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Takuma

Sonny Chiba Mega Review Thread

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8 hours ago, Takuma said:

I forgot to mention in my review: Chiba sings the theme song.

Also forgot the mention Chiba's nickname in the movie is "Mr. Toilet".

Chiba sings! Right on. 

That nickname though...:blush

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It propably contributes to this topic nothing extraordinary but just when browsing through dvd collection I noticed(bit surprisingly) I have adness box "shogun collection" and shoguns ninja only I have ever seen before.I was damn shopping addict few years ago still over 400  shaws spaghettis and hollywoods waiting premiere(japanese selection+eurohorror&italocrime is tiny and so is modern hk I actually have no idea what is going on todays hk cinema)

 

All are in japanese with english subtitles I will take a break from shaws and it`s chibatime!

 

 

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Game of Chance (aka Samurai’s Lullaby)  (Japan, 1966) [35mm] – 3.5/5

Ninkyo yakuza films were probably Toei’s most important genre in the mid / late 60s. The chivalrous yakuza films pitched honourable outlaws who followed the codes of honour against corrupt gangs who exploited the innocent. The hugely popular genre made actors like Ken Takakura, Koji Tsuruta and Junko Fuji some of the biggest stars of their time. It was therefore no wonder that Toei also tested Sonny Chiba as a ninkyo hero. His run in the genre was brief but produced some interesting results.

Chiba as a single father and swindler who has to escape with his 6 year son (Hiroyuki Sanada in his first role) after being caught cheating in the gambling table. The father and son travel to Tokyo, where Chiba is hoping to leave the kid to his mother's care, but things don't go as planned and he ends up joining bad guy Bin Amatsu's gang.

Game of Chance is quite an unusual film for it is clearly built on ninkyo film pillars, yet Chiba commits some dishonourable acts that a typical ninkyo hero would never do. However, many of the best ninkyo films contained a major supporting character who was an honourable man but would be working for the enemy because of a blood relation or some obligation. Chiba's character in Game of Chance is, in fact, much like a typical ninkyo supporting character who has been made the main character.

The unusual approach makes Game of Chance an odd bird, and we could argue it's not a pure ninkyo film to begin with, but it also adds to its interest. The things Chiba does in Game of Chance may be dishonourable, but they can also be defended to some extent, adding more shades of grey to the ninkyo formula.

Game of Chance also stands out for its heavy focus on feminine drama, which was unusual in the masculine genre. As the film proceeds, Chiba occasionally takes the back seat and makes way for Sanada and his mother candidates, including his biological mother and and a lovely young lady (Reiko Ohara) who becomes his foster mother. It all works surprisingly well, with good performances from everyone involved. It's especially entertaining to see Chiba in a role that finds balance between his usual enthusiastic energy and quiet moments. The film doesn't get back to violent action until the last 10 minutes.

Director Ryuichi Takamori does decent job helming the film, though he never approaches the greatness of true ninkyo classics (e.g. the Red Peony Gambler series, the Brutal Tales of Chivalry series). He was a mediocre director who rarely improved movies with his involvement, but a couple of times on his career he did decent job, and this was one of them.

The 5 year old Hiroyuki Sanada performs here under his real name, Hiroyuki Shimosawa. He appeared in a number of other yakuza films in the following years, such as New Abashiri Prison: Vagrant Comes to a Port Town (1969) and Brutal Tales of Chivalry: I Sincerely Want to Kill You (1970), before joining Chiba's acting school Japan Action Club in 1973. In the late 70s and early 80s Chiba and Sanada would often play supporting roles in each others' films, until in Adventurer Kamikaze (1982) the two finally starred in equal leading roles.

Game of Chance was followed by two sequels, both starring Chiba, and both shot in colour. These films remain the only time Chiba has played starring role in a ninkyo film, although he had appeared in supporting roles a few times earlier on his career (e.g. Gambler`s Love, 1964).

Taro Hitofushi performs the theme song, which served as inspiration for the film's story.

* Original title: Rokyoku komori-uta (浪曲子守歌)
* Director: Ryuichi Takamori
* Chiba's role: Starring role
* Film availability: None! (review format: 35mm; screencaps from a TV print)

Chiba and Sanada
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Taro Hitofushi singing in the background
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Ohara
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Sanada
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Sanada
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Chiba's had it
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Edited by Takuma

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@Takuma, oh how I regret not reading this entire thread when I had the chance! I started finally re-reading it from the beginning a few weeks before the site crashed, and it was absolutely wonderful.

My fingers are crossed that you have all of this backed up and saved on your computer. If so, I hope you will consider re-posting everything. I know that will be a heap of time-consuming work, but... "you must never give up. You must be... a #1 man!"

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On 10/12/2016 at 6:49 PM, KUNG FU BOB said:

@Takuma, oh how I regret not reading this entire thread when I had the chance! I started finally re-reading it from the beginning a few weeks before the site crashed, and it was absolutely wonderful.

My fingers are crossed that you have all of this backed up and saved on your computer. If so, I hope you will consider re-posting everything. I know that will be a heap of time-consuming work, but... "you must never give up. You must be... a #1 man!"

If @Takuma doesn't have them backed up, I have his Sonny Chiba reviews printed out up to The Street Fighter and all of his mini-reviews up through August as well.

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45 minutes ago, DrNgor said:

If @Takuma doesn't have them backed up, I have his Sonny Chiba reviews printed out up to The Street Fighter and all of his mini-reviews up through August as well.

No kidding?! That's great news Doc.

If he doesn't have them, I'm sure he will be very happy to hear this.

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51 minutes ago, KUNG FU BOB said:

No kidding?! That's great news Doc.

Yeah, I printed them out around August or so, had them bound like a notebook and titled it "Japanese Cult Cinema," much like "Asian Cult Cinema" by Thomas Weisser, but by someone who had seen the movies.

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6 minutes ago, DrNgor said:

Yeah, I printed them out around August or so, had them bound like a notebook and titled it "Japanese Cult Cinema," much like "Asian Cult Cinema" by Thomas Weisser, but by someone who had seen the movies.

Nice, and... nice! :xd: LOL

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Nothing is lost. This is exactly why I post my stuff on more than one forum.

May take a little while before I start re-posting them, though.

12 hours ago, DrNgor said:

Yeah, I printed them out around August or so, had them bound like a notebook and titled it "Japanese Cult Cinema," much like "Asian Cult Cinema" by Thomas Weisser, but by someone who had seen the movies.

That made my day. Thanks :laugh

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2 hours ago, Takuma said:

That made my day. Thanks :laugh

No, thank you for posting so many excelente mini-reviews. I'm a huge sucker for Leonard Maltin-style books, so your mini-reviews were just the thing for me.

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North Sea Chivalry (Japan, 1967) [VoD] – 2/5
Sonny Chiba gives a solid dramatic performance in an otherwise uninspired semi-ninkyo drama. The storyline follows a struggling fisherman clan (lead by old man Kanjuro Arashi) that tries not to get in trouble with the local yakuza (with Tomisaburo Wakayama as the leader). The film struggles to find any kind of focus to the extent that there is no obvious main character. Chiba, however, is by far the best thing about the film as the clan leader’s son, who rebels against his father. He doesn’t participate in any action scenes, but his performance is solid and his character is easily the best written in the film.

* Original title: Hokkai yukyoden (北海遊侠伝)
* Director: Ryuchi Takamori
* Chiba's role: Major supporting role
* Film availability: VoD (Japan) (No subtitles)

Chiba and Reiko Ohara
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Kanjuro Arashi
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Chiba
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Chiba
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Wakayama
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Tale of Kawachi Chivalry (Japan, 1967) [VoD] – 2/5
Sonny Chiba stars in this misleadingly marketed semi-ninkyo piece set in the early Showa era. Chiba plays a young man returning to his hometown. He begins working as chef, but he seems more interested in fooling around and picking fights. Enter yakuza film regular Bin Amatsu, and we have a conflict between the honest townspeople and corrupt criminals.

Tale of Kawachi Chivalry basically takes the typical ninkyo-yakuza film story, but strips it from the gloss and glorification. In a way, director Ryuichi Takamori was going the same direction as Kinji Fukasaku and Junya Sato with their late 60s works. Unfortunately, in the hands of the less talented Takamori it rarely translated into anything very interesting. Even more problematic was that his films were often missing the more complex themes of honour and obligation that could be found in the best ninkyo films.

Tale of Kawachi Chivalry is not a terrible film – Chiba is alright, the crew is experienced, and there’s a pretty exciting rickshaw race – but it’s among Chiba's least memorable starring roles. The film’s magnificent poster, which shows Chiba armed with katana, is also very misleading: there is almost no action in the film, and Chiba never picks up that sword.

Tale of Kawachi Chivalry and North Sea Chivalry could be seen as related works, although they had different screenwriters. They both utilize a ninkyo-like premise, but in a way make it more contemporary and realistic, and are not really ninkyo films. Both films feature ordinary men as main characters instead of yakuza, who only appear as villains. Unfortunately neither film excels as a character drama despite being story driven and stripped of action. Both were directed by Takamori – who was the walking definition of mediocre – and starred Chiba, who was easily the best thing about both films. Chiba and Takamori collaborated a total of 10 times, including the Legendary Lullaby (Game of Chance) series, which also resembles these two films but were more true to ninkyo cinema by making the protagonist a lone yakuza with a kid.

* Original title: Kawachi yuukyoden ((河内遊侠伝))
* Director: Ryuchi Takamori
* Chiba's role: Starring role
* Film availability: VoD (Japan) (No subtitles)

Angry Chiba
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Furious Chiba
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Enraged Chiba
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Amatsu and Murota
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Surprised Chiba
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Frustrated Chiba
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Anxious Chiba
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Breathless Chiba
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Crazy Chiba
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Don't let the magnificent poster mislead you
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Organized Crime (Japan, 1967) [VoD] - 2/5
This is basically a predecessor to the 70s jitsuroku yakuza films. The film draws a pessimistic image of gang violence that breaks out on the streets between rivalry yakuza clans. There's ambition to it, and the slightly documentary-like approach resembles the later jitsuroku films, but the film isn't especially captivating or memorable. Rather than following any specific character, the film focuses on the entire crime society and jumps back and forth between characters who come and go. Unfortunately none of them are that interesting. A detective played by Tetsuro Tamba is probably the closest to a central character. The second billed Sonny Chiba, who plays one of the lower ranking yakuza, only becomes a major character during the second half.

* Original title: Soshiki boryoku (組織暴力)
* Director: Junya Sato
* Chiba's role: Major supporting role
* Film availability: VoD (Japan) (No subtitles)

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VHS art
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Diaries of the Kamikaze (Japan, 1967) [DVD] - 3/5
This is one of the better kamikaze dramas Toei put out in late 60s. These films are not well know abroad, as the subject matter made sure only the most pacifist masterpieces of Japanese war cinema found international distribution. Strictly commercial melodramas such as this remained domestic money makers. Hiroki Matsukata and Sonny Chiba star as two best friends who are drafted to the army and eventually become kamikaze pilots. While Matsukata is the number 1 star, Chiba has a pretty good supporting role. The all star cast is filled with big names, including Ken Takakura, Koji Tsuruta, Isao Natsuyagi, Bin Amatsu, and Junko Fuji. It's a solid film with decent characters, good pace and a touching subject, though there are even better films in the genre, such as The Last Kamikaze (1970).

* Original title: Âa dôki no sakura (あゝ同期の桜)
* Director: Sadao Nakajima
* Chiba's role: Major supporting role
* Film availability: Toei DVD (Japan) (No subtitles)
 
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Takakura, Tsuruta, Amatsu
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Chiba!
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Dirty Chiba
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Fuji and Matsukata
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More Chiba
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Chiba the night before he's to head for his final flight
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Air raid
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The Young Eagles of the Kamikaze (Japan, 1968) [DVD] - 2/5
Like so many other kamikaze dramas from the 60s, this film opens with a long training sequence that sees the young solders getting yelled at and bullied by their superiors. As it goes on , they develop a bit of tension between each other, and are occasionally visited by a family member. There lies the problem with The Young Eagles of the Kamikaze; it's all been seen before, and often done better than here. There is some nationalistic pathos but little energy to Shinji Murayama's direction, and the film lacks interesting characters. At 110 minutes it's also a good bit longer than it needs to be. The principal cast is made of relatively fresh faces, such as pop idol Teruhiko Saigo (Sing to Those Clouds, 1965), with big names like Koji Tsuruta and Tetsuro Tamba in supporting roles. Cute Reiko Ohara is the best thing about the film. Sonny Chiba is the 4th billed actor, but he only appears in one short scene. Fans of Chiba and war dramas alike would better turn their attention to superior films, such as Kaigun (1964) and Diaries of the Kamikaze (1967).

* Original title: Âa yokaren (あゝ予科練)
* Director: Shinji Murayama
* Chiba's role: Cameo role
* Film availability: Toei DVD (Japan) (No subtitles)

Murota
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Chiba in his only scene
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Human Torpedoes (Japan, 1968) [DVD] - 2/5
Hiroyuki Matsukata plays the man who developed the Japanese human torpedo, a suicide weapon used in WWII. It's an interesting topic and makes good cinema for the first 30 minutes, after which the film turns into to a typical human relationship war drama with melodramatic and nationalistic undertones. It gets a bit better again towards the end when the human torpedoes are put into use. Sonny Chiba appears briefly during the last 15 minutes as a submarine captain, looking cool and charismatic with beard. It's too bad he only a has a couple of minutes of screen time, despite getting his name listed 3rd in the opening credits. The film would be much better if most of the middle third was cut out, and the focus was on developing and using the human torpedoes.

* Original title: Ningen gyorai: Âa kaiten tokubetsu kogetikai (人間魚雷 あゝ回天特別攻撃隊)
* Director: Shigero Ozawa
* Chiba's role: Small supporting role
* Film availability: Toei DVD (Japan) (No subtitles)

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Junko Fuji
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Chiba on the left
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Chiba in the middle
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Army Intelligence 33 (Japan, 1968) [35mm] – 4/5

Sonny Chiba waves good bye to serious war dramas in this criminally neglected mixture of spy-noir and kick-ass commando action. The film is loosely based on the Nakano Spy School which operated in Tokyo during the Second World War. It officially focused on correspondence, but in reality trained top spies for the government. Chiba portrays a promising young soldier who is framed for murder, and forced to become a spy after being found guilty in military court.

After receiving a tough training in martial arts, weapons, explosives, and foreign languages (by Tetsuro Tanba), he is sent for his first mission, which is to gather secret information from a foreign diplomat. This is when the film takes a turn to a wonderful spy noir with gorgeous cinematography, great old fashioned score and terrific atmosphere. Chiba himself looks fabulous in long dark coat and black hat which immediately bring American noir stars like Humphrey Bogart to mind. This is one of those many things foreign fans never expected to find in Chiba’s filmography.

Army Intelligence 33 isn’t entirely a spy noir, though. The final act sees Chiba sent for a Lee Marvin style commando mission to South East Asia together with his partner in crime Kenji Imai. The action packed final third can’t quite compare with the wonderful noir section, but it’s a tremendously entertaining climax nevertheless. The only weakness is occasional lazy screenwriting throughout the film, which has us believe that these young men forced to become spies would barely protest their destiny, and the enemy soldiers whose behaviour isn’t always all that logical. This is however a small gripe in a hugely entertaining film.

Chiba later returned to the same training camp in another Nakano Spy School film: Military Spy School (Junya Sato, 1974). That film, however, couldn’t compare with the far more elegant and entertaining Army Intelligence 33, which remains one of Chiba’s best movies. A real gem waiting to be discovered.

* Original title: Rikugun choho 33 (陸軍諜報33)
* Director: Tsuneo Kobayashi
* Chiba's role: Starring role
* Film availability: VoD (Japan) (No subtitles)

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+ here's some stills for Army Intelligence 33 (1968).

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I'm praying Toei or some other company will put this out on DVD one of these days.

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Delinquent Boss: Ocho the She-Wolf (Japan, 1969) [DVD] - 1/5

The second film in the Delinquent Boss series is a tiresome action comedy without a hint of inspiration. It was - for some reason - a phenomenally successful series for star Tatsuo Umemiya, who plays a silly biker gang boss surrounded by - at least in this entry - unfunny comic reliefs. The series went on for 16 instalments, in addition to which the character appeared in at least two unrelated movies, including a cameo in Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee's Challenge (1972). The series also gave its the title and some minor inspiration for the far superior Delinquent Girl Boss series.

Film connections are actually one of the few interesting things about Ocho the She-Wolf: the titular character is the same one Reiko Ike plays in Sex & Fury and Female Yakuza Tale, although those films were set in a different period and featured quite a different kind of Ocho. She's played by Junko Miyazono here, but the role is pretty small. Sonny Chiba also appears in a small supporting role, and while it's always a pleasure to see Chiba on screen, he has very little to do here. The same can be said about Bunta Sugawara. Even the massive end slaughter is an utter bore despite all the gunplay, explosions and bikes.

* Original title: Furyô banchô: Inoshika Ochô (不良番長 猪の鹿お蝶)
* Director: Yukio Noda
* Chiba's role: Small supporting role
* Film availability: Toei DVD (Japan) (No subtitles)

Poster 1
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Poster 2
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VHS Cover
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Memoir of Japanese Assassins (Japan, 1969) [35mm] - 4/5

This is an odd beast in Sonny Chiba's filmography, a powerful political thriller that chronicles real life assassinations from Japan's recent history. The film opens with a seemingly endless cavalcade of violent assassinations, with superstars like Ken Takakura, Tomisaburo Wakayama and Bunta Sugawara popping up just for a few minutes in their own segments to cut off someone’s head, stab someone to death, or blow someone into pieces.

About 20 minutes into the film the storyline has finally reached the early 1930s, with Sonny Chiba standing in front of the court, accused of terrorism. This is when the bloodshed finally comes to an end. For the next 100 minutes there would not be a single killing as the film takes its time to show how an ordinary young man (Chiba) grew into a political assassin.

Chiba's character,  Sho Onuma, is an ill but loyal employee at a factory whose honest owner is driven to a bankruptcy by corrupt officials. Chiba is left without a job, and soon later his love interest dies from an illness. Following a failed suicide attempt, Chiba films a new home with a charismatic priest (Chiezo Kataoka). The man is Nissho Inoue, whom the world would later come to know as the leader of the ultra nationalist League of Blood organization.

At 142 minutes, Memoir of Japanese Assassins packs quite a bit of interesting philosophical discussions on terrorism and offers a provocative,  non-judgemental view on its extremist characters. It would be easy to see it as an ultra-rightist political statement, but that wasn't director Sadao Nakajima's intention according to his own words. In facts, he has expressed his disappointment over such interpretations. I tend to believe him as the film comes out much less a rightist statement than general antipathy for corruption and exploitation of the weak. It also helps that more than 40 years have passed since the film was made.  

That being said, it should be noted that nearly all historical figures killed in the film - that is daimyo Naosuke Ii, statesman Toshimichi Okubo, politician Shigenobu Okuma, communications minister Toru Hoshi, prime minister Tsuyoshi Inukai, and businessmen Zenjiro Yasuda, Junnosuke Inoue, and Dan Takuma - had something to do with the Japanese government's attempts to modernize Japan and open the country to foreign influences. The February 26 Incident, which is also covered in the film, also aimed at bringing down a Western-minded government. Those such political connections are never explicitly stated in the film, most audiences at the time would surely have been aware of them.

What added to the films volatility was that its protagonist, Sho Onuma, was still alive as consulted the filmmakers (he had been sentenced for life, but pardoned in 1940). The Japanese Liberal Democrat Party tried to halt the film production and managed to censor parts of the final act, which contains passages from February 26 Incident leader Asaichi Isobe's diary. Toei took advantage of the controversy, releasing a teaser trailer that showed Onuma on the set advising Chiba.

For Chiba Memoir of Japanese Assassins was no doubt what he had been looking for: a powerful crime drama with a very strong scrip and good characters. He had been in several mediocre crime dramas (North Sea Chivalry, 1967; The Tale of Kawachi Chivalry, 1967) where he tended to be best thing about an otherwise lazy production. In Memoir of Japanese Assassins Chiba gives one of his best performances, for which he won an acting award at the Kyoto Citizen Film Festival (Kyoto shimin eiga sai), where Hideo Gosha’s Hitokiri was awarded the same year.

Director Nakajima was a highly uneven filmmaker who worked in almost any popular genre from pink films to samurai movies. Many of his movies are routine efforts, but some are genuinely inspired and well directed. Memoir of Japanese Assassins remains one of his best and most thoughtful films. Adding to the film's strength is composer Isao Tomita's epic score, which plays on repeat. The mix of politics, character drama and almost splatterific violence may be too much for some viewers, but for others this is an unpolished gem.

* Original title: Nihon ansatsu hiroku (日本暗殺秘録)
* Director: Sadao Nakajima
* Chiba's role: Starring role
* Film availability: Toei DVD (Japan) (No subtitles)

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Yakuza Deka (Japan, 1970) [DVD] - 2.5/5
The first film in the Yakuza Deka series. Chiba is an undercover cop who infiltrates the yakuza. Action and comedy ensues. These movies were essentially a series of cheap but fun programmer pictures that brought Chiba's contemporary action formula from television (Key Hunter, 1967-1972) to the big screen, only with more comedy. The first movie is the sloppiest of them, with plenty of action that seems to have been filmed in great hurry by director Yukio Noda (he's best known for the outrageous pinky violence classic Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs, which gives a false impression of him as a better director than he really was). Chiba is fun to watch and he has some great buddy scenes with friend/foe Ryuhei Uchida, who is also one of the film's strengths. However, the stunt work isn't nearly as accomplished as it was in some of the sequels, and more care should've been put into the production. Oh, and Chiba shows his ass. Twice.

* Original title: Yakuza Deka (やくざ刑事)
* Director: Yukio Noda
* Chiba's role: Starring role
* Film availability: Optimum DVD (UK)

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Uchida
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Key Hunter co-star Yoko Nogawa
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Note: the original trailer features plenty of footage from Kamikaze Man (1966)

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Yakuza Deka: The Assassin [DVD] - 3/5
The second film in the Yakuza Deka series. Sonny Chiba shows his ass again. This is an improvement over the sloppy original, even though the storyline is a direct copy of the previous movie and we once again have to suffer through a painful Toru Yuri comedy scene. Chiba is an undercover cop again, operating between two yakuza gangs trying to bring them both down. What is new is new is that the mayhem is much better executed this time. Action is wilder, stunts are bigger, comedy is funnier and Chiba sports one hell of a wardrobe in the film. It's obvious more care was put into the production than last time. It's still nothing more than a harmless time waster, but as such it delivers the goods. Ryuhei Uchida co-stars again as Chiba's friend/nemesis. He basically plays the exact same character as last time, only his name is different, but no one would complain because he's excellent as usual.

* Original title: Yakuza deka: Marifana mitsubai soshiki (やくざ刑事 マリファナ密売組織)
* Director: Yukio Noda
* Chiba's role: Starring role
* Film availability: Optimum DVD (UK)

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Chiba and Uchida
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Fake Charles Bronson on the right
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Man with style
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Marihuana psychedelia
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Chiba doing some impressive stunt work dodging bullets in the air...
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...and trying to get on that boat
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Yakuza Deka: Poison Gas Affair  (Japan, 1971) [TV] - 3/5
The 3rd Yakuza Deka film is yet another enjoyable time waster, as good as the previous film. This time much of the action is set in a snowy ski resort, allowing Chiba to orchestrate all kinds of action scenarios with skis, snowmobiles and other winter machinery. There's also a relatively decent amount of martial arts included considering the early production year. Chiba first needs to prove his skills in a brief fight against a tonfu-fighter, stick-fighter, dagger-man and karate fighter, and later fight for his life against two ninjas. Unfortunately some of the action seems a little hastily put together and the official tagline of "grand action where Chiba risks his life every 5 minutes" oversells the film a bit. It's still a good bit of fun and the storyline is probably the best so far, with some genuine dramatic tension and yet another fine supporting performance Ryuhei Uchida. Pinky violence star Yukie Kagawa appears as female ninja. Oh, and Chiba doesn't show his ass this time.

* Original title: Yakuza deka: Kyofu no doku gasu  (やくざ刑事 恐怖の毒ガス)
* Director: Ryuichi Takamori
* Chiba's role: Starring role
* Film availability: None (review format: TV)

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Poster A
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Poster B
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Yakuza Deka: No Epitaphs for Us (Japan, 1971) [VoD] - 3.5/5
The 4th and final film in the Yakuza Deka series. It's another programmer picture, but this one does its job admirably, packing action, fights and great stunt sequences every 15 minutes and filling the gaps with Chiba riding a horse topless, robbing a jewellery store while dressed as Buddhist monk, and walking around in white suit while waving a Tommy Gun. Some of the stunts include Chiba hanging from a cable car 50m above the sea/ground, and jumping out from a car while it's flying through the air. There are many amusing comedy bits as well, especially with co-star Ryohei Uchida, and Chiba sings again. It was exactly this kind of movies that made Jackie Chan a fan of Chiba's work; indeed, the mix of action, stunts and humour often resembles the films Jackie would do in the 1980s. Easily the best film in the Yakuza Deka series.

* Original title: Yakuza Deka: Oretachi ni haka ha wai (やくざ刑事 俺たちに墓はない)
* Director: Ryuichi Takamori
* Chiba's role: Starring role
* Film availability: VoD (Japan) (No subtitles)  

Chiba!
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Chiba!
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Chiba and uninvited guests!
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Man with style
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Look carefully. That small white dot in the bottom is Chiba!
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Chiba!
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Poster
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Yakuza Wolf: I Perform Murder (Japan, 1972) [TV] - 3.5/5
Sonny Chiba is a silent, unshaven avenger in Ryuichi Takamori's violent yakuza western. Chiba plays a man who is after the yakuza who killed his father and sold his sister to prostitution. He's now taking out bad guys one at a time and agitating gangs against each other while making his way towards the syndicate boss (Koji Nanbara).

There is an instantly obvious Django influence that goes all the way to the fantastic finale where Chiba, with both of his arms broken by the villains, uses a custom made shotgun attached to a severed steering wheel and a stand which he can he operate without hands. The film also sports a colourful, even surreal visual look that predates the Female Prisoner Scorpion films that unleashed similar images later the same year. The obvious connection is screenwriter Fumio Konami, who wrote this as well as the Female Prisoner Scorpion films. Furthermore, the scene where Chiba attempts to rescue his sister from an underground sex club is like straight outta the bizarre world of Teruo Ishii.

Director Takamori is the weakest link as usual, managing the highlights quite well but sometimes failing to pump the kind of energy into the film that it really deserves. It's still a very cool film, though, with enough sex, violence and style to keep you thoroughly entertained. It also marked the beginning of a new, darker era for Chiba after a decade of clean hero roles.

* Original title: Ookami yakuza: Koroshi ha ore ga yaru (狼やくざ 殺しは俺がやる)
* Director: Ryuichi Takamori
* Chiba's role: Starring role
* Film availability: None (review format: TV)

Chiba the avenger
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Teruo Ishii, anyone?
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More Western stuff
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Un utterly awesome custom shotgun
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