A creative re-imagination of Japan’s Robin Hood story, Goemon (五右衛門) delights with its gorgeous backdrops and atmospheric fight sequences.
After the death of his master Oda Nobunaga, ninja Ishikawa Goemon switches to being a Robin Hood like thief. One night, he steals a mysterious box with strange wordings on it. The secret contained within the box would eventually reveal the truth behind Nobunaga’s death, and possibly reunite Goemon with his beloved Princess Chacha.
I watched Goemon on release day back in 2009.
Prior to that, I looked forward to the movie for months. Reason? I’ve been a fan of Konami’s Ganbare Goemon game series since 12. The game, of course, based on the same legendary folk hero.
Did the movie satisfy? Well, I would say it mostly did. On the other hand, I did leave the cinema with another video game series in mind. What was I reminded of? Capcom’s Onimusha series.
Yes. That’s the name which I would describe this retelling of Japanese Robin Hood story with. It’s an Onimusha sibling.
Like Capcom’s famous series, Goemon (2009) is a dazzling feast of spectacular CGI backdrops, superhuman aerobics, and historical name popping, laced together in MTV-like style under director Kazuaki Kiriya’s stylistic hand.
Added to this is also lead Yōsuke Eguchi’s charismatic screen presence, and a sappy but irresistible love story. To put it in another way, if you like your medieval Japanese movies to be all about visual beauty and not historical accuracy, if you love famous historical characters turning up at every corner as cameos, you will love Goemon (2009). In my case, I enjoyed the visual splendour despite knowing Japan couldn’t possibly have looked that way during the 16th century. I was also amused by the new take on the power struggle between Japan’s three most famous warlords. It was very game-like. Very manga-like. Again, very Onimusha like.
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