Bodyguard Kiba

ボディガード牙 | The Bodyguard | Karate Kiba | Bodigâdo Kiba
 •  , , ,  •   • Dir.

Reviewed by   |  Mar 18, 2024

This newly restored version of the Japanese cut of ‘Bodyguard Kiba’ certainly starts with a bang (mob bosses blasted to death in squib-tastic fashion segueing straight into the man Chiba kicking butt on a hijacked plane as the credits roll!) and rarely lets up over the next eighty plus minutes. Chiba, playing pretty much himself, sets up a new bodyguard business (using the thwarted hijacked plane as a promotional tool) and no sooner has he done than he gets his first client: the mysterious and sexy Reiko (Mari Atsumi). The wife of a now-dead mob boss, Kiba vows to protect her from the local Yakuza and their drug running ways. But as the two get closer is Reiko being entirely honest with Kiba.

Slick, OTT, exploitation, ‘Bodyguard Kiba’ doesn’t try to be anything else and on those trashy terms it succeeds at being an entertaining, albeit mid-level, Sonny Chiba action fest. He’s as cool as ice here kicking all kinds of butt with effortless ease. Don’t expect ‘Streetfighter’ levels of fight action as Chiba mainly jumps and spins through the air and dispatches bad guys swiftly though there is some impressive gore thrown in to spice up the action: severed arms, bones piercing skin, bloody gunshot squibs.

Existing in its own heightened reality (the film based on a manga of the same name), ‘Bodyguard Kiba’ is all about making our hero look cool (and indestructible!) and the bad guys as nasty as possible. There’s a certain sleazy vibe and some striking imagery when it comes to the world the bad guys inhabit and the bad things they do to people, meaning this is more of an exploitation flick than a straight up action flick. However, there is some cool action on display also, including a cool fight that features the aforementioned severed arm (!) and an impressive running gun battle where the bads attempt to take out the hero and the lady he’s charged to protect.

Ryuichi Takamori (‘Yakuza Wolf’, ‘Yakuza Deka’) keeps the cool factor ramped up with some slick visuals and often frantic camerawork (he certainly favours the crash zoom!) to carry the film through its more languid sections and while this may never be a Chiba classic there’s certainly enough to put a smile on the face of those who love their old school, cool-for-the-sake-of-cool, 70s exploitation style flicks. This welcome restored version of the Japanese cut looks amazing and is a far superior version to the re-cut/cut down US version that was originally released, simply titled ‘The Bodyguard’.

Eureka Entertainment will release ‘Bodyguard Kiba 1 & 2’ on UK Blu-ray on March 18, 2024. You can order it now from
Follow me
Latest posts by Andrew Skeates (see all)