What happens when college is over and you are in the real world, facing debt and joblessness, growing up, having to take responsibility for your life? In the current era, this is a question dealt with in Girls and the answer is: inappropriate sex and relationships, poor life choices and drugs and alcohol. What about the mid-eighties? Actually, it’s pretty much the same. But with bigger hair, and the ability to be a star playing saxophone in a college bar (and jeepers, playing the saxophone makes you sexy to all the chicks and really, really sweaty).
It was a classic tale with many members of the “brat pack” of the eighties: Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy. Friends from college being forced to face their demons. And there is not a single character that I did not want to slap. For me, this doesn’t hold up at all… but I think that if I had loved it in the way I loved Young Guns and The Lost Boys, I would probably be ranting and raving about it here. I can see what people would love, I just can’t love it myself.
Bunraku is a 400-year-old form of Japanese puppet theatre, and whilst this is a live-action film, it is very much in the style of puppet theatre. The set has a very theatrical style that reminds me of 1920s German expressionistic films like Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. Meanwhile, the plot is typical of that of Bunraku theatre.
It is set in a world in the aftermath of a massive world war, guns have been outlawed, so battles are waged with the blade. There is a city which is run by the gangs of Nicola the Woodsman (Ron Pearlman), a character who is rarely, if ever, seen. A Drifter (Josh Hartnet) arrives in town and approaches the local bartender (Woody Harrelson) looking to kill Nicola. A second man also arrives in town, a Samuri warrior (Gackt) in search of a medallion that Nicola stole from his family. The three become and unlikely alliance in the fight against Nicola.
Stylistically, this is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. Plotwise, it’s got a few holes, but the awesome fight sequences make up for it. Definitely worth enjoying, and if it gets a run at the Astor or somewhere on a big screen, check it out.