Goemon – Kazuaki Kiriya
The young Japanese pioneer director Kazuaki Kiriya returns for his second film using the same technology and art of blue screen from his last film, Casshern, to create a crafted and mesmerising action adventure film loosely based on a real person, Goemon Ishikawa. The story tells of Goemon, a legendary ninja who turns bandit and steals from the rich to give to the poor, like the Japanese equivalent of Robin Hood, but centuries and centuries ago. Kiriya is famous for being one of the first directors to use digital lots where they shot the whole film using green screens where the environment is digitally added in and the end of the production. It’s been used in such films as Sin City, and can be used in an amazing way, like Sin City, recreating the feel for the graphic novels which they were adapted from. Here, the technique is used to create vivid and colourfully backdrops to the fast and furious action set pieces that have been advanced on since Casshern. Setting the film in the past instead of the future, mixing the historical context with out-of-this-world choreography, the fights are reminiscent of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the sense of the absurd nature it turns to, but in the end, it’s an exaggerated story to start off with.
As I’ve mentioned it’s loosely based on the historic story of a ninja bandit who steals from the rich and gives to the poor and within the first twenty minutes, the action that shows this is truly spectacular, with a great performance from the lead who plays Goemon, mixing good emotions with a level of likeability in a film where the script isn’t that great and that you can’t really connect well to the characters, it all seems out of reality. Missing a great script and some great acting, you step away from the fact that it’s meant to be serious and you can’t believe in the characters, you just take it for face value. I do recommend seeing this film if you loved Casshern, silly action films, great martial art sequences and love looking at beautiful settings for most of the film; you’ll probably love this film. Sure it takes a little while to get into with the amount of twists and turns and the amount of characters there are in the beginning, you’ll soon find the basic plot of betrayal and revenge leading to a great final thirty minutes of out of this world fighting.