The Official Sonny Chiba Thread!

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HungFist
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Unread post by HungFist » 19 Apr 2007, 19:12

Shingster wrote:I'd hardly call films like Deadly Outlaw Rekka and Survive Style 5+ as "worthless" considering how many people within the online asian film fan community that seem to like them (not seen SS5+ myself yet).
Community maybe but as a Shinichi Chiba fan I don't feel the need to have all of his recent work in my collection. I'm not saying none of those films is worth owning, just not a necessity for a Chiba collector IMO. Personally I'd like to own every Chiba film till 1992, no matter if the film is good or not. I can't say the same for films made after 1992.

btw, there's a good Chiba article here: http://www.henshinonline.com/chiba.html

*****

Just watched the third episode of Kage. The series keeps getting better episode by episode. And so do the transfers. The picture quality was again better than the last time. I definitely jumped into conclutions too fast. The first episode looks poor indeed but the second and the third are fine. Even if Toei had better transfers I could live with these transfers without suicidal thoughs :D

Now, lets pray Ronin will release more Kage in the future. They deserve a big thanks for this release.

*****

Cliff Mac interview:
http://hkfilmnews.blogspot.com/2007/04/ ... illan.html

answers a few of my questions. Too bad Dragon Princess, The Bodyguard and Karate Warriors will be english dubbed versions. Dragon Princess is no problem actually since I already own the Toei dvd, but the other two... I will get them both till better versions appear though. I don't think HK Video has either of them (they do have Dragon Princess though) and Toei hasn't announced yet. Their next Chiba wave would probably be Karate Bearfighter, Return of the Street Fighter, The Executioner 2, possibly more Kage no gundan and hopefully at least one additional title. I actually think Toei might release Karate Warriors some day, not so sure about The Bodyguard. This assumption is not based on anything, that's just how I feel is gonna happen.

The good thing about Ronin's The Bodygard is that we get the Pulp Fiction opening. Good film, too. Karate Warriors is a cult classic and definitely needs a good dvd release. I saw both films years ago from brentwood's unofficial crap dvds.
Last edited by HungFist on 15 Jan 2010, 13:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by HungFist » 20 Apr 2007, 18:38

http://adg.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=1760

Muldoon posted a very useful review of Kadokawa's new Yusaku Matsuda box set. It includes Resurrection of Golden Wolf (among others) that co-stars Chiba Shinichi. The screencaps show that Kadokawa did not do new transfers, instead they've used the same transfers that were used on their old releases as well as on Adness's R1 release. It's kinda disappointing but I was actually secretly hoping they'd use the old transfers so I wouldn't have to spend 10 000 yen on the box set and subtitle four movies.

There was another reason too. Although the old Resurrection transfers is far from perfect I think it captivates the film's spirit perfectly. The colours and the murkiness feel just right, and a new and clean HD sourced transfer would be really easy to screw up.

The film itself is jaw dropping, easily one of the best crime films of the 70's. It's like something between The French Connection (the spirit and the graininess) and Miami Vice (the world the story takes place in). Or a grittier 70's version of Friedkin's To Live and Die in L.A. All actors are great, even the much critisised female stars. In fact Jun Fubuki's performance is one of my favourite things about the movie. Chiba's got a great although not a very big role and Yusaku Matsuda is incredible. This was the first Matsuda film I saw and when I later saw him in Story of the Detective (with Hiroko Yakushimaru) I couldn't believe it was the same man.

Then there's the audio & visual side. The soundtrack is incredibly good and the visual look in on the level 'best ever'. Blue is used probably better than in any other film. I simply can't get enough of the film's visual look. There's also a big bunch of exceptionally great stand out scenes, with the long drug deal / assassination scene being my favourite. I must have watched that scene at least 7 or 8 times. In the scene a hand held (mostly) camera follows with long takes Matsuda taking out drug boss's goons one by one for several minutes with the background music changing maybe five times during the scene.

Some screencaptures from the R1 Adness

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Last edited by HungFist on 31 May 2007, 08:53, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread post by EvaUnit02 » 20 Apr 2007, 18:56

If a tree falls down in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Seriously you're forgetting his best film bar none.

TELL ME WATCHA GONNA DO? ACT DA FOOL!
:wink:

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Unread post by HungFist » 20 Apr 2007, 21:23

Thanks Eva. Maybe now people will understand why I said "I don't feel the need to have all of his recent work in my collection" :D

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Unread post by Shingster » 20 Apr 2007, 22:00

Yeah, but if the Tokyo Drift peeps had decided to follow the filmmakers of Master of Thunder's lead and cast a group of Japanese girls who looked "cute" and "natural" (ie: look barely legal) then you'd be lapping it up like you are that film, so I hardly think your opinions are quite the benchmark for good taste that you seem to be trying very hard to make sound! :P
Last edited by Shingster on 20 Apr 2007, 22:10, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by HungFist » 20 Apr 2007, 22:08

Shingster wrote:Yeah, but if the Tokyo Drift peeps had decided to follow the filmmakers of Master of Thunder's lead and cast a group of Japanese girls who looked "cute" and "natural" (ie: look barely legal) then you'd be lapping it up
Of course :D
Shingster wrote: like you are Master of Thunder, so I hardly think your opinions are quite the benchmark for good taste that you seem to be trying very hard to make sound! :P
That Master of Thunder post wasn't meant to be taken very seriously.

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Unread post by Shingster » 20 Apr 2007, 22:41

Good to know :D The director's worked as a stuntman in HK and Japan for a few years, and he's a Sammo Hung nut so hopefully he'll have a good handle on the action at least.

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Unread post by EvaUnit02 » 21 Apr 2007, 02:51

Shingster wrote: and cast a group of Japanese girls who looked "cute" and "natural" (ie: look barely legal)
But ain't 12 the age of consent in Japan? :lol:

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Unread post by Shingster » 21 Apr 2007, 03:18

Yeah pretty much, it's 13 "nationally" but local prefecture laws can make it as high as 18yrs old depending on which prefecture you're in.

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Unread post by HungFist » 21 Apr 2007, 10:11

Golgo 13: Kowloon Assignment (1977)

Golgo 13: Kowloon Assignment, also known as simply Golgo 13, is one of the films based on Golgo 13 manga. There’s been a few anime versions as well as a 1973 live action film starring Ken Takakura and directed by Junya Sato. As far as I know the 1977 version directed by Yukio Noda (Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs, Furyo Bancho) and starring Sonny Chiba is the second and the last live action film. Due to the nature of the manga (events taking place around the world) the films required a healty budget and Toei wasn’t interested in continuing the series.

Kowloon Assignment isn’t one Chiba’s best films but it’s got lots of potential. What it really succeeds in is style. Noda has managed to turn Chiba into the coolest assassin in the world. The rest of the movie may not be nearly as catchy but Chiba alone makes the film a lot of fun. Etsuko Shihomi also appears in small supporting role. Callan Leung playing the Chinese cop unfortunately manages to be highly uninteresting. Despite the films short running time he’s given too much screentime.

The reason why I ended up writing all that nonsense above is that I wanted to show one scene from the movie. This scene in particular seems to have more than little in common with a certain assassination scene is John Woo’s The Killer. Lets see:

Chiba the assassin arrives the rooftop
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His target is down at the pool
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where they are holding...
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....a swimming competition
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The guy on the right is the one who’s about the get a bullet into his head
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He’s been guarded by a cop (Callan Leung) who looks like Danny Lee
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background noise from the drums etc.
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The ”target” will fire the starting shot
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Chiba plans to fire at the same time to cover the noise
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more caps would be a spoiler, watch the film yourself. What those caps don't show is that the scene is quite long, with Chiba taking his time and waiting for the right moment (had to limit the amount of caps). That makes it even more similiar with the scene in The Killer

But finally, one cap of Etsuko Shihomi in the film
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(the screencaptures come from the Optimum dvd)
Last edited by HungFist on 20 May 2007, 08:21, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by HungFist » 25 Apr 2007, 16:42

Shadow Warriors review:
http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=27733

"I was worried when it was announced the 27 episode series would be released on seven discs because there was no way that many eps would fit on seven discs without some severe compression. Thankfully, it is seven double-sided discs"

:lol:


* it's seven double sided dvd-5's. Basically the same as seven normal dvd-9's (what Ronin normally uses)

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Unread post by HungFist » 01 May 2007, 10:10

A quick introduction to Sister Street Fighter (Onna hissatsu ken), starring Chiba's protegee Etsuko Shihomi and co-starring Sonny Chiba himself. Some people seem to think Sister Street Fighter films are some cheap cash in productions but that's certainly not the case. There's many fans who consider some of the Sister Street Fighter movies even better than Chiba's Street Fighter films. There was three official films; Sister Street Fighter (Onna hissatsu ken - 1974), Sister Street Fighter - Hanging by a Thread (aka Sister Street Fighter in Danger) (Onna hissatsu ken kiki ippatsu - 1974) and Return of the Sister Street Fighter (Kaette kita onna hissatsu ken - 1975) + a fourth film that's not really a sequel but is usually considered a part of the series; Sister Street Fighter: 5th Level Fist (Onna hissatsu godanken - 1976). Sonny Chiba appears only in the first film. It was directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi (Karate Bearfighter, Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess, Wandering Ginza Butterfly) and it co-stars Masashi Ishibashi as one of the villains. Chiba fans recognize him from several great Chiba flicks such as The Street Fighter (the main villain), Return of the Street Fighter and Dragon Princess.

Original trailer for Sister Street Fighter can be found at Toei’s website. It’s a great trailer and begins with a fight scene not found in the final film. http://www.toei-video.co.jp/trailer/DSTD02530_300k.ram

Original poster
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Unread post by EvaUnit02 » 01 May 2007, 14:30

HungFist wrote:starring Chiba's protegee Etsuko Shihomi
So, did he tap it?

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Unread post by HungFist » 05 May 2007, 18:23

Ah, I couldn't take HK Video's picture manipulation anymore and ordered Toei's The Street Fighter dvd. It's soft as hell but at least the colours should be more natural. HK Video looks just plain weird, sometimes skin tones are pink, sometimes everybody's having a pale face... And back when I bought the box set I actually considered it a good transfer.

Also ordered Optimum's Street Fighter's Last Revenge (much for the same reasons, exept that Optimum doesn't suffer from softness). For Return of the Street Fighter I'll keep my HK Video for now. Optimum looks generally better but something is seriously wrong with the snow fight scene.

HK Video:
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Optimum (cap from Jompis):
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+ matching HK Video caps for dvdbeaver review
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... 002618.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... deo111.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... eo0023.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v716/ ... eo0024.jpg

I guess I should be getting the Optimum for Return, too. Optimum beating HK Video, crazy :?

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Unread post by HungFist » 07 May 2007, 16:28

Another quick introduction, this time Dragon Princess (Onna hissatsu kenshi). The film was made in 1976 but IMDB is listing some sort of double for 1981 that I don’t think even exists. Certainly there’s no 1981 Sonny Chiba film called Dragon Princess but I don’t think there’s any Dragon Princess with or without Chiba made in 81 at all. Anyway, as you probably figured out already Chiba is not the princess the english title is referring to, and therefore not the star of the film. The star is of course Etsuko Shihomi, and Sonny plays her father. Chiba’s appearance is brief (maybe 15 minutes) but really worth it. The opening scene where Chiba fights in the old church is actually one of my favourite Chiba fights...

...and the fights don’t get any worse once Chiba is out of the movie. Although it wouldn’ve been nice to have him along for a little longer you don’t really miss him because as soon as he steps out Yasuaki Kurata steps in. And as if that wasn’t enough we also have two excellent Toei villains, Bin Amatsu and Masao Ishibashi. Always a pleasure to see those gentlemen in action. One thing I should mention is that there’s some cruelty against dogs. It’s a kill or be killed situation but I still greatly dislike that scene. Otherwise Dragon Princess in an excellent movie and one of my favourite karate flicks.

At the moment the only official release available is the R2J Toei. As you can see from the captures the transfer is very soft. I don’t know why, but Toei’s Street Fighter and 5th Level Fist dvds also had very soft image. They were all released the same day (in last December). Hmm... But, it’s not quite as bad as it looks. Somehow turning every single sharpness setting to maximum made the image perfectly watchable, and without any side effects. Of course it doesn’t get exactly sharp but good enough not to be very distracting. It also seem like this will be the best edition for the film for quite some time to come. Ronin Entertainment’s upcoming release will apparently be dubbed and if HK Video’s transfer is similiar to their Street Fighter transters then I’d say Toei is a more pleasing option. The colours are nice and there’s no problems with any kind of boosting or edge enhancement. HK Video is however sure to deliver a transfer thrice as sharp as this so it’s up to your personal preferences.

Etsuko Shihomi
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Bin Amatsu
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Masashi Ishibashi
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Yasuaki Kurata
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Shinichi Chiba
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Cover art scans (front / back / inside)

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Don’t worry, I won’t be scanning my every Chiba dvd, just had to do an exception with this gorgeous package
Last edited by HungFist on 28 May 2007, 18:09, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by EvaUnit02 » 07 May 2007, 20:28

EvaUnit02 wrote:
HungFist wrote:starring Chiba's protegee Etsuko Shihomi
So, did he tap it?

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Unread post by HungFist » 07 May 2007, 20:31

EvaUnit02 wrote:
EvaUnit02 wrote:
HungFist wrote:starring Chiba's protegee Etsuko Shihomi
So, did he tap it?
Sorry for skipping before. I'm running out of my english. Explain please.

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Unread post by EvaUnit02 » 07 May 2007, 20:35

HungFist wrote:
EvaUnit02 wrote:
EvaUnit02 wrote:
HungFist wrote:starring Chiba's protegee Etsuko Shihomi
So, did he tap it?
Sorry for skipping before. I'm running out of my english. Explain please.
Did he have sleep with her?

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Unread post by HungFist » 07 May 2007, 21:00

I figured out it might be something like that but though it was a too risky guess, lol.

As far as I know, no. She was like a daughter to him. And Hiroyuki Sanada was like his son. Both "graduated" from Chiba's JAC (japan action club). The Executioner (starring Chiba and directed by Teruo Ishii) was the first film Sanada appeared in. He was 14 years old and played the "young chiba" in a flashback sequence.

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Unread post by HungFist » 07 May 2007, 22:22

HungFist wrote:She was like a daughter to him.
Chiba has a real daughter, too. Julie (Juri) Manase who appeared (and worked on) in Kill Bill.
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cutie

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Unread post by HungFist » 11 May 2007, 14:22

Two films that need to be made available on dvd

Dasso yugi (1976)
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Wolfguy: Moero okami-otoko (1975)
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(pics stolen from ebay: here and here)

Wake up Toei.

also, going a bit off topic but I saw another batch of Furyo Bancho film on some upcoming Toei list, probably August

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Unread post by Shingster » 11 May 2007, 15:59

Damn, that Dasso poster is awesome!

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Unread post by HungFist » 11 May 2007, 16:10

yeah, that's what I though. If had seen the film I'd probably buy that poster.

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Unread post by HungFist » 20 May 2007, 08:38

Another superb (US) poster
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Yakuza Deka: The Assassin (the film Chiba reportedly forgot he made :lol: )

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Unread post by HungFist » 20 May 2007, 11:23

Triple Cross (Itsuka giragirasuruhi) (1992)

I was hoping Kinji Fukasaku’s last yakuza film would be a blast, and that’s pretty much what Triple Cross. The first half has some problems, like the hyper active Keiko Oginome getting more than a little irritating at times and Fukasaku himself taking some scenes dangerously close to being over the top. Fukasaku’s intention seems to be to underline the gap between the old school gansters (Renji Ishibashi, Shinichi Chiba, Kenichi Hagiwara) and the wild new generation (Kazuya Kimura and Keiko Oginome) but sometimes he goes a bit too far. But there’s no denying the film is effective and very agressive.

The character composition is pretty interesting coming from the late Fukasaku, considering in his youth he became famous for his nihilistic and brutal yakuza films. Films like Battles Without Honor and Humanity (Jingi naki tatakai) showed that old school gansters do no longer exist and there is no honor or humanity left among yakuzas. The three older main characters in Triple Cross however are such men of honor. I couldn’t help but to wonder if there was a bit of a reference to Fukasaku himself and the development of japanese cinema included.

Any flaws from the first half simply have to be forgiven when the second half is as good as this. The long street fight / car chase sequece near the end is one of the most intense action sequences I’ve seen in years. It’s like William Friedkin meets Michael Mann and double the lenght. There’s also quite a few other shorter chase sequences in the movie. This and Ronin are probably the two best car chase films of the last 15 years.

The R2J Bandai dvd is neither great nor bad. The colour and contrast could be a bit stronger and more sharpness would be nice too but thankfully there’s no visible edge enhancement. It’s a dvd-5 (didn’t notice any serious compression problems) and progressive. Considering the other options (R3 Panorama which is said to be VCD quality, and the R2 UK M.I.A which is apparently no better than a VHS) I’d say this release is probably miles ahead. The only extra is the original trailer and teaser.

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Yumi Takigawa 18 years after Seiju gakuen
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