Filmmaker Yudai Yamaguchi is reteaming with action star Tak Sakaguchi for 1%er (One Percenter), according to an announcement from Sakaguchi’s WiiBER production label. The film marks a reunion between the star and director with numerous shared credits in their wake, dating back to Sakaguchi’s 2000 breakout zombie action thriller, Ryuhei Kitamura’s Versus, on which Yamaguchi served as screenwriter.
Not much is yet known about the project, save for the most recent announcement made via Twitter that basically hints at a story about a man on a journeys onto the road less traveled to “master the path”, that is of the “real action road”. That’s basically what I got from the tweet’s auto-translation, though admittedly, the tweet itself might lend something better than what I could offer for its aesthetic.
What should go without saying is the level of action fans can expect given what Sakaguchi has brought to the table in the twenty one years he’s proliferated himself, from Versus and other earlier pics like his directorial debut adaptation, Be A Man! Samurai School and Yuji Shimomura’s Death Trance, to knockout performances in Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play In Hell?, Shinsuke Sato’s Kingdom, and in Shimomura’s own sophomore hit, Re:Born.
What’s more is the man in charge of the action will be none other than Kensuke Sonomura, who after years of building up his resumè with more than seventy feature film and television titles in the stunt arena in part with Shimomura via their U’den Flame Works stunt label, managed to crack out a fiery directing debut at the helm for his inaugural 2019 pensive assassin thriller, Hydra, starring Masanori Mimoto. Well Go USA acquired released the hit action film in North America back in July, while Sonomura’s brand of action further progressed stateside with the International Premiere of Hugo Sakamoto’s Baby Assassins at Fantastic Fest last month.
WiiBER launched in 2019 under the stewardship of Sakaguchi, in partnership with producer Ota Takayuki to head off the longstanding wait and post-production process of Sakaguchi’s single-take jidaigeki thriller, Crazy Samurai Musashi, attaching Shimomura to the project for its completion before screening it to festivals and releasing in multiple territories.
Since then, Sakaguchi rejoined star/director Hideo Sakaki for shortform Versus reunion thriller, Boryoku Muso – Subliminal War, for Toei’s original content shingle, Xstream46, and also appears in Yuki Kobayashi’s Machine Girl reboot, Rise Of The Machine Girls, Takahiro Ishihara’s Red Blade, and opposite Nicolas Cage hitting a career milestone in Sono’s Prisoners Of The Ghostland, from RLJE Films.
Yamaguchi, who directed the “J” segment in The ABC’s Of Death (2012), debut-helmed Sakaguchi in his 2003 genre hybrid spectacle, Battlefield Baseball, which the aforementioned Kitamura produced. The star and director went on to work on several projects together with Sakaguchi eventually further adding to his fight choreography credits behind the scenes on Yamaguchi’s 2016 franchise continuation, High & Low: The Red Rain, from Shochiku.
Long prior to this weekend’s news, Sonomura’s Hydra had its premiere at the Urban Action Showcase & Expo in New York City in November of 2019. He was actually in development on another project tentatively titled Delta, and that was until the pandemic shut everything down and forced Sonomura and his team to restrategize. One hopes we’ll still get to see what becomes of Delta, while any and all news and info on a project like 1%er (One Percenter) given what’s packaged here, is certainly more than welcome.