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Karate Warriors (1976)

Kozure satsujin ken (original title)
A karate fighter and a samurai join opposing gangs to take them down from the inside.


Kazuhiko Yamaguchi


Tatsuhiko Kamoi (screenplay), Shinji Nakajima (screenplay)

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Cast overview:
Shin'ichi Chiba ... (as Sonny Chiba)
Isao Natsuyagi
Akiko Koyama Akiko Koyama
Akane Kawasaki Akane Kawasaki
Hideo Murota Hideo Murota
Eiji Gô Eiji Gô
Bin Amatsu Bin Amatsu
Yayoi Watanabe Yayoi Watanabe
Tatsuo Umemiya Tatsuo Umemiya


Chico arrives in a city where there are two waring gangs. Chico gets wind of a large hidden stash of heroin owned by the, now dead, former leader over all of the gangs and sets off to find it and keep the two gangs at war. Meanwhile, he as befriended a small boy whose father is a samurai assassin working for the rival gang. Written by jimthemoviefreak@gmail.com

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The Deadliest Dragon That Ever Smashed the Street Gangs! See more »


Action | Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

10 April 1976 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Karate Warriors See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toei Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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References Yojimbo (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Incoherent, amoral, and furious: THE WINNING COMBINATION!
9 November 2003 | by burpingcatSee all my reviews

"Kozure satsujin ken", hereby referred to as "Karate Warriors", opens abruptly with a scene of yakuzas trashing a porno store. As the camera captures the action, zoomed-up and violently shaking, you can't help but ask yourself- "What the hell is going on?". This opening scene neatly summarizes the entire movie's strict three-part formula, which observant viewers can pick up on:

1. Plot scene

2. Female Nudity/Abuse/Sex scene


All aspiring film-makers take note, because that is the winning combination for a movie. Karate Warriors deals it in spades.

First, vaguely introduce characters by means of a plot scene. Make sure to show the entire character in the frame, so that people can see what he is wearing. Don't worry about introducing women, because as I will show in the next paragraph, they don't matter. If the character is holding something, it's even better. Make these scenes the most tame in the movie. In fact, don't even record audio for them. In Karate Warriors, they turned the microphones off for these parts, because as some old saying goes, Karate Warriors express themselves through their fists. The deaf silence of the lack of audio adds definite dramatic flair. However, don't feel pressured to actually explain any sort of story in these plot scenes. Karate Warriors didn't.

Next, bring in a female character. Karate Warriors had something like 10 female characters, and they all get raped or killed. Sonny Chiba expresses his cunning sexuality by having sex with one of them, immediately after she was abused and beaten by a belt! If they manage to escape the movie's fleeting plot without getting raped or killed, it's because they already showed their skin and made a run for it. In one of the last scenes, one of the women gets impaled by a sword, and the ruthless thugs just stand there with their arms folded, looking tough. In these days of film-making, you aren't going to get any attention from the independent film critics unless you get provocative!

By this time, you can predict that any time there is nudity or female abuse, the next scene will have what can only be called KARATE TIME. KARATE TIME happens when 10 or more thugs storm into a room, and then either Sonny Chiba or the samurai guy appears in the room. Suddenly, the camera zooms in, shakes violently, and people start screaming and moving around chaotically. Quite frankly, you have no idea of what the hell is going on, until you make out either a fist or a sword swinging around and somebody falls over. In some fights, time even slows down and speeds up for dramatic effect, resembling something out of The Matrix, except 30 years earlier. For a movie made in the 70's, this is actually pretty stylish, and very much ahead of it's time. Another plus is that those moments are when you can actually clearly see the action going on. Otherwise, the action scenes can be decently depicted by standing up out of your chair, flailing your fists about wildly as in a sissy fight, and screaming.

And that's about it. The movie follows this pattern to the end. All the scenes are awkwardly edited together, often jumping abruptly from one scene to the next. Who can blame them? It's not easy to smoothly go from plot to woman abuse to all-out chaos. Karate Warriors is highly entertaining. It practically has NO story. The action scenes are strangely cool despite not comprehending more than half of them. And, it's probably the only time you will ever laugh at somebody being abused, thanks to the care-free abusive attitude Japan in the 1970's. This is Karate Warriors: "chop-socky karate action with nary a cop in sight!"

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