Action Crazy Samurai Musashi

Fantasia Festival Review: ‘Crazy Samurai Musashi’

August 25, 2020Ben MK

From the opening scene of Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes to the hallway fight sequence in Park Chan-wook's Oldboy and, of course, Sam Mendes' 1917, the single, continuous take in cinema has captivated both filmmakers and moviegoers alike for years. And now, in Crazy Samurai Musashi, director Yuji Shimomura continues that tradition — though with less than spectacular results.

Loosely based on an actual battle fought by Japan's most renowned swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi (Versus' Tak Sakaguchi), the film pits Musashi against some 100 students and 300 mercenaries from the Toshioka clan. But after a slick opening sequence that sets the stage for the non-stop carnage to come — in which we learn that the legendary samurai has already vanquished two of the clan's previous leaders and has now come for its new head, a young boy named Mataschichiro — the 77-minute-long single take action sequence that follows proves to be something of a letdown, thanks to its amateurish cinematography and repetitive, if not altogether boring, fight choreography, both of which make the movie's action centerpiece more of a chore to watch than anything else.

That said, one has to give the cast and crew credit for trying. And even though Crazy Samurai Musashi doesn't quite live up to the high expectations it sets for itself, it still makes for a novel exercise in feudal Japanese warfare that genre fans will want to check out.

Crazy Samurai Musashi makes its Canadian premiere at the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 32 min.

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