These are good times for Sonny Chiba fans. More of his films are now available on region 1 DVD then ever before. Even better, many of Sonny Chiba's movies have been shown recently on IFC's Gindhouse late night exploitation block. So there are even more chances for you to see Sonny Chiba beat somebody to death with his bare hands.
Not that your typical Sonny Chiba movie is non-stop wall to wall mayhem and Karate bloodletting. In between the bone breaking punches and skull splitting kicks there are scenes of Sonny eating. That's right, eating.
Here in an early scene from THE KILLING MACHINE Sonny explains his position on stealing a bite to eat to black marketers just before beating them to within an inch of their lives.
And then many asses are kicked. The message is clear, food is worth stealing for and fighting for. Is it worth killing for?
Here Sonny enjoys a meal with members of his Japan Action Club later on in THE KILLING MACHINE. And they seem to be dining with Lee Harvey Oswald.
And here we see Sonny finishing a bowl of noodles just before beating the crap out of three gangsters. He lets them live. Half a dozen scenes later Sonny castrates them with a shears. No kidding.
In the end Sonny's appetite for justice knows no bounds. Fortunately, before the goose meets it's fate, Sonny is interrupted by a challenge from what looks like the Geico Caveman and his life partner. Thankfully, the Chiba kicks their asses and in a moment of charity tells them to go to the hospital.
If all these scenes of eating were only in one Sonny Chiba movie I'd chalk it up to some weird director's choice. But no. Here's a moment from KARATE BULL FIGHTER:
Sonny has just defeated the best Karate Masters in Japan. No wonder he's hungry.
In the previous scene the Chiba has beaten the American Army's Boxing Champion by shattering the bones in the boxer's hands. Now he explains that he won only because he had an empty stomach. All while he shovels down a hot bowl.
So, does Sonny Chiba have food issues? It certainly seems like it. Sonny grew up in post-war Japan, was he one of the hungry cherub faced street urchins we see stealing food in the black markets of his movies? Or maybe he's just hungry after working off all those calories beating people to death with his bare hands.