Starring : Shinicji ''Sonny'' Chiba - 1974
This is the first Japanese film i have covered in Old School as Japanese Martial flicks from the Seventies and Eighties are not as readily available as their Hong Kong counterparts.Now this was the first film to get a X certificate in the USA on the grounds of violence .Now as with most Sonny Chiba films this was produced by Toei ,and groundbreaking it was too.
Chiba plays Tsurugi a fighter for higher who ends up protecting a heiress who is about to get control of her dead fathers company.But this only happens when Tsurugi refuses to help the enemy abduct her so they can gain control.
Now Tsurugi has just finished a job freeing a man from jail who was just to be executed. But when the people who hired him fail to pay due to having no money a fight ensues and One of the hirers gets killed (who happens to be the person he's freed Brother) and the other (his sister) gets taken care of by Tsurugi's contracter of the job.(she is sold as a slave).
Now Tsurugi refuses to help the Hong Kong based mafia by abducting a young woman 'Sarai who's father has been killed.He approaches her uncle who runs the Seibukan karate dojo.Basically he storms the dojo and captures Sarai then challenges the whole dojo to a duel.
Now this is pure bliss to watch as Chiba fights his way through the class so as to confront the girls uncle Master Kendo Masaoka.Now the idea behind this is so Tsurugi can prove he is the best available to protect her and offer his services to Masaoka to protect his niece.Now this goes to plan and he gets the job.
So the Mafia are hot on there trail to abduct Sarai and her fathers company executives are also in on the deal as some are also members of the mafia and want control as well.Now the thing is the mafia hire the man he freed from prison at the beginning of the film(Tateki Shikenbaru) who discovers his sister at the mafia's holding rooms.And agrees to kill Tsurugi to free his sister and get revenge for his brother.Looks like Tsurugi's got his work cut out here.But maybe not as this is Sonny Chiba on top form.
This is a blast and shows how much of a master Sonny Chiba is .Films that show Karate with this much power are hard to find and nowadays only a few come to mind( Kuro- Obi being one).But Chiba was a master at this as he was trained by Mas Oyama in real life and made three films about this man.Also Chiba is a Black belt not only in Karate but Judo ,Kendo ,Shorinji Kenpo and Ninjitsu.
It's pure brilliance to watch him as he fights showing all that Karate power that is inbred in to the people that train in the art .From the powerful Kata's to the breathing and One hit Knockout strikes that Karate is all about.
Also being from the seventies this film as with most of Chiba's films starred a mass of Karate talent from his dojo's and friends.But as mentioned in the beginning of this review this is a violent film and quite bloody for the time with Eye gouging ,heart stopping Genital ripping blood fest of a Martial art flick which became a overnight classic and spawned two sequels and a spinoff series of movies .Pure gut wrenching entertainment.
Score out of Ten = 9