3 out of 5 stars
CASSHERN director, Kazuaki Kiriya, brings us a highly-stylized, CG-laden ‘jidaigeki.’ The story is basically Robin Hood with a lot of CG environments, horses, and blood. As a result, we get tons of castles, uncountable scenes of armies marching, and people flying everywhere. The feel of the film is kind of like a jidaigeki meets a wu xia (if that makes sense?). The film feels overly-long at 2 hours and it could’ve easily been trimmed down… a lot. Acting-wise, everyone is suitably over-wrought and does a decent enough of a job. Fighting-wise, it’s a lot of wirework and high-flying swordplay. Most of the blood is noticeably CG, so it’s ok for kids, but… I fear the plot is so overly-complicated that they’ll undoubtedly check out just after the credits. There are some genuinely beautiful moments in the film visually, but… they are mitigated by the filmmaker’s obvious over-use of CG. So much so that, in some scenes, the film looks almost like a live action anime. It’s THAT noticeable. At the end of the day though, GOEMON is an enjoyable – admittedly flawed - pseudo-epic which does exactly what it sets out to do: entertain. The story is certainly nothing new, but the visuals are nice and it makes for a lovely little time waster. And, as these types of films go, this one is competently made, performed well, and pretty to look at. Recommended, just go in knowing it’s not going to be exceptional. For that… check out Ten (BLOOD) Shimoyama’s SHINOBI: HEART UNDER BLADE.