Karate Bearfighter

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Karate Bearfighter (Japan, 1975)

A very enjoyable sequel packs loads of action but almost no plot. Chiba is his usual badly behaving self as Oyama, who seems not have learned anything from the previous film’s events, and all the better for it. When he isn’t working as a yakuza bodyguard, he’s picking up fights at local dojos. He finally gets a grip of himself and travels to Hokkaido, where he befriends a little boy, but his enemies won’t leave him alone. He also agrees to fight a bear for money.

Unlike in the previous film where Chiba battled a real bull, this time we’re treated a remarkably unconvincing man in a bear suit. It’s silly, but at least you don’t have to feel sorry for the poor animal. The rest of the action is fast, fierce and plentiful, but once again slightly hurt by shaky camerawork.

The biggest issue in the otherwise entertaining film is the lack of a plot, which leaves the storyline without a clear aim. The film is lots of fun whenever there is action, but there is also a clear drop in the interest curve whenever the film shifts to a storytelling mode. Chiba’s earlier and more accomplished martial arts biopic Killing Machine wasn’t terribly plot driven either, but featured much better character drama.

* Original Title: Kenka karate gokushin burai ken (けんか空手 極真無頼拳)
* Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
* Chiba’s role: Starring role
* Film availability: Adness DVD (USA), Toei DVD (JP) (no subs)

Screencaps from the Adness DVD:

A little bit more for Karate Bearfighter from the Toei DVD

Original Teaser

Masutatsu Oyama (middle) instructing a fight scene

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