One Percenter (2024)

The making of action movies is a discipline as diversified as martial arts itself, with styles, philosophies, and techniques varying wildly from one filmmaker, one stunt coordinator, one fight choreographer, and one action star to another.

“One Percenter” (a.k.a. “One-Percent Warrior”) understands this on the deepest level any action movie in recent memory ever has.

A deconstruction of the “why” of action movies through the lenses of “Last Action Hero” and “JCVD”, “One Percenter” breaks down the science of fight choreography and martial arts movie storytelling.

It uses a clever meta script while keeping the viewer’s heart racing a mile a minute with outstanding, swift, and powerful fight scenes fittingly tethered to reality by Tak Sakaguchi’s samurai-esque on-screen mindset.



Tak Sakaguchi plays the movie’s iron-willed protagonist, martial arts movie star Toshiro Takuda, with his dweeby but good-natured sidekick Akira played by Kohei Fukuyama.

The villains of the movie include Sho Aoyagi as yakuza boss Takenouchi, Norihisa Hiranuma as fellow gang leader Shishidou, and Kanon Narumi as the latter’s daughter Ami.

Rumika Fukuda also plays Maria, an innocent young woman caught in the crossfire of it all, while Togo Ishii portrays the gang’s most formidable enforcer, going only by the name of “Sensei”.


Japanese action movie star Toshiro Takuda has helped push fight choreography, stunts, and action in the Japanese film industry to new levels throughout his career, notably in his action movie hit “Birth” from a decade ago.

However, Toshiro has grown increasingly disillusioned with the kind of dance-like, fantastical action he sees being executed on film sets, being a tireless champion of bringing realism into fight scenes.

In the aim of making the ultimate “real” action movie he has been hoping to get off the ground for years, Toshiro and the last remaining member of his old stunt team, Akira, put together a plan to shoot their grounded action flick, title “One Percenter”, with the duo scouting a location in an abandoned power plant on the recommendation of a prospective financier.

However, while Toshiro runs into another group rehearsing the kind of fantasy-based action movie he loathes on site, an even bigger problem arises when both groups find themselves smack in the middle of a yakuza gang war over a stash of cocaine hidden by their old boss on the grounds.

The rival film group swiftly flee the scene to get to safety, but Toshiro sees an opportunity to really showcase his philosophy of reality-based action, and instructs Akira to film him as he rescues their hostage Maria and battles the warring yakuza factions in the power plant.

The yakuza gang arrives to raise the stakes

The yakuza gang arrives to raise the stakes


“One Percenter” Goes Meta on the Essence of Action Filmmaking

As soon as “One Percenter” gets rolling, the movie makes clear that it’s a dissertation of action filmmaking and the roles both fantasy and reality play in it.

Over the course of his career, Tak Sakaguchi has cultivated the persona of a contemporary samurai (even playing the most legendary samurai of all in 2020’s “Crazy Samurai Musashi”), but Toshiro is both cut right from the samurai cloth and a whole different breed with his own unique form of Bushido.

Toshiro’s philosophy of fight choreography and action moviemaking is one where injuries aren’t just commonplace, but the deciding factor of whether you’re doing it right at all.

Toshiro’s quest to make the ultimate “real” action movie comes across as a Quixotic one to all of his colleagues save for Akira, and “One Percenter” emphasizes his drive and determination so well, it’s hard not to get behind a man who sees literally dodging dummy rounds as part of the job, and a skill that he executes with an ease that would leave Jackie Chan and Tom Cruise speechless.

Aiding “One Percenter” in its breakdown of realism in action films is how clearly and liberally the movie draws from elements of Tak Sakaguchi’s real life career.

With Toshiro being an exponent of “Assassination-jutsu” and starring in a major Japanese action movie hit titled “Birth”, the semi-auto-biographical aspects of “One Percenter” aren’t exactly hard to infer (especially with still shots from Tak’s 2016 movie “Re:Born” being integrated into Toshiro’s interview that opens the film).

Tak’s own philosophy of bringing as much realism as possible to his fight scenes also permeates his performance as Toshiro, and adds to the multi-layered storytelling at play in “One Percenter” – of an action movie star who will not rest until he creates the perfect on-screen marriage of fiction and reality.

One Percenter features incredible action!

One Percenter features incredible action!

“One Percenter” Fully Delivers on the “Real Action” that it Promises!

As Japan’s premiere real-life champion of real action, Tak Sakaguchi hits hard with some of his most blazing fight scenes ever in “One Percenter”.

Orchestrated by fight choreographer Kensuke Sonomura, the fight choreography in “One Percenter” combines the sleeve-rustling swiftness of his approach to designing fight scenes with the directness and impact of your average “Ip Man” movie.

As the latest Tak Sakaguchi vehicle to base its action upon the modern system known as Zero Range Combat, “One Percenter” even provides a short but in-depth demo of the “Wave” technique deployed within the art, in which the Zero Range practitioner builds momentum through a flowing rotation of their shoulder blades.

“One Percenter” pushes the idea of the Wave technique to its extremes in both striking and dodging power, Toshiro becoming a literal human tidal wave washing over, around, and through opponents in fight after fight.

While not as extended in its duration as the incredible forest battle of “Re:Born”, one of the big fight highlights of “One Percenter” is quite literally that with Toshiro facing a dozen henchmen in a darkened room and swiftly clicking a flashlight on and off to blind and distract his enemies before getting the drop on each of them one-by-one.

Toshiro is determined to make the ultimate action flick!

Toshiro is determined to make the ultimate action flick!

Talk About an Ending: The Final Showdown & Denouement of “One Percenter”!

It’s exactly the kind of fight scene that martial arts fans live to dive into the watercooler geek-out chatter over, and so too is the case for Toshiro’s smackdown against the yakuza gang’s highly formidable associate known as Sensei, played by Togo Ishii.

Already establishing his martial arts villain street cred in a battle with some of Toshiro’s filmmaking associates, Tak and Togo’s smackdown is a marvelous final duel of contrasting styles with Toshiro’s close-quarters Wave technique pitted against Sensei’s Jeet Kune Do-based versatility, and “One Percenter” still has other tricks up its sleeve in the wild twist ending of its finale.

Tip-toeing around spoilers, “One Percenter” puts one more meta capstone on its breakdown of action movies and bringing reality into them, turning one of the most central elements of the movie on its head and bringing to light just how much creating the greatest “real” action movie really means to Toshiro.


For fans of action sequences the look and feel of “One Percenter” is the real deal and then some.

Tak Sakaguchi brings stoic perfection to his portrayal of Toshiro as a man determined to bring realism into the make-believe world, and Kensuke Sonomura’s fight scenes are just a blazing blast, or more fittingly, wave.

On top of it all, “One Percenter” has a head on its shoulders about action filmmaking, real-world martial arts, and how the union of the two can become a genuine battle in and of itself.

As “One Percenter” itself emphasizes, only one percent of martial artists master their craft to its deepest and highest levels, and “One Percenter” is indeed a true masterwork of the very essence of action filmmaking.

Toshiro has a pondering spell

Toshiro has a pondering spell

Favorite Quotes

  • “I prefer Bruce Lee.” – Toshiro (when the villains describe him as Jackie Chan.)
  • “I do have battlefield experience, actually. Film sets are a war zone.” – Toshiro (in an interview.)
  • “In normal acting, there’s an element of realism, right? But when it comes to action films you can’t find realism anywhere…For example, take the line ‘Good Morning.’ Anybody can deliver that with reality. But in an action film, everyone suddenly goes ‘Punch. Punch.’ It’s so stiff. Why is there no realism in action? No matter how much I thought about it, it just didn’t feel right. That’s why I started to learn the real deal.” – Toshiro (describing his philosophy of realism in action movies in an interview.)
  • “Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is I want to train my co-stars for ‘Realism Action’, and make a ‘100 Percent Pure Action Film’.
  • I guarantee I’ll make it. When it’s ready, come interview me again.” – Toshiro (wrapping up his interview.)


  • “One Percenter” marks the film debut of Jeet Kune Do exponent Togo Ishii.
  • Director Yudai Yamaguchi had previously worked with Tak Sakaguchi on the 2011 movie “Yakuza Weapon”.
  • Action director Kensuke Sonomura has also done stunt coordination and fight choreographer on such films as “The Machine Girl”, “Yakuza Weapon”, “Tekken: Blood Vengeance”, “Bushido Man”, “Kingdom”, “Hydra”, and “Baby Assassins”.
  • Tak Sakaguchi previously employed Zero Range Combat and the “Wave” technique in the movie “Re:Born”.
  • Zero Range Combat was founded by Yoshitaka Inagawa, who appears in this film along with Tak’s earlier movie “Re:Born”.
  • Zero Range Combat combines elements of Kobudo, Muay Boran, Systema, Filipino Kali, and the Japanese military hand-to-hand combat system Jieitaikakutōjutsu. Tak Sakaguchi studied Zero Range Combat directly under Yoshitaka Inagawa.
One Percenter releasing in the US as One Percent Warrior from Well Go USA!

One Percenter releasing in the US as One Percent Warrior from Well Go USA!

Film Rating: 8.5/10

U.S. and UK viewers can see “One Percenter” (“One Percent Warrior” in the U.S.) now via Well Go USA and Third Window Films!

Are you excited to see “One Percenter”? What are some of your favorite martial arts flicks from Japan? What are some of your favourite fight scenes from Tak Sakaguchi’s career so far? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

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Brad Curran

From the earliest days of childhood, Brad Curran was utterly fascinated by martial arts, his passion only growing stronger after spending time living in the melting pot of Asian cultures that is Hawaii. His early exposure developed into a lifelong passion and fascination with all forms of martial arts and tremendous passion for action and martial arts films. He would go on to take a number of different martial arts forms, including Shaolin Ch'uan fa, Taekwondo, Shotokan Karate and remains a devoted student, avid and eager to continue his martial arts studies. Brad is also an aspiring writer and deeply desires to share his love for martial arts and martial arts movies with the world!

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