In a nutshell: A 90-minute film, a shoe-string budget, and a 77-minute uncut single take. That last fact isn’t a spoiler, it’s right there in the poster and mentioned in every single piece of marketing done for this film, and honestly, the only reason to watch it.
While I’m sure there are plenty of big-name filmmakers who have dreamed of attempting this long of a single-uncut take, most have realized it’s a masturbatory stunt that normally wouldn’t add to the story itself. Take 1917, Sam Mendes’ 2019 film about WW1 that appears to be a single-real-time take, except it’s not. With a nearly $100 million budget and the top-notch camera work and special effects that type of budget buys, the audience is only fooled to believe there are no cuts.
At its core, CRAZY SAMURAI MUSASHI is an homage to the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi while attempting a very long uncut fight scene that on paper seems impossible. Does it work? Yes and no. Tak Sakaguchi (aka TAK) as Musashi has the type of stamina many actors and athletes would find envious. He’s a gifted stuntman and the staging and choreography do work – they have to for the filmmakers to even attempt this long cut. When you see him sweat, that’s real sweat, real fatigue.
On the other hand, this film doesn’t have nearly the budget for 400 extras or practical blood effects, so you’ll have to suspend your belief when bodies disappear off-camera, only to reappear a few minutes later as a new foe for Musashi to defeat. And the sword fighting, while impressive, does get repetitive. It’s still quite an achievement for a low-budget indie, and I hope this film (originally made in 2012 before a recent release) finds an international audience.
CRAZY SAMURAI MUSASHI: 400 VS. 1 is currently streaming on Hi-YAH! TV and most VOD platforms.