The title of the film is based on a four-hundred-year-old form of Japanese puppet theater, a style of storytelling that uses four-foot-tall puppets with highly detailed heads, each operated by several puppeteers who blend into the background wearing black robes and hoods.
When The Drifter (Josh Hartnett) leaps onto the prison roof and attacks a guard, The Narrator says "Happy birthday, fucker." This line is quoted from the song "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies" by the band Faith No More. Mike Patton (The Narrator) is the lead singer of Faith No More.
This is the first movie produced by renowned Production Designer Alex McDowell, RDI. He originally met with Guy Moshe and Producer Nava Levin in 2007 to consult with them on this movie. Moshe's project was such an interesting and provocative blend of genres and techniques that McDowell got hooked and helped them to set up an innovative approach to pre-production that integrated pre-visualization, storytelling, and design into a new fluid and low budget workspace for the creative team.
Snoot Entertainment's Keith Calder decided to produce this movie because he has always loved films in the "no-name stranger coming to town and ending up in a bigger struggle" genre. This movie was, for him, the opportunity to take this genre and spin it on its head and bring a unique and strong visual style to it.
According to Keith Calder, this movie is heavily influenced by the look and style of classic Hollywood musicals except that the singing and dancing are replaced with physical combat sequences that evoke Gene Kelly by way of Bloodsport (1988).
The characters The Bartender (Woody Harrelson) and Alexandra (Demi Moore) share matching tattoos on their necks, The Bartender's right ear and Alexandra's left ear. Alexandra wears Yin, the dark side, night. While The Bartender wears Yang, the white side, light.
Japanese artist Gackt Camui came to the attention of Writer and Director Guy Moshe through his role in the television historic drama The Trusted Confidant (2007), a year-long series produced by Japan Broadcasting Corporation. In this series, he portrayed a heroic warlord. Moshe went to Japan personally to entice Camui to join the cast for this movie.
The small car driven by The Bartender (Woody Harrelson) is an Italian Fiat 600. The red and black cars driven by the street gang are French Renault 8s. The Fiat 600 and its Spanish version SEAT 600 were the first mass production car in Italy and Spain after World War II and in the late fifties and early sixties motorized most of the middle class families in these countries.