That silly English title actually has a basis in fact: Mas Oyama gained immortality in Japanese martial arts circles for killing no less than 52 bulls with his bare hands. Sonny Chiba was a real life student of Oyama, so who better to play him in this Toei biopic? Reportedly based more on the exploits depicted in a popular Oyama manga series than the genuine article, the film opens in 1949 and follows the rise of Oyama from hermit to nationally respected karate expert. His obviously superior skills anger the martial arts establishment, prompting them to plot the downfall of Oyama and his "evil karate." Sensei Oyama must also deal with the violent repercussions that inevitably follow those who devote their lives to the martial arts.
Chiba (who went on to make two more films about Oyama) dominates the screen in his inimitable way, which helps to counter some of the storyline’s melodramatic excesses. Unfortunately, the various battles are almost invariably depicted via tight framing, jerky handheld camera work, and graceless editing (problems plaguing many contemporary action films), working against the kinetic charge one longs for from Chiba’s pictures and rendering KARATE BULLFIGHTER merely passable.