The art of the one continuous shot has wowed audiences for years, and in modern times has made the jump to action movies, with upcoming martial arts flick Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 ready to set the bar so high you’ll need to enter the stratosphere to even get a glimpse of it. You see, Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 will feature a 77-minute single-take action scene, and this one continuous shot will not include any editing. Indeed, these can only be the actions of one crazy samurai.
The press release for Crazy Samurai, which is also titled Crazy Samurai Musashi is some regions, highlights this feat of action cinema splendor saying, “The highlight of this extraordinary film is a 77-minute action sequence shot in one continuous take, a ‘marathon battle [that] rivals any ever filmed’ (Forbes). Director Yuji Shimomura (Death Trance, Re: Born) has crafted an epic achievement in action choreography around Sakaguchi, who plays Japan’s most legendary swordsman-Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645), a warrior undefeated in at least 60 documented duels-as he takes on his most difficult battle.”
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 is helmed by director Yûji Shimomura (Death Trance, Returner, Warrior’s Way) and stars Japanese martial arts icon Tak Sakaguchi (Versus, Rise of the Machine Girl). The official synopsis reads, “When a master samurai arrives to duel the disgraced Yoshioka dojo, he walks into an ambush. In a stunning, one-take action film sequence, Miyamoto Musashi (Sakaguchi) fights for his life against 400 warriors, earning a place in history as the Crazy Samurai Musashi.”
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 details the most famous battle of the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi and is centred almost entirely around the intense 77-minute one-scene, no-cut action sequence. Considering that the movie only has a runtime of approximately 92 minutes, there is a lot riding on this one set piece, which will no doubt provide all sorts of impressive choreography and stunt work, all of which must be done to absolute precision.
While the one-shot has been around for some time, it is still relatively novel when it comes to the action genre, with the likes of South Korean neo-noir thriller Oldboy’s famous hallway fight, director John Woo’s brutal shootout in Hard Boiled, and 2017’s 80s-set action outing Atomic Blonde popularizing the technique. While Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 may be the longest attempt at a martial arts one-take, it’s certainly not the first, with Muay Thai superstar Tony Jaa demonstrating how effective it can be while cracking skulls in 2005’s The Protector.
Last year’s hit Netflix movie Extraction provided the most recent example of the continuous action scene, with Chris Hemsworth’s ass-kicking mercenary Tyler Rake shooting, speeding and fighting his way through anonymous adversaries for a total of 12 minutes. “The action scene on the page was exciting and amazing, but budgetarily and time-wise, it was one of the things I didn’t know if we had the time to execute it as big as it was on the page,” said Extraction director Sam Hargrave of the difficulty when bringing all the elements together for such a long take. Try doing it for 77-minutes, pal.
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 is scheduled to debut on the martial arts streamer HI-YAH! on February 12, 2021, just before its Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD drop on March 2 from Well Go USA Entertainment. You can watch the trailer over at FilmIsNow.