Crazy Samurai 400 vs 1 review by Bobby Blakey
Well Go USa continues to deliver the best in martial arts cinema. Their latest release from director Yuji Shimomura, Crazy Samurai: 400vs1 might be one of the most ambitious martial arts films to date featuring a 77-minute, one-take action sequence. The film features Versus and Yakuza Weapon martial arts star Tak Sakaguchi and looks to be a great time. Could this film live up to the hype or will it just be another gimmick?
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1 follows a master samurai who arrives to duel the disgraced Yoshioka dojo and walks into an ambush. In the world’s first 77-minute, one-take action film sequence, Miyamoto Musashi fights for his life against 400 warriors, earning a place in history as the Crazy Samurai Musashi. After seeing this trailer and knowing of the insane attempt at this one-take action sequence to say I was excited is an understatement. Now that I have seen it I have mixed emotions about the entire thing.
Let’s say up front that this is an impressive feat in not just the execution of the idea, but in lead actor Tak Sakaguchi who has to perform the grueling sequence. He gives everything he has for the entire film and his preparation and fatigue shows, which just adds to the overall performance and impressive nature of it all. This is a unique experience that I applaud knowing first-hand how much effort it takes to do all of this stuff, let alone for 77 minutes straight.
Where it falls a bit short is the action itself. I totally understand why they do all of the things they do to make it work, but it does take away the hopefully intense and violent nature of it all. This isn’t a take away from all the efforts put in to making it, but made more made the argument of just shooting it in multiple takes with more streamlined choreography to make the action a lot more visually impressive. Non-martial artists don’t understand that most of the real world execution of proper techniques is less exciting than you are led
to believe in Hollywood and this film is a prime example of it. There is a really great fight sequence at the end fo the film that was more traditionally show that showcases what most were hoping for and more for the screen flash.
It doesn’t take long for the average person to no doubt get fatigued from watching this since it feels repetitive and not overly exciting for most of the time and it isn’t meant to be. That is kind of the point of real life combat, it typically showcases more straight forward effective techniques and that is not always exciting. There are some one on one matches that are decent but none are designed to be a film style fight and instead all about the quick attack and end. Within all of this you will question a few things including the lack of attacks from his back, the lack of bodies as they more often than not stumble out of frame and even the pre-set up areas for him to rehydrate and change weapons. You can find reasoning behind it all, but it is all about getting through this grueling sequence.
I respect and love the attempt here especially knowing how exhausting it can be. Is it as great movie? Not really, but I still enjoyed it. This is likely my personal martial arts mentality and appreciation that might get lost with others. I think the film deserves to be checked out just to see the work and effort put in to do something unheard of.
Experience yourself and grab your copy of Crazy Samurai: 400vs1 available now on Blu-ray and DVD.