Exciting news for genre enthusiasts: 74-year-old action star Sonny Chiba is coming back with a vengeance. The man who was Street Fighter – years before the video game – has just signed a four-picture deal with Assembly Line, a fledgling production company whose first film, Sushi Girl, starred Chiba, Tony Todd, Mark Hamill, Jeff Fahey and Michael Biehn. You can watch the really quite good trailer below (Bryan Ferry music makes everything seem good though).
Hollywood Reporter has announced that Chiba's first film for Assembly Line will be Bushido, a film about "a band of Buffalo Soldiers and Japanese samurai serving together in the American Civil War." The film is based on an original story by Sonny Chiba, and will reunite him with his Sushi Girl co-star Tony Todd. His next three films are still unknown.
Sonny Chiba made his feature film debut in 1961 and has been working steadily ever since. He made his first big splash in America with the three Street Fighter movies, which captured the kung fu zeitgeist back in the mid-1970s. Younger film fans probably recognize him as the master swordsmith Hattori Hanzo in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume 1, a role Chiba originated on Japanese television in the 1980s and reprised (believe it or not) on the 9,895th episode of the daytime television soap opera Days of Our Lives in 2004. Other Chiba roles you might recognize can be found in the Chinese fantasy epic The Storm Riders and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
[CORRECTION: Sonny Chiba is incorrectly identified on IMDb as appearing in the aforementioned 'Days of Our Lives' episode. Although the character of "Hattori Hanzo" did appear in the episode, he was played by Chinese-American actor George Cheung. You can watch a clip from the episode – in which the actor is quite obviously not Sonny Chiba – right here. Thanks go out to reader Dan Richard for the correction!]
CraveOnline will return with more Sonny Chiba news because, as Christian Slater once said, he's a badass motherf**ker.