Hollywood is slowly but surely learning that movies aren't comic books; something -- a lot of somethings, in fact -- can't help but get lost in the translation, no matter how many picture-in-picture "panels" you put in (a la Ang Lee's Hulk) or how much you try to cover the inherent fantasy with hardcore realism (Christopher Nolan's Batman films). However, with the release of Bunraku, we don't think it's going to take long for Hollywood to realize that movies aren't pieces of Japanese puppet theatre, either. The revenge plot in which a gunslinging drifter (he's actually called "The Drifter," played by Josh Hartnett) and a rogue samurai (he's called Yoshi and played by Japanese pop star Gackt) join forces in a dystopian city to take down the villainous Nicola the Woodcutter (Ron Perlman, looking not so much like he's wondering what's going on but rather why he's there) is simple, but the plot's not the point -- writer-director Guy Moshe strives for a visual style that's part Sin City, part The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and part a high school stage production of Our Town; the result is a middling, tiresome mess that will make you wish everyone would stop with the "interesting experiments" already and just make decent movies. The cast -- which includes Woody Harrelson as the wisdom-spewing Bartender, Demi Moore as Perlman's devious courtesan and Trainspotting alum Kevin McKidd as "Killer No. 2" (yeah) -- keeps it watchable, but just barely.
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