August 22, 2020
Ueda's One Cut of the Dead wasn't a personal favorite, but it was a spirited and original attempt to revitalize the zombie genre. It had one of the best reveals in recent years, which helped it overcome its no-budget roots. While its runaway success was definitely earned, it left Ueda with a serious challenge for his second film.
Repeat the same trick and it would feel derivative, make a more straightforward film and his limited cinematic prowess would get in the way. Special Actors tries to do a bit of both, but in the end the film's a bit too transparent and ends up a decent but middle-of-the-road attempt to repeat his earlier success.
Ueda can't hide the film's lack of budget and performances are mediocre across the board. The plot is pretty decent though, about a young kid who joins a company of actors who are deployed in real life in order to solve people's issues. Special Actors isn't terrible, but it's too long, too simple and it lacks distinctive qualities.