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Blood for Money! Sonny Chiba is "Golgo 13", a cold, calculating, ruthless assassin, working for the U.S. drug syndicate. His assignment: "take-out" Hong Kong's underworld kingpin. His only ... See full summary »
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 »
Singapore's top policewoman, Miss Cleopatra Wong, who heads the Seasian Interpol Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D.), teams up with her Filipino counterpart to bust a counterfeit ... See full summary »
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 »
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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