Set in the 1600’s, Miyamoto Musashi defeated the Yoshioka master and his younger brother. Now, he is back to finish off the job he started by killing the 100 family members and 300 samurai they have at their disposal. Not only does Musashi attack the 400 samurai but he attempts this in one single take across a 90 minute movie. Yes, you read that correctly. The epic battle between one samurai against 400 is filmed in one single take. This is a huge effort from director Yuji Shimomura. Something that has rarely been achieved in cinema, can this relative unknown complete a historic single take samurai movie that entertains us? Let’s digest it.
Let’s tackle the big talking point of the film, the already mentioned one single take. The thought of it has us salivating at our mouths. Throughout history, we have been treated to epic samurai battles, especially in Akira Kurosawa classics like Yojimbo and Seven Samurai, but it takes a lot to complete an achievement like this. Sitting down and actually experiencing this film was difficult to watch. Being this ambitious with a film like this means that the choreography and execution has to be flawless. It’s an extremely difficult thing to do but this is almost a train wreck of a movie. The key issues of this are that the direction of the choreography is static. There is no fluidity of the camera throughout the film. We are left with just one single camera angle the whole way through. It’s a boring and lazy effort from director Shimomura.
The static camera angles aren’t the only issue Crazy Samurai has. The actual choreography itself is wooden and minimalistic. The same techniques and fights are over used and overdrawn way too often. Once you have seen 10 minutes of action, there’s no need to see anymore. Their flexibility to utilise different fighting elements and environments is wasted and leaves you feeling like you are in Groundhog Day watching the same fight sequence over and over and over again. Adding to the repetitive nature of the scene, we were left baffled at the sight of the samurai being hit in the head with a samurai sword, falling to the ground and then GETTING UP after being killed and running off screen! After seeing this happen multiple times, we looked at the time and it showed amateur hour. This is lazy and unambitious film making at its finest.
Even the acting in this film is extremely poor. It’s poorly executed on so many levels that it became excruciating to watch. We haven’t been this bored watching a film for a very long time and it’s such a shame! It’s a samurai movie that is sold as being an action epic in one single take but if you were to watch this, you would demand your money back immediately. There’s a reason why this film was shot nine years ago and has been sitting on the shelf of completed movies without a release. Clearly somebody felt this was worthy of seeing the light of day. Unfortunately for us, its sole purpose is to bore us to death.
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1 is released on 5th July