Bunraku is not a film that many people will have heard about, but I’ve been waiting for it for what feels like forever, and this brilliant first trailer from Collider definitely makes it look like it will be well worth the wait.

Filmed back in the spring and summer of 2008, this film has been a long time coming, and it’s great to see how nicely it’s shaped up with very impressive special effects.

The film has an excellent cast, starring Josh Hartnett (Lucky Number Slevin), Woody Harrelson (Zombieland), Japanese musician/actor/writer Gackt (making his international debut), Kevin McKidd (Grey’s Anatomy), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), and Demi Moore (G.I. Jane).

Hartnett is an actor I think is highly underrated and often overlooked, but his past performances in Black Hawk Down, 30 Days of Night, and Lucky Number Slevin prove to me what an exceptional actor he is, and he looks to be on top form in this trailer. Harrelson is of course always great to watch, and we can expect a lot of fun from him in his role as The Bartender in Bunraku. And whilst Gackt is not especially well known outside of Japan, beyond fans of Japanese rock music and/or films and television, the fact that writer-director Guy Moshe went to Japan to convince Gackt to sign on should encourage anyone doubtful of his abilities as an actor, and he looks awesome in the trailer opposite Hartnett. The film sees,

“A mysterious drifter (Josh Hartnett) and an ardent young Japanese warrior Yoshi (Gackt) both arrive in a town that has been terrorized by outrageous and virulent criminals. Each is obsessed with his separate mission, and guided by the wisdom of The Bartender (Woody Harrelson) at the Horseless Horseman Saloon, the two eventually join forces to bring down the corrupt and contemptuous reign of Nicola (Ron Perlman), the awesomely evil “woodcutter” and his lady Alexandra (Demi Moore), a femme fatale with a secret past. This classic tale is re-vitalized and re-imagined in an entirely fresh visual context, set in a unique world that mixes skewed reality with shadow-play fantasy, a place where even the landscape can betray you. Heroes triumph here only because the force of their will transforms and transcends both space and time. The world of BUNRAKU is past and present, fantasy and reality, Samurai and Western all combined. Like SIN CITY and 300, it gives classic conflict a whole new graphically supercharged dynamic. Resonating through a wide range of cultures and showcasing a mind-blowing array of martial arts disciplines, BUNRAKU is a fresh arena for breathtaking fight action.”

Unfortunately, I’m not especially optimistic for the film’s sake of making good on its budget. According to the film’s Facebook page, it will be released in the States through Video on Demand on 1st September this year, before being released in cinemas on 30th September. Maybe it’s an attempt to drum up interest for its theatrical release, I’m not sure. I know I’d still want to see it in the cinema if I saw it first on VoD, but I can imagine that I’d be in a minority.

Sadder still, because of this being the planned release schedule for Bunraku in the States, it’s probably wishful thinking to hope for a release in cinemas in the UK, so we may well have to wait (and hope) for a DVD/Blu-Ray release here instead. Hopefully we’ll get lucky and have at least a small theatrical run by the end of the year. Without further ado, here’s the great first trailer. Let us know what you think of it in the comments section below. I’m interested to see what other people’s thoughts on it are.

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