Sonny Chiba - Rotten Tomatoes

Sonny Chiba



Sonny Chiba was one of the first actors to achieve stardom through his skills in martial arts, initially in Japan and later before an international audience. Born Sadao Maeda in Fukuoka, Japan, he was the second of five children in the family of a military test pilot. As a boy he manifested an interest in both theater and gymnastics, and he was serious enough about the latter to earn a place on the Japanese Olympic team in his late teens, until he was sidelined by a back injury. While he was a university student, he began studying martial arts with the renowned World Karate Grand Master Masatatsu "Mas" Oyama, leading to his becoming a first degree judo black belt. Sometime around 1960 -- the dates are uncertain, because it is possible that he had television appearances to his credit as early as 1959 -- he was discovered in a talent search by the Toei film studio, and he began his screen career soon after, under the name Shinichi Chiba. It was under that name that he gave perhaps his most dubious screen performance, in the role of the mysterious hero Space Chief (as he is called by his youthful admirers in the English-dubbed version -- in Japanese his name translated as "Ironsharp") in the delightfully inept, low-budget science fiction film Invasion of the Neptune Men. That film, which was shown on American television throughout the 1960s and even given the Mystery Science Theater 3000 "treatment" in the 1990s, was easily Chiba's most widely distributed film internationally for the first 14 years of his career. Over the next decade, he was cast primarily in crime thrillers (and one more science fiction effort, Terror Beneath the Sea). He also changed his name to Sonny Chiba, initially because of his association with a Toyota advertising campaign for a car called the Sunny-S.

By 1969, he had started his own training school for actors aspiring to work in martial arts films, and in 1973, in the wake of the international craze for such films started by Bruce Lee, he returned to the screen himself as an actor. Chiba's breakthrough international hit was The Street Fighter (1974), which established him as the reigning Japanese martial arts actor in international cinema for the next two decades. His subsequent hits included such pictures as Bullet Train (1975), Karate Warriors (1976), Doberman Cop (1977), and The Assassin (1977). He also occasionally returned to the science fiction genre, in movies such as Message From Space (1978). Chiba was even busier in the 1980s, doing dozens of movies as well as making forays into television, and with roles in such high profile adventures as The Storm Riders (1998) his fame in Japan remained unabated into the 1990s. In his fifties, the actor resumed working under the name Shinichi Chiba when he served as a choreographer of martial arts sequences. At the dawn of the 21st century, Chiba was as busy as ever in feature films and also starring in his own series in Japan. Roles in Takashi Miike's Deadly Outlaw: Rekka and directors Kenta and Kenji Fukusaku's Battle Royale II effectively bridged the gap between modern day and yesteryear cinematic cult legend, Chiba's enduring onscreen career recieved a fitting tribute when the ageing but still formidable talent appeared in a key role in director Quentin Tarantino's bloody revenge epic Kill Bill in 2003.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet April Fools (Eipuriru fûruzu)
  • Actor
2015
No Score Yet Itsuka giragirasuruhi (Double Cross)
  • Actor
2014
40% Sushi Girl
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet The Streetfighter (Gekitotsu! Satsujin ken)
  • Actor
2012
No Score Yet Yellow Fangs
  • Director
2009
No Score Yet Sonny Chiba Masutatsu Oyama Trilogy
  • Actor
2007
37% The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
  • Uncle Kamata
2006
No Score Yet Legend of Seven Monks
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Legends Of Martial Arts
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Deadly Buddhist Raiders
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Survive Style 5+
  • Kazama - Advertising Company President
2004
85% Kill Bill: Volume 1
  • Hattori Hanzo
2003
30% Battle Royale II
  • Shinji Mumura's Uncle
2003
No Score Yet Deadly Outlaw: Rekka
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet The Storm Riders (Fung wan: Hung ba tin ha)
  • Conquer
2000
No Score Yet Sheng zhe wei wang (Young and Dangerous Part 6) (Born to Be King)
  • Isako Kusaraki
2000
No Score Yet The Legend of the Flying Swordsman
  • Fun's Father
2000
No Score Yet Sure Death: Revenge
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet Body Count
  • Makato
1996
No Score Yet Immortal Combat
  • J.J.
1993
0% Aces: Iron Eagle III
  • Horikoshi
1992
No Score Yet Fighting Fist
  • Actor
1992
No Score Yet Yellow Fangs
  • Director
1990
No Score Yet Shogun's Shadow
  • Iba Shoemon
1989
No Score Yet Shogun's Samurai - The Yagyu Clan Conspiracy
  • Yagyu Jubei
1984
No Score Yet Ninja Wars
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet Legend of the Eight Samurai (Satomi hakken-den)
  • Dosetsu Inuyama
1983
No Score Yet Ninja Wars
  • Actor
1982
No Score Yet Fall Guy
  • Actor
1982
No Score Yet Roaring Fire
  • Actor
1982
No Score Yet Sengoku jieitai (G.I. Samurai) (Time Slip)
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet Samurai Reincarnation (Makai tenshô)
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet Samurai Resurrection
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet Dragon Princess
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet G.I. Samurai
  • Lieutenant Iba
1981
No Score Yet Ninja bugeicho momochi sandayu, (Shogun's Ninja)
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet Fukkatsu no hi (Day of Resurrection) (The End) (Virus)
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet Resurrection of Golden Wolf
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet The Bushido Blade
  • Prince Ido
1979
No Score Yet Yami no karyudo (Hunter in the Dark)
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet The Street Fighter's Last Revenge
  • Terry Tsuguri
1979
No Score Yet Time Slip
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet Old Skool Killaz: Sword of the Master
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet Message from Space
  • Hans
1978
No Score Yet Sister Street Fighter
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Swords of Vengeance
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Sora-te baka ichidai (Karate For Life)
  • Matsutatsu Oyama
1977
No Score Yet Hokuriku dairi senso (Hokuriku Proxy War)
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet Karate Bearfighter
  • Matsutatsu Oyama
1977
No Score Yet Karate Bearfighter
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet Golgo 13: Kûron no kubi (The Kowloon Assignment)
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet Soul of Chiba
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet Golgo
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet The Bodyguard
  • Actor
1976
No Score Yet Kozure satsujin ken (Karate Warriors)
  • Actor
1976
No Score Yet Sonny Chiba's Dragon Princess
  • Actor
1976
No Score Yet Hissatsu onna kenshi (Dragon Princess) (Which Is Stronger, Karate or the Tiger?)
  • Actor
1976
No Score Yet Karate Warriors
  • Actor
1976
No Score Yet The Bullet Train
  • Actor
1975
No Score Yet Killing Machine
  • Doshin So
1975
No Score Yet Return of the Street Fighter
  • Takuma Tsurugi
1975
No Score Yet Shinkansen daibakuha (Bullet Train)
  • Aoki
1975
No Score Yet Kenka karate kyokushinken (Karate Bullfighter) (Champion of Death)
  • Actor
1975
No Score Yet Karate Bullfighter
  • Actor
1975
No Score Yet Executioner II
  • Ryuichi Koga
1975
No Score Yet The Street Fighter
  • Takuma Tsurugi
1974
No Score Yet Chokugeki! Jigoku-ken (The Executioner) (Direct Hit! Hell Fist)
  • Ryuichi Koga
1974
No Score Yet Onna hissatsu ken (Sister Street Fighter)
  • The Street Fighter (Sonny Kawasaka)
1974
No Score Yet Lethal Chiba
  • Actor
1974
No Score Yet Soul of Bruce Lee
  • Actor
1974
No Score Yet Sonny Chiba
  • Actor
1974
No Score Yet Jingi naki tatakai: Hiroshima shito hen(Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Deathmatch in Hiroshima)
  • Actor
1973
No Score Yet Ninja Warriors
  • Actor
1972
No Score Yet Gincho nagaremono mesuneko bakuchi (Wandering Ginza: She-Cat Gambler)
  • Actor
1972
No Score Yet Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2 - She-Cat Gambler
  • Actor
1971
No Score Yet Yakuza deka: Marifana mitsubai soshiki (The Assassin)
  • Actor
1970
No Score Yet Yakuza deka (Gangster Cop)
  • Actor
1970
No Score Yet Assassin
  • Actor
1970
No Score Yet Ôgon batto (The Golden Bat)
  • Actor
1966
No Score Yet Terror Beneath the Sea
  • Actor
1966
No Score Yet Invasion of the Neptune Men
  • Actor
1963
No Score Yet Return Of The Street Fighter (Satsujin Ken 2)
  • Actor
1924

Quotes from Sonny Chiba's Characters