TThe madness is in the idea of this unique Japanese action movie: essentially a marathon battle scene, shot in one shot, in which a master swordsman takes down several hundred raiders. The execution, so to speak, is a triumph of stunt work, strategy, and stamina, but watching it gets quite repetitive and tiring. Few, except the most hardcore action junkies, will be really willing to do it.
The situation is quickly resolved: a clan gathers in the forest around their newly anointed leader, a young boy, in anticipation of an attack. The attack comes quickly, in the form of Musashi Miyamoto: real-life master swordsman, 17th-century folk hero, and part of Japanese pop culture (Toshiro Mifune played him four times; Kinnosuke Nakamura played him seven times). Here, the role is full of athleticism focused on local action hero Tak Sakaguchi, though acting skills play a distant second to sword swinging skills. The battle advances through the woods and then into an abandoned village, with Miyamoto dispatching most of his inept raiders with a few efficient blows: a slash to the neck, a slash to the top of the head, slashes to the belly as they practically lunge at him. the path of his sword.
It helps that these adversaries come in discreet waves and attack you one by one, and never from behind. It also helps that most of them get out of frame once defeated, thus avoiding a build-up of corpses or a lack of new attackers (clearly not hundreds of people in the cast). The combat itself is persuasively physical, aside from the regular spurts of CGI blood; The sheer gory mentality of the exercise is admirable (it was apparently filmed nine years ago, but only recently completed after a crowdfunding campaign). But it’s a case where you’ve seen 50 deaths, you’ve seen them all. Most viewers will tire long before this Mad Samurai does.
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1 launches July 5 on digital platforms.