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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Sonny Chiba as Doshin So

Author: cjrock1 from NY, NY
27 June 2000

Sonny Chiba as Doshin So,Originator of Shorinji Kempo. This was Chiba's first of two portrayals of a real life martial arts masters ( His portrayal of his Sensei Mas Oyama in "The Champion of Death" being his second). Incredible fight scene choreography featuring authentic shorinji kenpo techniques, though of course it wouldn't be a Sonny Chiba film without his removal of body parts of several opponents. The plot involves life in postwar Japan in which Doshin So comes to the aid of numerous war orphans as well as a young girl who is forced to become a prostitute to survive. The film also features Sue "Sister Streetfighter" Shiomi, a mainstay in many Chiba Films as well as a talented martial artist herself. Sonny Chiba shows much love and respect for the history of his chosen arts as well as his former Senseis (he has a black belt in shorinji kempo as well as Mas Oyamas kyokushikai karate). I rank this film as #3 in Chiba's top 5 films, a must see for Chiba fans and martial arts enthusiasts alike.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Gory Japanese Nationalist, Martial Arts, Tearjerker. A first!

7/10
Author: Nathan Thomas (Nate-9) from California, USA
2 September 1999

In one scene he helps orphans, the next he rips off someones penis and feeds it to a dog. He cries the loss of his love, the prostitute he helped get off the street...then his friend gets his arm cut off with a sword and blood spurts from the stump. All of this with Japanese Nationalist beliefs and hatred against Chinese & Americans. This does star Sonny Chiba and it isn't bad, though the drama seems a little cheesy with the orphans and everybody's fake tears. Not one of his top three films for sure.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

classic Chiba!!

7/10
Author: wanderingstar from Toronto
8 March 2007

"The Killing Machine" undoubtedly did not make the short list for foreign films up for Oscars in 1975, but for Chiba fans, this is pure gold.

It's 1945, and Chiba is a spy in the Japanese Imperial Army, one of the many "disillusioned" young men after Japan's unconditional surrender. The story takes him from the poor streets of post-war Japan, taking care of homeless kids, to founding a karate school which provides a bulwark of purity against corrupt drug traffickers.

The campy hokeyness is best exemplified in the first scene, when Chiba is spying on Chinese commanders in a nondescript house at the front. He is discovered, fights his way out, and in the split second change in scene, stumbles into a Japanese office, like it was located in the very next room (hey, do you think the two sets were side by side????).

But this film contains some great fight scenes. Back kicks, devastating punches, spurting limbs, and genitalia severed with scissors and fed to the local stray dogs abounds. In my fav scene which really exemplifies Chiba's style, he lays waste to an opponent by bending his arm back and breaking it, and it flops backwards at a grotesque angle. Then, as though this wasn't enough, he takes the time to turn the guy over and break his other arm! Classic!!! who can argue with this type of genius!!

Definitely, definitely see this, if possible with some beers and a bunch of friends with the same taste in campy 1970's martial arts films.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Sonny Chiba kickin' ass!

7/10
Author: theskylabadventure from United Kingdom
9 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I won't lie to you. This movie does not contain any great philosophical ideas, ethical didacticisms or original story concepts. But what would be the fun in that?

This movie is essentially all about Sonny Chiba rockin' the proverbial mic. The story is roughly this; a dude gets into too many fights, relocates, makes friends by getting into more fights, gets his friends injured in fights (notably arm severage), gets into fights to avenge said friends, is overtly ethical but then kicks some ass, gets in more fights, cuts off a rapist's wienie (then gives it to a dog to eat), learns about love and redemption (care of a token pure-and-innocent-girl-turned-victimised-hooker and a bunch of raggedy ass orphans) but knocks the shiz out of each and every fcuker that comes along and pisses him off nonetheless (especially if they're Chinese or American).

Chiba's character, though loosely based on real life Shaolin badass Doshin So, is a little too close to many of Bruce Lee's characters from five years earlier (the overt morality and incorruptibility), but his presence (mean, badass, take-no-sh*t and strongly Nationalistic) and fighting style (Shaolin boxing) are both sufficiently different for that not to matter. Moreover, it's a departure from Chiba's usual character type, notably from the 'Streetfighter' series, where he is more or less completely amoral. This is a Sonny Chiba movie you could watch with your kids... were it not for the brutal violence.

If you are looking for a Sonny Chiba film to serve as an introduction to his work, you could do a lot worse. Along with the original 'Streetfighter', 'Killing Machine' is one of his very best.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

As a dubbed martial arts film, it's pretty good--but try to find the original

8/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
7 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My rating of 8 is strictly for the English dubbed version of this Sonny Chiba film. That's because like many martial arts films dubbed in the 1970s and 80s, the dubbing was very poor--with words like "kempo" mistranslated as "shao lin" and the title of the movie being "The Killing Machine"--a concept in direct opposition to the teachings of Doshin So (and about whom this movie is based). With subtitles, it probably rates a 9.

Considering that Sonny Chiba's films about Masutatsu Oyama were great (though not exactly literal) martial arts biographies, I made it a point to see his film about Doshin So--the founder of another style of martial arts (both in which, by the way, Chiba earned black belts). And, like these other films, this one is very exciting and features exceptional martial arts techniques. In fact, as the philosophies of the two masters were similar in some ways and they lived during the same period, the films have many, many similarities--especially the main character's reliance on justice for "the little guy". However, unlike the Oyama character, So seemed a bit more purposeful in his life--not wandering about during many of the post-war years looking for trouble. In fact, considering that much of THE KILLING MACHINE was spent beating up mobsters, the film is almost like the merging of the Oyama films with the Zatoichi films (where master Ichi enters a town full of Yakuza and leaves after having killed them all because of their abuse of the common people).

About the only trouble with this film is its high level of violence. It was about on par with Chiba's Street Fighter films (which received X ratings for violence when they were released in the US in the 70s). Compared to modern films, the scenes aren't that bad and fortunately the rape scene was cut short before it became too brutal to watch. But, when the rapists then have their "nether-regions" cut off by So with a pair of scissors, it's a bit tough to see--especially with all the blood and watching a dog pick up the penis and run away with it! These punks DID have it coming, but this is certainly NOT a film for kids!!

Overall, it's yet another fantastic martial arts film for Sonny Chiba--an amazing martial artist who probably comes the closest to the legendary Bruce Lee in style. His martial artistry is less elegant but far more brutal than modern actors like Jackie Chan and Jet Li. These newcomers are great fun to watch, but Chiba's characters are just concerned with killing blows instead of style--yikes!

FYI--One reviewer seemed to feel that this film was overly sympathetic to the Japanese and their role in starting WWII. While I agree that the Japanese film industry has largely ignored their country's responsibility in the war, I don't think this film is trying to paint the Japanese as victims. Yes, some of the fight scenes involve Chiba fighting against American G.I.s, but he also fights with many Japanese Yakuza AND stops Japanese soldiers from raping a woman when the film begins. Additionally, the average poor Japanese citizen did feel rather disenfranchised and lost after the war because their way of life ended so abruptly.

Also FYI--Throughout the film, So and his followers wear a dobok (a martial arts uniform) with a swastika on them. This is an ancient Asian symbol commonly used in India, China and Japan (among other places). It denotes luck or well being and is NOT an endorsement of Nazis--so relax and just enjoy the film!!!!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

good movie

Author: lee nicholson (leeio2002@yahoo.co.uk) from middlesbrough, england
22 December 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

KILLING MACHINE tells the tale from the standpoint of the japanese, just after WW2. CHIBA plays (surprise, surprise) a martial arts expert, wandering around, helping the homeless and (brutally) righting wrongs. He eventually opens a martial-arts school, and the powers that be, try to take it over....SPOILER**SPOILER**....the bad guys get their asses handed to them! Plenty of gory fight action, and a little emotion.The highlight being, castration with scissors, upon which the removed article is tossed to a dog...who in turn eats it.

Classic CHIBA

10 out of 10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

manliness personified

10/10
Author: eatmyfuc
20 January 2013

In a defining moment of this movie, Sonny Chiba stares ahead in the snow with those strangely piercing otter eyes of his and monologues: "love and strength are one. Strength without love is nothing. Love and strength... ARE ONE!" Maybe that's about all you need to know to determine whether or not this is your thing.

It's important to note this is one of the few 70s Chiba films that isn't just an exploitation flick, although there are a few bones thrown to that audience (pun intention status classified)--I'm sure a few other reviews mention the violence highlights. It's not even really a martial arts movie, or rather, maybe it could be said it's more "purely" about martial arts than your average Hong Kong yarn; it's a slow-burning post-war drama in which the plot emerges from the underlying philosophy, rather than the narrative simply being a vehicle for combat. Action junkies will be bored, but in typical 70s Japanese fashion it's extremely stylish and watchable, even a bit funky.

Somehow the melodrama is layed on thick without ever getting overly sappy, and watered down bushido philosophy & anti-imperialism make for a righteous mix of thematic meat as Chiba punishes thugs and does the best he can to protect his own. Yes, there are "troublesome" nationalistic overtones that turn a questioning eye toward multiculturalism, go cry about it. It is an extremely masculine, sincere film, so of course modern audiences probably can't relate either way.

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Little-known Chiba classic

8/10
Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
10 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sonny Chiba is the predictably ass-kicking hero in this engaging historical effort which shows what life was like in Japan just after World War 2…in a nutshell, pretty grim. Chiba plays the real-life Master Soh, a martial arts master who successfully opened his own Shaolin kung fu school in Osaka – but not before lots of blood has been spilt. The film is really made of two halves, the first half telling the historical story, and focusing on plenty of emoting from Chiba – who undergoes a moral transformation – and concentrating on his relationships with a gang of orphaned kids and a nice gal who resorts to prostitution to earn some money.

The second half of the film is more familiar territory for STREET FIGHTER fans, charting Chiba's progress against the various gangs who make up the villains of the film. Things begin on a high note as Chiba massacres a bunch of Chinese soldiers before learning that the war is over. He proceeds to go berserk and gun down all of his Japanese seniors in one go! After this, Chiba returns to Japan to set up home in a black market, and it's not long before he's jabbing out the eyes of an American serviceman who mows down a little kid with his jeep.

Things progress pretty much as you would expect from there, as Chiba fights off yakuza gangs, local thugs, and more, although the film noticeably lacks a main villain with whom Chiba can pit his wits – he's just too good for them all! The film is as gory as you would expect, with an arm-severing that'd make the ONE-ARMED BOXER wince and look away, and Chiba goes around breaking arms in various well-choreographed fight scenes which are the real highlights of the film. The most outrageous shot occurs as Chiba takes revenge on a rapist, cutting off his tackle with a knife and feeding it to a stray dog! The supporting cast are strong, especially the female performers, including Chiba regular Etsuko Shihomi, aka SISTER STREET FIGHTER. Things culminate in a massive running battle in the forest as Chiba takes on a sword-wielding yakuza gang, no prizes for guessing who comes out tops in this one. All in all THE KILLING MACHINE is a superior martial arts film that any STREET FIGHTER fan is sure to enjoy.

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Excellent vehicle for the mighty Sonny Chiba

8/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
10 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

1946. Martial arts master Doshin So (Sonny Chiba in fine fierce form) returns home to Japan after serving as an undercover spy during World War II. Doshin soon establishes himself as a protector of homeless orphans, opens a Shaolin martial arts school, and declares war on a nefarious black market racket.

Director Noribumi Suzuki, working from a tough-minded script by Isao Matsumoto, relates the gripping story at a steady pace, maintains a harsh gritty tone throughout, doesn't skimp on the bloody'n'brutal violence, and stages the karate fights with savage aplomb. Moreover, this film offers an interesting depiction of the tattered mess of post-World War II Japan. Naturally, Chiba handles his chopsocky duties with characteristic ferocious brio: Sonny breaks limbs, cuts a rapist's offending weapon off and feeds it to a dog (!), and, of course, takes out dozens of opponents all at once. Better still, Chiba even gets to show a more tender and caring side in several touching scenes with both the orphan kids and a down on her luck prostitute. Recommended viewing for Chiba fans.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Sonny Chiba the Hero!!

7/10
Author: zombizombizombi from United States
13 May 2007

That's right every man and woman hero its 1946 and the war is over. Japan is all messed up and so he defends the poor well kids anyway and a prostitute he fights and badly hurts two Americans and he is said to be put to death.The warden likes our hero tells him to leave Osaka,Japan.He does and starts up a dojo where he teaches show Lin karate anyway this is a great movie lots of fighting good acting and at times really sad and gory.Chibas character cuts off a bad guys balls dislocates allot of limbs his buby gits stabbed to death and a student/friend gets his arm cut off I have the movie in a 3 pack Lethal Chiba it includes this and The Executioner one and two if your a fan go get this DVD easy to find and its cheep at Best Buy only paid 16 bucks for it!!Let action begin!!!

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