Lee Long is a martial-arts champion who the police use as an undercover agent to infiltrate a drug ring responsible for importing heroin from Japan to Hong Kong. When he is identified and ... See full summary »
Akemi and the man of her clan confront their opponents; Akemi delivers a sword thrust to kill the opponents' leader, and Aiko, his daughter, tries to interpose herself, suffering a glancing... See full summary »
A fortuneteller prophesizes that whoever marries the beautiful Ukio will become the ruler of the world. Naturally, this makes her very popular with those vying for power, particularly the ... See full summary »
A psychotic small-time criminal realizes that the everyday robberies, rapes and murders he commits aren't making him all that much money, so he figures to hit the "big time" by kidnapping the daughter of a rich man.
In the middle of the 16th century, Hideyoshi, a power hungry warlord sets out to destroy the Momochi clan. He sends his war commander in search of the clan's hidden gold only to find that ... See full summary »
After escaping from an insane asylum, a young medical student takes on the ide4ntity of a dead man to discover the true identity of a man whose picture he saw in a newspaper--who is his ... See full summary »
A squadron of Japanese Self-Defense Force soldiers find themselves transported through time to their country's warring states era, when rival samurai clans were battling to become the ... See full summary »
Ocho is accidentally captured by a drug trafficking cartel who use Chinese women to smuggle drugs into Japan by hiding it in their vaginas. She is tortured, and manages to escape, fighting ... See full summary »
In the heart of Tokyo, Tatsumi; The Godfather of a notorious yakuza clan is killed by his ambitious right hand man Gondo. Gondo leaves for Los Angeles to expand his territory. Tatsumi's ... See full summary »
The Brutal, the Bad and the Bad-Ass - Sonny Chiba Rocks the Boat!
I recently watched two immortal Sonny Chiba Karate classics from the great Toei Company in one night, one being "The Street Fighter" (1974) and the other this gem named "Chokugeki! Jigoku-ken" aka. "The Executioner" from the same year. I couldn't possibly say which of these two gems I enjoyed more, both deserve their status as true gems of Japanese 70s exploitation. Whereas Shigheiro Ozawa's "Gekitotsu! Satsujin ken" is a raw and ultra-brutal film in which the almighty Mr. Chiba plays a ruthless killing-machine of an anti-hero, Teruo Ishii's "The Executioner" is also very violent, but a lot more humorous. I was a fan of director Ishii before seeing this film for some of his awesome contributions to the Pinky Violence genre (such as "Female Yakuza Tale", 1973), and this awesome flick even increased my admiration for the man. "The Executioner" is an incredibly entertaining flick that delivers everything an Exploitation lover could possibly desire - from martial arts and brutal, bloody violence, to wonderfully odd, typically Japanese humor, eccentric characters, sleaze and gratuitous female nudity, a funky score and great cinematography - "The Executioner" has it all.
Three men, the skilled ninja Ryuchi Koga (Sonny Chiba), the deadly assassin and former drug detective Takeshi Hayato (Makoto Satô), and the criminal and death-row escapee Ichiro Sakura (Eiji Go) are assigned to crush a drug ring which, due to diplomatic connections, is unaccessible to the law... All three leading men fit their roles very well, Chiba, of course, being the main attraction. The film obviously took a lot of inspiration from Spaghetti Westerns, most obviously from Sergio Leone's 1966 masterpiece "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (the best Western ever made, and probably my personal choice for the best film ever). The 'introduction' of Satô, for example, was almost taken over exactly from Lee Van Cleef's introduction in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" - only that this one features explicit gore and loads of sleaze. The character relations are also somewhat resemblant of those in GBU, although the distinction between 'good' and 'bad' is even more vague. Eiji "Tokyo Drifter" Go is the one responsible for most of the funny bits. Sonny Chiba's martial arts are, as always, absolutely amazing, and they come along with loads of brutality. Chiba plays a more likable character here than in the "Street Fighter" films, but he's kicking ass the violent way all the same. Beautiful Yutaka Nakajima, who also played the female lead in "The Street Fighter", is once again a welcome addition in her role here. To sum up: "The Executioner" is brutal, stylish, action-packed and fun in equal measures, and an absolute must for fans of Japanese Exploitation cinema. Sonny Chiba, we worship thee!
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