Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…
The lights have dimmed, the virgins sacrificed, and screams echo down the halls.
Week 13: Andy Reid Gambles and Albert Wilson Flies Downfield For A Touchdown
— rankplays (@rankplays) December 5, 2016
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a fake punt play that went straight through the line before, but Andy Reid makes it look easy with wide receiver Albert Wilson breaking through the gap as if he were shot from a cannon. The surprise factor on the part of Atlanta’s special teams squad is palpable with the secondary players, including the punt returner, completely caught off guard by the barreling Wilson.
I always love how amped so many special teams guys get on a good play due to their limited field time. It’s a real treat in the replay to see KC backups Daniel Sorensen and James O’Shaughnessy just pumping their fists like crazy as their teammate disappears over the horizon. While I know I’m guilty of often commenting on the amazing speed of NFL players, this is 55 yards ate up in a blink. Let’s give these special teams guys some chances, eh?
Week 13: Karate Bullfighter
Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi
Sonny Chiba is probably best remembered by film nerds in the U.S. for the ultra-violent cult flick The Street Fighter (1974). That one was great because it felt so far removed from Bruce Lee’s composed morality and ultra-good guy status as to make it a real breath of fresh air for the darker impulses of martial arts cinema.
Meanwhile, Karate Bullfighter is the first in a trilogy based on real-life karate champ Masutatsu Oyama (Korean Choi Yeong-eui by birth) that also includes Karate Bear Fighter (1977), and Karate For Life (1977). Masutatsu himself is best known for founding the Kyokushin School of karate, which Sonny Chiba studied in.
As a whole the series is a bit of a mixed bag with two films promising epic fights between Chiba and a bull in the first, and even better, a bear in the second! I initially wanted to review Karate Bear Fighter, as murdering that type of wild animal seems way tougher and cooler than something Spaniards in bedazzled Capri-pants and a funny hat still do to piss off PETA, but ultimately, bullfight is the better movie.
Regardless, for all the solid martial arts and standup choreography there are some serious dramatic missteps on hand with Oyama’s main opponent, a rival martial arts school, never really achieving a degree of menace that feels sufficiently threatening. As well as Oyama attempting to teach an obviously psychopathic student who is eventually gunned down by the police. It would have been much more satisfying to have the teacher confront the monster he created.
And yes, Sonny Chiba does kill a bull at the climax, rewarding us with over the top arterial spray. This is admittedly what we came for, and it is worth it.
However, this flick is guilty of bordering on hagiography in regards to its main subject, who seems more boring than anything, and Sonny Chiba has always been a much better anti-hero, and even villain, than straight up good guy. Chiba is undeniably magnetic as always, but this one is more of a programmer with a fun ending than a true classic.
Cop the trailer here:
Cheap DVD’s available on Amazon.com