Crazy Samurai Musashi (2020)

Posted in Reviews by - March 11, 2021
Crazy Samurai Musashi (2020)

Less of a film and more a mad experiment, this uses one of Miyamoto Musashi’s most famous legends as inspiration to create a relentless, almost hypnotic 77-minute one-take fight scene. The wonderful enigmatic Versus star Tak Sakaguchi steps up to play Musashi in this insane endeavour, and we follow him every intimate step of the way as he single-handedly slices through 400 (who’s counting?) clan-members and mercenaries. Director Yuji Shimomura (Re:Born) will occasionally provide respite from the monotonous killing spree by focusing in on Tak’s face, and occasionally breaking away to allow his star to stop for a drink of water. Yuji also explores the various corners of the film’s limited outdoor set, adding a touch of variety, along with some superfluous dialogue. Without any story or character to provide an emotional connection to the constant carnage on screen, it’s mostly left to the rousing score to inject drama into the film. When the gimmick starts to wear a little thin – about five minutes into it – the mind wanders, and you start to unfairly dwell on the flaws; the repetitive choreography, the connections which don’t land, and the shadows cast by the camera. This may explain why the project was shelved for nine years before its release in 2020, bookended by two additional narrative sequences which help – if only a little – to provide context to the extraordinary sequence at its core. As a technical feat, it is undeniably an incredible achievement, and it does broadly succeed in what it sets out to do – but its an exhausting watch.

AKA: Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1.

Crazy Samurai Musashi is out now on Blu-ray, DVD and digital in North America under the international title, Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1, courtesy of Well Go USA.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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