ASIAN FILM - Review
15:18 - 8th March 2013, by David West

Goemon

Japan, 1582. The Shogun Oda Nobunaga is dead and his former right-hand man Hideyoshi Toyotomi (Eiji Okuda) has claimed power. However, the man idolised by the downtrodden is not Toyotomi but Goemon (Yosuke Eguchi), a dashing thief with a pro-active attitude about wealth re-distribution (steals from the rich, etcetera). When Goemon unwittingly half-inches a box containing a secret that threatens to topple Toyotomi himself, he becomes ensnared in a web of deceit and treachery. The only way out is for Goemon to confront the demons of his past head on.

Directed by Kazuaki Kiriya, Goemon is a sumptuous visual feast. Kiriya takes the historical backdrop of feudal Japan as his starting point to create a singular vision of breathtaking scope. The design freely mixes elements from Japan and medieval Europe with fairy tale princesses, knights in armour and samurai dressed like Star Wars Storm Troopers. Forget verisimilitude - it looks wonderful.

Yosuke Eguchi makes a charismatic hero and receives able support from Takao Osawa as the ninja Saizo. Their first encounter results in a brilliant chase that covers impossible distances and is hugely entertaining. There is one glaring plot hole when Goemon, who can leap tall buildings in a single bound, is unable to rescue a captured friend as he is stuck in a crowd of people. That aside, the movie is a fraction long, particularly the climactic battle, but Goemon is a blast.

Fantastic to behold, inventive and imaginative, Goemon is a treat for the senses.
SCORE: 4/5
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