One-Percent Warrior Blu-ray Review


  • Director ‏ : ‎ Yudai Yamaguchi
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Tak Sakaguchi, Kohei Fukuyama, Kanon Narumi, Rumika Fukuda
  • Dubbed: ‏ : ‎ English
  • Subtitles: ‏ : ‎ English
  • Language ‏ : ‎ Japanese (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), English (Stereo)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ Japan
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Blu-ray
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 25 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ March 12, 2024

        I love action movies. It’s my guilty pleasure and the genre I would likely choose above all others when in need of escapist entertainment, but that doesn’t mean I watch them with an uncritical eye. The biggest misconception I come across when proclaiming my unadulterated love of the genre is the films I am referring to, with many automatically lumping the fantasy narratives of the superhero films in the genre merely because they contain sequences of action spectacle. The reason this false assumption bothers me so much is because superhero films often rely heavily on CGI in place of practical stunt work and fight choreography. This is mostly due to the fact that the casting priority of these blockbusters is movie stars rather than skilled martial artists, but the opposite is true of the impressively ambitious One-Percent Warrior.


        This Japanese actioner doesn’t have a massive budget or a complex premise, though there is room for a bit of meta-manipulation within the plot. What it does have is an action star in Tak Sakaguchi, who was a literal street fighter before utilizing his skills onscreen. In One-Percent Warrior (also known as One Percenter), Sakaguchi stars as a film action star named Toshiro, a character that feels specifically written with the star’s own background in mind. After creating a gritty and realistic action film named Birth, Toshiro’s career is floundering, leaving him playing the villain in a generic samurai film while planning a comeback. In preparation for his next ambitious film effort, Toshiro travels to a remote island housing an abandoned industrial factory, unaware that it is also the location for a yakuza crime syndicate’s unsavory activity.


        As any action fan is likely to predict, Toshiro takes it upon himself to take on the island’s criminal occupants, battling each without an ounce of fear, or weapons beyond his own hands and feet. Toshiro’s criticism of modern action films within the narrative is carried over in the execution of action within One-Percent Warrior, with much of the fight choreography carried out in long takes and wide shots. The need for the CGI and excessive editing used in a majority of Hollywood action films these days is diminished with the performance abilities of Sakaguchi, not to mention the fight choreography handled by action director Kensuke Sonomora (Hydra, Bad City, Baby Assassins).


        While Sonomora handled the action sequences, One-Percent Warrior is directed by filmmaker Yûdai Yamaguchi, who is likely best known for his over-the-top Sushi Typhoon releases like Deadball and Yakuza Weapon (2011). Given how much of the run-time is dedicated to action, however, it seems impossible to over-estimate the significance of Sonomora’s contributions to the film. Although there are some humorous moments between the fight scenes, there is also an odd attempt at a twist ending the final moments, which took me out of the experience more than I had hoped. Leaving this odd narrative decision behind, however, One-Percent Warrior is one of the more ambitious and impressive action films I have seen from any country in recent years.


        The Blu-ray release for One-Percent Warrior includes a making-of featurette, which goes even further is showing how impressive the work done on the film was. I don’t know if Hollywood is paying attention, but they should be. If nothing else, Sakaguchi deserves to be brought into one of the spin-offs from the John Wick series. The extras also include a trailer and an English-language dubbing option, for those who are too lazy to read subtitles.


Entertainment Value: 9/10

Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10

Historical Significance:  6/10

Special Features: 4/10

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