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Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle
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Members of a warrior clan are being mysteriously beheaded at Gojoe Bridge. A former Buddhist monk and his grave robbing sidekick set out to unmask and destroy the powerful evil forces that lurk at Gojoe. A lavishly produced, special effects-filled, super-charged samurai fantasy! Features: Behind the Scenes Featurette, Original Trailer. Spoken Languages: English, Japanese with English Subtitles. Special Features: trailers, behind the scenes, 5.1. digital surround sound.
Exhilarating and breathtakingly photographed. --MidnightEye.comSee all Editorial Reviews
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Benkei tries to enlist the help of his former mentor, who warns Benkei that he is not ready for this mission. Further, this monk warns Benkei that he will fail because he has not seen the way. Yeah, I know, sounds like a bunch of silly philosophical mumbo-jumbo, [and maybe it is] but that does not mean the film is not entertaining. At least for me. Moreover, I really liked the character actors in the film too. Plus, the antagonist in the film is portrayed by (Tadanobu Asano), who gives a very good portrayal in his role as a gifted swordsman. Tadanobu Asano is trying to reclaim his place as the rightful heir to the land, and watching his performance makes this film a worthwhile watch. Plus, the cinematography in the film is very good. Although there are spots here and there in the film where the picture is not very clear, they are few and far between. The film itself has great cinematography.
The films narrative takes place in 12th Century Japan, at a place called Gojoe Bridge. Apparently, many members of a warrior clan are being killed by an unknown entity. Benkei, a former warrior has become a Buddhist and refuses to kill anymore, however, he changes his mind and decides to destroy whatever evil is lurking at Gojoe Bridge. Is it human? Or is it something else? I will leave this to the viewer to watch. I can tell you, however, that this movie does not disappoint. It sure did not disappoint me. I thought the cinematography and the acting and action sequences were very good, and the film definitely has an original storyline. I am a huge fan of the Toshirio Mifune and Akira Kurosawa classics. [Not that I am comparing this film to those earlier classics]. I am not. However, I like it when directors come along with something different for a change, and this film is definitely different. And once again, this is not a film for everyone, therefore, rent it first. [Stars: 4.5]
People who cannot "get" this movie probably also do not like Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), or Cha-no-yu (Tea Ceremony), practice martial arts and meditation or anything that takes patience and a deep spiritual understanding.
If one understands Japanese culture and mind, then this picture has great significance. Meticulous detail oriented movies as this need a deeper look and an understanding of symbology such as represented in like films.
This is a beautiful and rare look into imagination and spirit that the director has gifted us with and I for one, will enjoy it many times.
For those who did not "get" it, watch it until you do. Why does everything have to have a label? Patience.
I am annoyed that it is getting poor reviews by people who were expecting some sort of Wu-Tang Baby Cart Master Killer blood and guts actioner. But it's not their fault that this film is incorrectly marketed.
People who will enjoy this movie:
- fans of director Sogo Ishii's slower paced films, e.g. "Angel Dust"
- fans of other foreign cinema especially Japanese cinema, e.g. Rashomon (although I would never claim it is in the same league as such a classic)
- those who like cerebral, beautifully shot films
- people with an interest in Japanese mythology or Shinto, but okay with it addressed on an obviously simplified level
People who are looking for the following should avoid this movie:
- action (though there is some)
- fast pace
- linear story
- everything spelled out and explained
The high points of this film include the beautiful imagery, intense slow-burn acting of Daisuke RYU as Benkei, good performances by all the supporting cast, pretty nifty costumes, a really awesome climax.
Oddly enough, I found Tadanobu ASANO, who I usually love, to be only so-so in this film. Maybe it was his bad hair.
The reason I give this film only a 4 is that it really is a bit long. Nonetheless, Media Blasters did do the right thing by including the full international version, instead of the cut version.
The DVD features are great, with both the original Japanese dialogue, nicely done subtitles, an English dub track, and some nice "making of" featurettes.
This is an interesting, unique film but only for the right audience.
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I did understand the plot, rambling and strange as it was, but I doubt the casual viewer would be able to...Read more
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