When a master samurai arrives to duel the disgraced Yoshioka dojo, he walks into an ambush. In the world’s first 77-minute, one-take action film sequence, Miyamoto Musashi (Tak Sakaguchi) fights for his life against 400 warriors, earning a place in history as the CRAZY SAMURAI MUSASHI.
What We Thought:
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 opens with a little bit of dialogue, some backstory then two people die and it’s on. And when I say it’s on, I mean, the next 70 plus minutes is all one take of fighting. It’s one man versus hundreds of others with swords. It’s pretty bananas.
Over the past few years the one/long take has gained in popularity. The Daredevil series has a famous hallway scene. Tony Jaa’s The Protector has a really good one. Birdman looks like the entire movie is one take, but has some secret cuts. There have been some indie films that used this technique as well. Sometimes it works and adds something to the film. Sometimes it’s just the gimmick the movie is known for.
Overall it works here. As the take/film moves on, the lead actor starts to get tired. You see it in his performance, but it’s supposed to be that way. If you’ve been fighting off 400 guys for over an hour, you’d be tired too. You’d struggle to swing your sword, it being life or death (in the film), you continue fighting. It adds to the fight choreography and scene because of it. Others around him are tired or unsure of what to do next just like it would be in real life.
But what I don’t always love in these scenes is the waiting. What I mean, you have your lead man and he’s fighting 1, 2, maybe 3 guys at once. Cool, looks great, but then you see a dozen guys just standing there. Don’t just stand there, charge the guy! Get him from behind. He can’t take all of you at once. A few people go high, a few go low and stop him. There’s hundreds of you, don’t stand around and wait. It’s almost like they are waiting for their turn to step up and swing a sword. That’s common in all action movies, not just one takes, but it drives me nuts sometimes.
On top of the 77 minute action sequence, the wardrobe and costuming are great. It’s an Asian period piece with old samurai costuming and weaponry. They put some effort into the setting and backdrops despite knowing it was going to be known for the long take.
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 will probably get a lot views out of curiosity. With one takes becoming more known, people watch them to see how they are. Beyond that, the film is still a quality Asian action period flick so if you enjoy those, you’ll enjoy this.
Country of Origin: Japan
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 has a runtime of approximately 92 minutes and is not rated.