Monday, February 26, 2024

One-Percent Warrior - Movie Review

The Movie: One-Percent Warrior

The Director: YĆ»dai Yamaguchi 

The Cast: Tak Sakaguchi, Kensuke Sonomura, Sho Aoyagi, Itsuji Itao, Kenjiro Ishimaru, Keisuke Horibe, Togo Ishii

The Story: After his devastatingly fast, samurai-style combat approach sets filmmakers against him, a legendary action star films his own movie, on turf claimed by feuding yakuza gangs, including Japan’s deadliest martial arts assassin.

The Rating: 6 / 10

The Review:
There's a meta quality to this movie that is reminiscent of One Cut of the Dead in how the story takes a look at the genre it's portraying and fills it with a self awareness that action movie fans should understand and appreciate. For me, that's also a difficult comparison because it sets an expectation and a standard that is nearly untouchable, at least for me, because One Cut of the Dead is an absolute favorite of mine for so many reasons.

That being said, this is a solidly entertaining movie even if it does take a while to gain traction. A lot of the action sequences are fairly repetetive and don't really contain the style or innovation I was looking for although this ends up being a progression of sorts leading to the ultimate finale. The "Boss Battle" between Tak Sakaguchi and Togo Ishii is a more than worthwhile payoff and is really one of the more intense and engaging fight scenes that I've watched in some time.

You could compare this movie to so many other martial arts action films, which is intentional, after all this is an homage to the genre while also picking apart some of it's more mass appeal elements. The gritty look and texture evokes The Raid: Redemption in a lot of ways, especially that final fight. Again, this is another tough comparison as that's also one of my favorite movies and I'm not trying to say this movie is on either of those levels, but there are some similarities in how they look and feel.

There is also a father and daughter dynamic between two of the antagonists that was done really well and carried a lot more emotion than I was expecting thanks to a devilishly fun performance from Harumi Kanon in her debut performance. Ultimately, this is a decent movie that turns out much better because of that killer third act. Fans of the genre should definitely check this one out.

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