This trilogy is comprised of Karate Bullfighter, Karate Bear Fighter, and Karate For Life, each one focusing on a different part of the life of Matsutatsu Oyama, a great practitioner and teacher of Kyokushin Karate. He’s played here by Sonny Chiba, himself a student of Oyama’s. Each of the films in question are worth a look, and this set offers a great deal for anyone who is interested in the particular charms of Japanese martial arts films.
Karate Bullfighter (1977)
Sonny Chiba, as everyone knows, is the man. In this film, he portrays Mas Oyama (1923-1994), a real martial artist who fought over 50 bulls with his bare hands…and won (interesting guy…look him up). Anyway, Chiba only kills one bull in the film but it’s a memorable scene and as the liner notes say, right up there with the zombie vs. shark scene in Zombi! The film also offers up loads of hand-to-hand combat and a decent plot to boot, though I don’t believe all of it is true. This film is the first of the Oyama trilogy Chiba made and is recommended for fans of martial arts action. Finally, three neat little tidbits; part of the opening theme was used in Kill Bill Volume 1, Oyama himself appears in the opening sequences, and that is because he trained Chiba in real life for five years!
Karate Bear Fighter (1977)
Director Kazuhiko Yamaguzhi relates the engrossing story at a snappy pace and maintains a stark serious tone throughout. Naturally, Chiba lays on his trademark no-holds-barred savagery something fierce as he takes out opponents with a single lethal blow and more than holds his own against multiple attackers. The scenes between Chiba and the little boy are quite moving while the big match between Chiba and the bear (some guy in a pretty decent suit) rates as a real corker. Yumi Takigawa lends able support as Oyama’s loyal and long-suffering girlfriend Chiyako. The lovely Yutaka Nakujima has a regrettably smallish role as the sweet Sumiko. Yoshio Nakajima’s vibrant cinematography makes neat use of zooms and whiplash pans.
Karate For Life (1977)
The one Thing i can say is WOW! This movie kicks some butt and then some. It’s the conclusion in the Oyama trilogy. Sonny Chiba reprises his role as Oyama in this terrific actioner that brings the saga to a close. In this actioner, Oyama has joined an outfit as a bodyguard and is going around japan challenging all schools that his karate is better than thiers. At this one school, Oyama kicks the crap out of 100 students and their teacher but not before he gouges his one eye out. Later, Oyama is offered some big bucks to go to Okinawa and participate in pro wrestling. If Oyama wins, he’ll be paid handsomly. Only later does Oyama find out that the matches are fixed and he’s supposed to lose. Oyama is very hot at this and he goes on fighting in the ring only to win and this angers the local mafia. With the mafia gunning for him, Oyama declares war. The movie is almost a copycat of Enter The Dragon except the director has a more visual eye than Robert Clouse. The fight scenes are brutal and bloody and Sonny Chiba is in top form in the last outing of Oyama.
DVDRip | MKV | 624 x 320 | x264 @ 1454/1464/1329 Kbps | 88/87/90 min | 1,21/1,06/1,02 Gb
First Film: Japanese AC3 5.1 @ 384 Kbps | Subtitles: English, Japanese
Second and Third films: Japanese AC3 2.0 @ 192 Kbps | Subs: English
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama