Review by Jamie M MacDonald
A shutdown factory on a deserted island is the perfect location for action star Toshiro ( Tak Sakaguchi) to make his big comeback after a 10 year sabbatical from the industry. Toshiro upset a lot of people within the industry when he stated that fight chorography should have a sense of reality rather than these choreographed ballets that he sees films. Toshrio`s thinking is simple with no his nonsense attitude on how an action star should be. With this
mind set he has spent the last ten years training himself in his discipline that he names Assassination Jujitsu, he feels you should be able to use this in the real world and on screen to get real action zero range combat fight scenes. When his student and he arrive on the island they soon discover that they are not alone. Two Yakuza clans are in a power struggle for control after the death of the head of one, so the island is a warzone where Toshrio puts into practise his words as he keeps the camera rolling and works his way through all the extras. The clans are not only fighting for control, but also looking for two million dollars’ worth of goods that are hidden in the factory somewhere. All that stands in their way is one very talented action movie star.
Writer director Yudai Yamaguchi teams up Tak for this thought provoking action film that boasts not only a sharp well written script, but also has a powerful driven performance from its leading actor Tak, these two have worked numerous times over the years together. Maybe most notably for us in the west would be Versus which was released in the year 2000. Yudai co-wrote Versus with another great film maker Ryuhei Kitamura (The Midnight Meat Train and one of my faves No One Lives). With the One Percenter while you watch it, you do pick up a Versus vibe from it at times. What makes this film standout more than some of the blah blah fight films of today is the depth that is in it. As the story unfolds leading to the explosive finale of the third act. Also Tak himself, this film and its premise lies on his shoulders and he gives such a driving force of a central lead performance, without Tak I don`t think the film would have worked, as well. As you`d expect the fight scenes are just amazing, the one that stood out for me is with the flashlights as Tak takes on many foes in the dark while trying not to give away his position to these machine gun armed enemies, he uses the flashlight to blind them to get the upper hand. Such a great scene which you`d expect from action chorographer Kensuke Sonomura. At just a running time of eight five minutes, the film does not take long to set up and get things in motion. The acting from all is spot on, the two main villains are sadistic, but never cartoony, maybe just a little cartoony but that’s not a bad thing. The film does take digs and homages action films throughout, these are fun to spot and hear as you watch.
I am a massive fan of Tak`s, since seeing Versus. The camera loves him and he is so charismatic on screen. I like how he takes on challenges not just as an action star, but as an actor as well, and I think he gives one of his best performances in One Percenter. For all the efforts from all in front of and behind the scenes, your hard work paid off. For me One Percenter does not disappoint. Also it is one that will definitely be added to my collection.

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