Asian Movie Review – Goemon (五右衛門)


A creative re-imagination of Japan’s Robin Hood story, Goemon (五右衛門) delights with its gorgeous backdrops and atmospheric fight sequences.

Goemon (2009) review - 5 thumbs up and 2 thumbs down.
Snappy Asian Movie Review | Goemon (五右衛門)

Goemon (五右衛門) Synopsis

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 would eventually reveal the truth behind Nobunaga’s death, and possibly reunite Goemon with his beloved Princess Chacha.

Snappy Review

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 I’d use to describe this retelling of Japan’s version of the Robin Hood story. It’s an Onimusha sibling.

Like Capcom’s famous PlayStation 2 series, Goemon (2009) is a dazzling feast of spectacular CGI backdrops, superhuman aerobics, and historical name popping. Chained into a MTV-like presentation under director Kazuaki Kiriya’s stylistic hand.

Added to this mix is also lead Yōsuke Eguchi’s charismatic screen presence, and a sappy but irresistible love story. One that’d be perfect for video games or anime alike.

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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