The Killing Machine
aka Shôrinji Kenpô
Director Norifumi Suzuki Writer Takeshi Matsumoto
Another film from the king of Japanese martial arts movies, Sonny Chiba. But rather than one of the myriad of Street Fighter clones like much of his Seventies output, The Killing Machine is a period film with a message: a rather cloying message of self-empowerment which gets a little much really quickly. Just stifle your gag reflex and let the skull-cracking begin.
The film opens in the closing days of World War 2.
Based on a real life Shaolin master who attempted to rebuild Japanese pride through Chinese martial arts, The Killing Machine is essentially a one-character study, thought the film touches on the two women in Sho’s life: Kiku, a young soiled innocent Soh tries to rescue from a life in the gutter, and Miho (played by Sue Sister Street Fighter Shihomi) who, along with her reluctant brother, is one of his dojo’s first pupils.
It’s always interesting to see World War 2 and the Occupation period from a Japanese point of view. But that point of view is hammered home with