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Return of the Street Fighter (JAPAN 1974)

Director : Shigehiro Ozawa
Cast :  Sonny Chiba, Claude Gannyon, Yoko Ichiji, Masashi Ishibashi, Masataka Suzuki, Ko Tanaka and Zulu Yachi.

Synopsis :
Takuma “Terry” Tsurugi returns. In this sequel, he sets out to bust up a phony charity put together by the Yukuza.

by Edward Tang

Sonny Chiba STILL rules. Right after re-watching the Street Fighter and enjoying myself, I figured that what the hell. I’ll go and get the other three street fighter flicks and hopefully enjoy myself. So far, so good. In fact, I actually thought that this one was a worthless piece of crap because of all the negatives I’ve heard about how this one doesn’t live up to it’s predecessor. But looking at Street Fighter today, it had lost most of its luster because of the more graphic violence and better choreographed scenes of action anyways. Return of the Street Fighter is very much a good sequel, because it goes back to what the first one touched on, Sonny Chiba destroying as many people in his way. Being the mark that I am, when Junjo returned from the dead, I was cheering myself. (Junjo was in the first one and got his throat ripped out and had artificial vocal cords, yeah I said it). But you get the amount of fighting that is necessary to make a film in this genre watchable. There have been martial arts films that have completely tried to make a story, rather than give the action, please no. Sure the story will seem beat to death, the characters are generic, the bad guys are their typical “ruthless” self. But of course you still can get a knuckle to the back of the head, which knocks a guys eyes out.

Chiba returns as Terry Tsurugi, who if you don’t know, is basically rules with karate and is sort of a like a bounty hunter. He is assigned to knock off one of the only people he trusts. Of course, he tells ‘em to f*ck off and they then send the goons after Terry, whom in turn, get destroyed. Then some awkward plot about the boss forging names or some shit, gets in turn for other masters to question his ideals. Then a plot about the American Mafia comes into play, and how they were doing something with something. Thinking about it now, the story sucked, and was basically just worthless. The flashback scenes in turn, felt like they were there just to add some time to the screen. I mean, God forbid, these flicks came out the same year, and they probably didn’t wait for God’s screenplay, but give ‘em a break.

The cast of flunkies truly isn’t one thing to surprise you. First you’ve got the annoying Japanese girl who is also part of the Mob, who has gained feelings for Tony when she should have been setting him up. Of course she dies! Then of course, the return of Junjo (if you don’t’ know, he wanted revenge on Terry for “killing” his brother). Junjo only has a few scenes and has a pretty cool death, getting electrocuted. Oh yeah, he can talk with a voice box now, you shouldn’t miss that one. Then the typical gweilo actors whom do nothing but waste time on the screen. The one main guy, I have renamed “Evil Jesus”, just because his hair and beard. But this Jesus oh boy, he can’t act, and he can’t shoot either. From dead point range, he had to kill a guy with three bullets. Pathetic. But don’t worry, Evil Jesus finds himself, gets killed in an explosion of a gas tank.

So what is my fascination with these flicks if they have crappy actors and plots? Think about it. Yes, the action in these films is always up to snuff, and that is probably the only reason in why I would give this flick a mention. Chiba as well, has enough screen presence to get you through this otherwise mess of a film. The fight scenes still hold that charm of Chiba running through everyone, usually crushing them with his foot, and getting to where he needs to go. Some of the scenes in particular are just shown to have Chiba fighting random people. He shows up in a bath house, and he’s talking to some idiot, and then these guys just start a random fight with him. I’m not trying to be at all negative, scenes that just have off the wall fighting can be good, as in this. There’s a sequence that shows a bunch of different martial artists using different weapons, such as nun-chucks and samurai swords, what the hell was the point of that? Sure you get to see those weapons later down the road, but was that sequence necessary? Probably not. You’ve got to love the finale as Chiba takes on easily 50 guys and just goes through one by one until he reaches his goal, and kills the mob boss (Evil Jesus). The film ends with Chiba’s toothy grin and the familiar tune that I love listening to for some reason. A cheap but good song to go along with the events that later unfold.

So what do you get out of this film other than loads of good fighting? Pretty much nothing. The first Street Fighter has more gore than this one, and this film only had a few scenes that encompassed such. Being a sequel, it basically feels like the original, that gave us what we wanted in terms of action. I’m easily entertained, and in watching this film was no different from watching the first. But this film is highly outdated, from the clothes to everything that comes out of the bitch’s mouth. Then of course there is a scene that I will always remember, a little bastard kid is trying to break stones, and doesn’t, and lets out the most horrid sounding scream I have ever heard. Just thinking about it now is giving me a headache, and for some reason,

Return of the Street Fighter is a good way to go if you love the first film, or you love older kung-fu flicks. I mean Sonny Chiba is in this film, and he still can kick some major ass. But beware, this film is basically a pile of corn that has been destroyed by better and more recent flicks. But mainly, see it for entertainment and the fight scenes, and just remember that everything else in it was shit.

Plot : 1/5
Acting : 2/5
Entertainment : 4/5
Overall : 3/5

Notable Scenes
- Terry fighting goons in the bath house
- the return of Junjo
- the final fight against Evil Jesus and his flunkies.

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Return of the Street Fighter

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