Counterpart.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Ron Perlman as Nicola.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: You would be hard-pressed to find a character in this movie who doesn't know how to fight.
  • Eye Scream: Eddie covers his eyes in fear of this before Killer #2. His fear comes true when he stupidly reveals one and #2 puts a knife in it.
  • Femme Fatale: Alexandra. Nicola states that in a way she is more powerful than him.
  • Fingore: Killer #2 cuts off the fingers of the mooks he disposes of and presents them to Nicola.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Yoshi says the Japanese equivalent of 'shit' when he realises he's surrounded in the bar. Unlike the rest of the Japanese in the movie, it's not subtitled.
  • Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death!: According to our narrator, the only worthwhile reason to die.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The Drifter's preferred weapon. It's notable since everyone else uses acrobatic fighting styles but he proves to be one of the best fighters in the city while using standard punches.
    • On further inspection Drifter seems to use some combination of dirty boxing with a sprinkling of Muay Thai, a style that actually serves pretty well in street fighting, which is basically what most of the big brawls end up devolving into.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Valentine takes an axe to the face.
    • Also when Yoshi kills Killer #9 behind a screen door, spattering it with blood.
  • Great Escape: The Drifter breaking Yoshi out of prison, all done in a single, Badass take.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Perhaps averted in that the reason they were outlawed because they give an unfair advantage. Anyhow, there are no guns in this film, and the fight scenes are cooler because of it.
  • Handicapped Badass: Bartender has a pretty bad limp, but that doesn't stop him braining opponents left and right.
  • Honour Before Reason: The narrator considers this standard practice for the Japanese.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The opening credits state this quite clearly, on the grounds that humans have "a perverse fascination with violence", coming up with "more ways of killing a man than making bread, or making love".
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Killer #2 ends up pinned to a tree.
  • In the Back: The only way Nicola says he can be killed.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: The Drifter can kill a man with one punch, and it doesn't seem to affect his hands aside from one or two instances of him giving them a quick shake.
  • Jump Physics: The movie verges on Wire Fu at times.
  • Kukris Are Kool: Killer #4 uses a pair. Yoshi takes them from him later.
  • La Résistance: The Proletarian League of Defence. The Drifter and Yoshi are a reluctant example; the Bartender prefers to call them 'Gang Busters'.
  • Lemony Narrator: It's Mike Patton, no less.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The Drifter and Yoshi have a proffesional duel when they meet. They end up being pretty evenly matched.
  • Licking the Blade: Killer #2 licks some of Yoshi's blood off his sword in the finale.
  • Lonely At the Top: Not necessarily lonely, but Nicola seems to be pretty bored and longs for a decent challenger to take him on.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Yoshi.
  • MacGuffin: The dragon amulet Nicola stole from Yoshi's clan.
  • Man Bites Man: When one of the Killers has the Drifter in a grapple, he opts to simply bite him in order to force him to let go.
  • Medium Blending: The opening scene uses puppets controlled by people in black, like bunraku theatre. Scene changes have buildings and landscapes open like a pop-up book, and Alexandra's flashback is styled like a Roy Lichtenstein-esque Comic Book. Heck, even the sky is made of origami paper.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The two leads are played by Josh Hartnett and Gackt. This should tell you something.
    • Mike Patton as The Narrator might also qualify on account of his voice.
  • My Cousin Is Off Limits: Yoshi certainly looks less than happy when Momoko smiles at the Drifter.
  • Neck Snap: Killer #7 attempts this on the Drifter. The Drifter later does it to another Killer.
  • Nice Hat: The Drifter has a snazzy fedora he seems very fond of, and likes to take off and put back on dramatically. Many of the killers also have hats and wear them with style.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Almost everyone. Special mention to the breakdancing gangster motorcycle punk rock clown assassins.
  • No Name Given: The Drifter, The Bartender and Killer #2 (though technically this goes for all the Killers).
  • The Obi-Wan: The Bartender to some extent, though rather than being old he's got a limp instead. He takes the heroes under his wing, sets them up and plays Mr. Exposition.
  • One-Man Army: Most of the main characters qualify.
  • The Piano Player: There in one at the Bartender's place, who originally is playing a soulful piece of music until the Bartender throws a piece of fruit at his head. After that, true to the Western form, he plays a jaunty ragtime, then runs out when it looks like the Drifter is going to start a brawl. Later on, he is replaced by a stereo and a sign: "Piano Player Wanted".
  • Plucky Girl: When her father is killed, Momoko attacks Killer #2 with her bare hands. She doesn't last long, but it still took incredible guts.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The nine Killers, all of whom have their own gangs who share the same fighting (and fashion) styles. Killer #2 is the most prolific along with his Red Suits.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Alexandra.
  • Redshirt Army: Literally in this case as the mooks supporting the Big Bad wear red suits.
  • Reluctant Hero: Neither of them are happy about getting involved, though Yoshi is a bit more willing than the Drifter.
  • Riding Into the Sunset: The Drifter laments that he can't seem to find a sunset to ride off into.
  • Samurai Cowboy: It has samurai. It has cowboys. The bartender even ends up serving sushi at his bar.
  • Scenery Porn: While extremely unrealistic, the cityscape is highly detailed and, in the movie itself, colourful too.
  • Shout-Out: The Drifter has a tattoo of American McGee's Cheshire Cat on his wrist.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Two samurai. Two katana. One strike. Awesome.
  • Smoking Is Cool: The Drifter smokes a single cigarette almost through the whole movie. He also shares a smoke with the cowboy killer at the end.
  • Sudden Videogame Moment: The prison break and car chase scenes contain bleeps and chimes that sound like they were lifted from Pac-Man or Donkey Kong.
  • Surprisingly Good English: Fans of Gackt's music may not have been expecting much, but it's clear he's been practising.
  • Super Senses: Killer #2 is implied to have super-human hearing. Alexandra uses it against him.
  • Take Me Instead!: Revealed to have been the reason why Alexandra became Nicola's woman in the first place. It was to save her lover's life. By the ending it's all but confirmed that the Bartender was said lover.
  • Tap Dance Battler: Killer #2 pulls this off nicely at one point fighting with his back towards the enemy. His movements were based on Fred Astaire.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Yoshi during the wasabi-eating scene.
  • Throwing Your Axe Always Works: Nicola is fond of throwing a tomahawk at his opponents. It does the trick.
  • Vice City: Nicola's town is described at the very outset as "God-forsaken". Crime and corruption are rife of course, with the main characters being mob bosses, drifters, mercenaries, Ronin, prostitutes and assassins.
  • Violence Is the Only Option

 The Bartender: "Life's not all about fighting."

The Drifter: "C'mon, you know that ain't true."

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