Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 28th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, December 28th, 1974
Director: Teruo Ishii
Writers: Teruo Ishii, Shinichi Hashimoto
Cast: Sonny Chiba, Eiji Go, Yutaka Nakajima, Makoto Satô, Ryo Ikebe, Sue Shihomi
DVD Released: October 11th, 2005
Approximate Running Time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Adness/Ventura
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Some one has stolen the Star of Pharaoh diamond necklace which is reportedly worth one billion dollars and as collateral the thieves have also kidnapped a young girl who they say they will kill if their hefty ransom on one billion dollars is not pad immediately. Ryuichi Koga (Sonny Chiba) and his two sidekicks Ichiro Sakura and Takeshi Hayabusa are hired to retrieve the money and rescue the young girl. During the exchange the loss track of the money diamond and are only able to return the young girl safely home. When Ryuichi Koga finds out that the owner of the diamond went behind their back and secretly made a deal with the thieves he becomes suspicious and suspects a double cross. Having been stiffed done too many times Ryuichi Koga concocts a play to steal the Star of Pharaoh diamond necklace to pay for his services in helping rescue the young girl. Ryuichi Koga soon finds out that the diamond that he now has in his possession is fake and feeling duped once again he comes up with the craziest scheme of all stealing the real diamond necklace which is being guarded in one of the most secure banks in the world.
The Executioner: Karate Inferno opens up in a similar fashion to the way The Executioner opens. We are introduced too all the lead characters and this time around we are told what they have been up to since their last mission. This time around instead of taking on drug dealers this film shifts its focus to heist caper that has more holes in it then Swiss cheese. Teruo Ishii returns as director and once again he injects the right amount of chaos into the mix. He keeps the action flowing and there are several inventive compositions through out the film.
All the main actors Sonny Chiba, Eiji Go, Yutaka Nakajima, Makoto Satô and Ryo Ikebe all reprise their roles from the previous film. This time around there isn’t as much action and the main emphases is on comedy. Most of the situations and jokes are sophomoric like farting, picking noses and scratching dandruff into another persons drink. Some of these comedic bits are pretty funny like when Chiba’s character is hanging outside of high rise building and a bid breasted woman leans out of the window with her enormous breasts hanging over his head. Another funny moment that almost crosses the barrier of good taste is when Ichiro Sakura body catches fire and when all else fails Ryuichi Koga puts out the fire with his urine. Even though this film isn’t as action heavy as the first film there is some bone crunching action near the end the rivals some of Chiba’s best work. There is surreal moment in the film when Chiba is being chased by two thugs who stop to look at movie that has Sonny Chiba on it. As a team nothing ever seems to go write as they end not getting cheated in some way and one has to wonder why they keep on working with each other. This film has it all and then some if you like eyes balls popping out of their sockets and intestines being ripped out then you should thoroughly enjoy The Executioner: Karate Inferno. Seriously though even though The Executioner: Karate Inferno ignores as the ingredients that made The Executioner so successful this film is still a lot fun in a its so good its bad way.
Making its debut on DVD Adness presents The Executioner: Karate Inferno is presented an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 Toei scope aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look faithfully represented. This progressive transfer boast solid image detail through out and there are no problems with compression or artifacts. There are no problems with edge enhancement. There is some noticeable grain and some minor instances of specs of dirt, still nothing that ever becomes too distracting. There are no problems with ghosting or blurring as the image remains stable through out. Overall The Executioner: Karate Inferno transfer is on par quality wise with its predecessor The Executioner. This release comes with only one audio option the films original Japanese language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. Dialog sounds razor sharp and there is no problem with muffled or unintelligible dialog. The music and effects have been evenly balanced as they perfectly complement each other. Overall this sound mix more then gets the job done. This release comes with English subtitles that are easy to read and follow.
The extras for this release consist of trailers for The Executioner and The Executioner: Karate Inferno both trailers are presented in their original aspect ratios. The Executioner: Karate Inferno is by far and away the most bizarre film that I have seen Sonny Chiba star in. I would have been cool to hear his thoughts on this film and his comments are sadly missed. Adness adds another solid entry into their Sonny Chiba collection that comes with a first rate audio/video presentation. The Executioner: Karate Inferno is also available as part of the Executioner 2 pack which also includes the film The Executioner. Too compare the two Executioner films wouldn’t be fare since they are completely different animals all together. The Executioner is one of Sonny Chiba’s greatest performances while The Executioner: Karate Inferno diverts away from the formula that made him a house hold name by focusing more on juvenile comedy bits that are more disgusting then humorous, recommended.