Tuesday, February 18, 2014

KARATE FOR LIFE ('77) - Kazuhiko Yamaguchi

"I tried hard to deny it...
but I realized that you embody true karate."

Chiba plays legendary karate master Mas Oyama in this trilogy. He's renowned for his full-contact style, his predilection for breathing exercises that sound like phlegmy throat clearing. He's known for kicking off his wooden shoes at attackers, for befriending small children, drinking lots and lots of sake. He also dukes it out with an odd assortment of animals.

In the first film, Karate Bullfighter, he fights a bull in the street...

In the second film, Karate Bearfighter, he fights a bear in the woods...

In the final film, Karate for Life, he battles...um...a pro wrestler?

There's also a wonderful scene where Chiba takes on an entire 50-man dojo all at once, the floor covered in oil, Chiba using his fallen attackers' backs to hop on around like a suspension bridge. Despite the third film's lacking a four-legged opponent, it was my favorite of the bunch. Kinda reminded me of Rocky III.

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