The Masutatsu Oyama Trilogy -in Japanese (DVD)
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Three action-packed films starring Sonny Chiba, all based on the life of Masutatsu Oyama, Chiba's sensei and the founder of Kyokoshin Karate in Japan. Chiba plays a martial arts prodigy looking to retire from combat in Karate Bullfighter (1975, 85 mins.). He inadvertently becomes mixed up with the death of a Yakuza boss and is forced to tough it out against a network of thugs. It's among the best (and least gory) of his many martial arts films. In Karate Bearfighter (1975, 90 mins.), we see Oyama rise to fame with his victory in the all-Japan karate tournament, but rivals in the martial arts community seek to ban him. In the third volume, Karate For Life (1977, 90 mins.), the martial arts expert is ostracized by the Karate Society of Japan for fighting a bull and a bear. Now outside the traditional fighting circuit, Oyama is introduced to a promoter looking to set-up an exhibition match with Fujita, a judo expert. Oyama agrees, but when he finds the outcome is supposed to be prearranged, he loses all self-control. In Japanese with English subtitles.