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Fantasia 2020

[Fantasia] ‘Crazy Samurai Musashi’ review: One samurai vs 588 men in a 77 minute no cut spectacle

As fun as it sounds.

No cut scenes are some of the most famous in Hollywood history. The Copa scene may be the most famous and best one ever shot. Recently, 1917 wowed critics and audiences. The draw for some was the one shot aesthetic. Japan’s Crazy Samurai Musashi ups the ante. The movie includes a 77 minute action scene. The battle sees the titular warrior take on 588 enemies.

Technically, the film is amazing. Even the most simple fight scenes require a level of choreography that goes beyond simple stage blocking. In Crazy Samurai Musashi, more is required from all involved since there is no room for error. Herein lies part of the problem. By necessity, Crazy Samurai Musashi is forced to simplify things. There is none of the over the top action seen in today’s action movies and a lot of repetition.

Much of this can be chalked up to the historical accuracy of the movie. Samurai are not known for the dramatic flair, after all. Still, there is not the tension that should come with one person taking on a literal army of hundreds. Crazy Samurai Musashi does an excellent job of raising the stakes. The fight begins simply enough. They are near bloodless affairs that end with a blow to the head.

As fun as it sounds.

Soon, enemies are running straight at Musashi and being chopped down in a stream of blood. There are also occasional fights that are akin to boss battles in video games. These tend to be surprisingly short, but are also great at breaking up the monotony. Crazy Samurai Musashi is a great idea in theory. The premise of one man battling through over 500 others in a long drawn out cut scene is fun. Director Yuji Shimomura uses a mix of angles to try to change things up. Still, the story is very limiting. At the very least, they could have not shown people crawling to get off screen.

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