Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 24th, 2004
|Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1975
Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Writer: Norifumi Suzuki, Nobuaki Nakajima
Cast: Sonny Chiba, Yumi Takigawa, Yutaka Nakajima
|Approximate running time:||82 minutes||88 minutes|
|Aspect Ratio:||1.66:1 and 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen||2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen|
|Sound:||Dolby Digital Mono English||Dolby Digital 5.1 and Mono Japanese with English subtitles|
|Region Coding:||Region 1 NTSC||Region 1 NTSC|
The Film :
Oyama (Sonny Chiba) shows up at karate tournament disheveled dressed in rags. He is offered a job by the tournaments promoter who wants to groom Oyama into a more respectable person. Drunk one night Oyama gets into a fight with some thugs and when he kills their leader he renounces karate. To make amends for the man he has just killed he moves out to the country with the man who killed family helping them farm. There are those who won’t let Oyama disappear into obscurity and they send an assassin after him. Once they force his hand by trying to kill Oyama returns to the city to settle things once and for all.
UAV’s DVD transfer looks like it was taken from a VHS source as the color looked washed out and details are murky through out. Not only has the image also been cropped this release is also plagued by over scan. Adness’s Karate Bullfighter DVD is released in anamorphic widescreen that restores the films original 2.35:1 scope aspect ratio. The transfer boasts vivid color palette with bold reds and greens. The black levels are rich and deep as grain is kept to a minimum. Flesh tones look natural through out. The overall print used is in great shape as there are no noticeable artifacts or problems with compression.
The audio for UAV’s Champion of Death release in to thin at times suffering from hiss and distortion. Adness’s release contains two audio options included for this DVD release Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 and Japanese Dolby Digital Mono. Both tracks are free of distortion or hiss and are extremely clean. The Dolby Digital 5.1 takes the sound up a notch giving the film a wider sound field. English subtitles have been included that are easy to read and follow.
UAV’s release contains nothing in the extras department. The DVD doesn’t even come with scene selection. The only option the viewer has is to play the movie. Adness for their release included the following extras a Sonny Chiba trailer collection with the following titles Killing Machine, Karate Bearfighter, Karate Bullfighter, Karate for Life, Shogun’s Samurai, Black Magic Wars, Legend of The Eight Samurai, Resurrection of Golden Wolf and G.I. Samurai. Most of these trailers are in their original aspect ratio. Rounding out the extras is the well written and informative liner notes written by Patrick Macias.
It is not even close and the better DVD by an overwhelming margin is Adness’s Karate Bullfighter as it soundly beats UAV’s Champion of Death in every category. Also the Karate Bullfighter release runs about six minutes longer the Champion of Death DVD.