movie posterGoemon is a highly visual movie from 2009 which tells the fictional, reimagined story of Ishikawa Goemon, the legendery Japanese thief.

The movie starts off with Goemon doing what he does best – stealing from the rich and giving to the poor in a kind Japanese Robin Hood fashion.  He is being chased by numerous guards but uses his superior skill to evade and out run them.  During his robbery he captures a blue box which Goemon thinks of as nothing and discards it – but this box is of great value to some very powerful men.

After learning of the box’s value Goemon goes out to find it, and ends up finding a boy who has it in his possession.  With his mother killed by the soldiers after the box, Goemon tells the boy to ‘become strong so no one can push him around’ before leaving with the boy as he is also being chased by the deadly Shinobi, Saizo.

After the chase we learn that Goemon was once an orphan who had to ‘become strong’ himself, and was taken in and raised by Nobunaga Oda, who sought to Unify Japan before being assassinated by his General Hideyoshi, who is now the Lord.

So now Goemon wants to assassinate Lord Hideyoshi and take revenge for the death of Nobunaga Oda.

A Highly Visual Movie

For a movie which tells a (somewhat fictional) story of a real person, they went to great lengths to make it look like a different universe.

The architecture and general look and feel of the whole environment was driven massively by CGI and looks so fantastical that you have trouble believing it.  In saying that there are some very obvious scenes where the CGI doesn’t blend and the animation is a bit off.

visually driven scenes

It seems to me that they’ve tried to create a live action movie that shot with the same angles and movement of a lot of popular anime movies out there.  There characters can jump many feet into the air and move unlike any human I’ve seen before.  It actually kind of ruined the movie a bit, and I think had it been made a Japanese Animated film it would have been fantastic.

A Different take on History

Goemon is known as a great thief in Japan, and went down in history after being executed by being boiled alive in public with his son for an attempted assassination on Lord Hideyoshi.  But this movie tells it different!

With not much information being available abotu the real Goemon’s past, this movie tells us about his mother and father’s death at his young age, before being taken in by Oda.  Oda then has Hattori Hanzo train both Goemon and Saizo in the combative arts and they both become good friends.

Goemon is presented his blade

So when Saizo attempts to assassinate Lord Hideyoshi, he is caught but his identity is not revealed, until he see’s Goemon in the crowd and decides to take his name, and the whole execution is told as being fake.  While Goemon continues to try his best to end the evil fight over power and bring a more peaceful rein to Japan.

The Martial Arts and Action

Don’t get too excited, you’re looking at mostly CGI in this movie.  The small flashes of actual choreography aren’t bad but we’re talking about less than a second at a time.

The action isn’t bad though, however strongly exaggerated.  Goemon has some pretty crazy abilities and seems to be able to fight through large armies by himself and is basically indestructable.

It’s not a bad movie but honestly, I was glad to see the movie finish when it did – I thought it was a little over milked.

On Blu Ray –

Region A (US & Canada)
Goemon on Blu-ray

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
Goemon on DVD

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Goemon on DVD

Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Goemon on DVD 

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