In Japanese dialogue with Chinese & English subtitles
Director: Kazuaki Kiriya
Cast: Yosuke Eguchi, Ryoko Hirosue, Takao Osawa, Jun Kaname , Tetsuji Tamayama, Hong Man Choi, Hashinosuke Nakamura, Susumu Terajima, Mikijiro Hira, Masatoh Ibu, Eiji Okuda
RunTime: 2 hrs 8 mins
Released By: InnoForm Media & Cathay-Keris
Day: 25 February 2010
1582, the mighty warlord Nobunaga was betrayed by his retainer,
Mitsuhide. The cruel Hideyoshi subjugated Mitsuhide’s
warriors and took over as Ruler of the kingdom of Japan.
Master thief Goemon – the Japanese Robin Hood –
steals a wooden box once owned by Mitsuhide. Hideyoshi’s
men, including Lord Mitsunari and his legendary ninja Saizo,
are after the box and Goemon finds himself fighting for his
life. He discovers evidence inside the box of the secret pact
between Mitsuhide and Hideyoshi to assassinate Nobunaga. This
revelation would tear Japan apart. Moreover Nobunaga was like
a father to Goemon – the betrayal could not be more
Goemon enters Osaka Castle, intent on killing Hideyoshi, and
finds the beautiful Princess Chacha. Hideyoshi’s guards
attack, and it is only through the surprise intervention of
Saizo that Goemon is saved.
As youths, Saizo and Goemon trained together under Nobunaga.
Goemon was assigned as Princess Chacha’s bodyguard and
fell in love. After their master’s death, Saizo chose
duty and went to work for Mitsunari. Goemon chose freedom.
When Hideyoshi announces his plans to invade Korea and China,
making clear his intention to drag Japan into decades of brutal
warfare, Lord Ieyasu convinces Princess Chacha to become Hideyoshi’s
concubine so that she can betray him – a painful decision
as her heart belongs to Goemon. Hungry for power, Mitsunari
orders Saizo to kill Hideyoshi.
Goemon and Saizo mount an incendiary attack on Hideyoshi’s
ships, but Saizo is captured and later put to death. Goemon
storms Osaka Castle, single-handedly killing most of Hideyoshi’s
men in a breathtaking display of martial prowess, before slaying
Hideyoshi and escaping with Chacha. But with Hideyoshi dead,
the armies of Mitsunari and Ieyasu face off to determine the
new ruler of Japan by force. Goemon must return to the battlefield
one last time if he is to bring peace to his country…
"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty
by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."
- Martin Luther King, Jr
movie reviews for Goemon would start by mentioning about the
director Kazuaki Kiriya and his other movie Casshern. That's
because in the span of two movies, the director had created
an unique flair in making his movies and his visually stylish
cinematography had became a rather instantly recognizable
trademark. Beside that, both of his movies contain philosophical
musing about wars.
start with the most prominent trait of his trademark and that
would be his style of visual treat for motion picture.
others tend to use the blue/green screen special effects to
create believable visuals that ease the tell tale sign of
computer aids, Kazuaki Kiriya bask in the obvious usage of
such effects and made it glorious in it's own rights. It's
easy to tell that the environment that the actors performed
in were mainly constructed by green screen effects. But yet
the scenery and settings looked so grand and spectacular that
the unnatural contrast between actors and special effects
had an unique feel to it.
reason why this unnatural contrast of what's real and what's
constructed look so good in Kazuaki Kiriya's films would be
how he captures a sort of live action anime visualization
with his cinematography. His films are almost a direct translation
of Japanese animation (anime) into a live action film. That
means in Goemon, you get Ninjas soaring to great heights and
blazing at supersonice speed while looking (super anime) cool
that, Goemon (like Casshern) is filled with flashy and frequent
costume changes that would rivial those seen in Star Wars
the Phantom Menace and Chen Kaige's The Promise. It would
seem that every time a character appear in a new scene, he
or she will be dressed in exquisite costumes. Visually, Goemon
is simply spectacular and mesmerizing.
candies aside, Goemon is a continuation of Kazuaki Kiriya
lambasting on war mongers and oppression. It takes bit of
Robin Hood, Mel Gibson's Braveheart and Zhang Yimou's Hero
and blend them into it's own tale. It brought out issues on
why the oppressed could be helpless against despot even when
they posses the ability to right the wrong. It deliberates
on how the war mongers' greed are build on the commoners sufferings.
It also has memorable moments of noble self sacrifice for
the sake of the greater good and it works as an good construct
to the Ishikawa Goemon mytho (a real life Japanese legendary
Goemon lacks would be the building of a stronger cause of
the protagonist and it's one too many climatic finish. There
were too many climatic moments that felt like it was a good
opportunity to end this story. It felt like the director had
3 good endings for this movie and tried to squeeze them into
one. Those endings are good on their own but the linkage between
them dragged the pace of story out and in it's own way, it
derails various character buildup in this movie.
compared to Casshern, the story for Goemon is more lighthearted
and simple to follow. With a charismatic lead actor, a beautiful
lead actress and supported by various good / interesting looking
cast, Goemon is a visual feast in every possible sense. It
has good anti war morale message in it and the combination
of all those above made this movie a highly entertaining one.
(Exquisite Visual Entertainment)
Review by Richard Lim Jr