japanese karate and chinese kung-fu
while i grew up with bruce lee as one of my first heroes, we never really saw many (i didn't see any) japanese martial arts films in this part of the world (texas, u.s.).
man, what i missed. this is a mesmerizing action movie, primarily because of the gritty, brutal fight scenes (note that although a lot of the sequences are obviously faked, they all lack that polished, dance-like choreography seen in most of the hong kong/chinese martial arts films of the era).
shinichi (sonny) chiba appeared in the "streetfighter" series (of which i saw only the first film). and one of the things i liked about chiba is his "common man" persona. you don't think of him as a master of his art, smooth and artful, who'd hardly ever get touched in a match with even the best in his field - as you would with bruce lee. this guy (chiba) would get pounded, but always win by the sheer force of his will; and, though he's not a master, he's masterful at what he does. that's the way he comes off in this film. can't call this film beautiful - as i see a couple of bruce lee's films - but it's damn fine, and not for the squeamish, either.