When it comes to a gimmick that always catches the attention of cinephiles, an especially arduous or seemingly impossible “long take” ranks up near the top of the list. Whether an unusually long single shot is simulated (as in Rope, or Birdman) or genuine, it’s always a talking point for film nerds to geek out over.
One area where you don’t see a lot of extremely long one-shots? That would be action sequences, given that there’s so much that can go wrong, and it’s difficult to make action and fight scenes look convincing during a single, long take. But that didn’t stop Japanese indie director Yûji Shimomura from building his entire upcoming film Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 around such a concept. The 92-minute film is anchored by a single, 77-minute unbroken action sequence in which a legendary Japanese samurai faces off against hundreds of foes at once. You can see a trailer for the upcoming film below.
Shimomura isn’t a particularly well known filmmaker, but star Tak Sakaguchi is well known to action buffs for cult classics such as Versus. Here, he’s playing legendary Japanese samurai Miyamota Musashi, famed for his undefeated dueling career in the 17th century. As the full synopsis reads:
“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.”
A simple concept, then, which means that it’s ultimately all about execution. The trailer below looks on the low budget side, as one would likely expect, but Sakaguchi is a very talented and experienced martial artist—perhaps they can pull it off? Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1, alternately titled Crazy Samurai Musashi, will hit martial arts streaming service HI-YAH! on Feb. 12, 2021, and then hit digital distribution in the U.S. via Well Go USA Entertainment on March 2. Check out the full trailer below, which does more than hint at that 77-minute action scene.