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The Street Fighter (JAPAN 1974)

aka Gekitotsu! Satsujin ken  

Director : Shigehiro Ozaw
Cast : Sonny Chiba, Waichi Yamada, Tony Cetera, Yutaka Nakajima, Teijo Shikeharo, King Stone and Masashi Ishibashi.

Synopsis
Terry is a tough, mercenary, master of martial arts. When an important business magnate dies, leaving billions to his daughter, the Mafia and Yakuza try to hire Terry to kidnap the daughter. When they refuse to meet his exorbitant price, then try to kill him to conceal their secret plans, he promptly offers his services to protect her. Much ultra-violent martial-arts fighting action, as expected, ensues. This also includes a subplot of a family’s blood feud with Terry over a disputed debt.

Review
by Edward Tang

Ah, Sonny Chiba. Searching through his filmography, there are so many great flicks that are as entertaining as hell. As the main character in “Street Fighter”, he plays a badass named Terry. Chiba has been compared mostly to Bruce Lee, and even so, if Bruce hadn’t have died, there was a movie in the works that would have starred both men. Chiba’s style is much more harsh, which leads to such examples as ripping off genitals and the all so famous x-ray shot. The film is all so basic, typical story and the acting is mookishly average. Hell, watching the dubbed version back a few years was horrible, and I truly hated this film because I felt it was too corny. But after taking in the original cut, I could see where some of the love is coming from. The fighting scenes are more than enough to quench my thirst and lust for some kickass, throw down fricken violence.

The film by itself is nothing, Chiba makes this film worth watching, anytime you see him, you know someone is going down. This film is now over 30 years old and is obviously out-dated, but that doesn’t mean anything. This was the first film to receive an “X” rating for violence, and the film to show what Sonny Chiba is made of. Sure he isn’t Bruce Lee, he’s fuckin’ Sonny Chiba, the most badassed guy ever to grace the screen.

Street Fighter is probably one of the more entertaining films you could name in the martial arts lineup. But be afraid, most of the bad guys are painfully generic it will hurt. Like I said, the only thing that really stands out is Chiba and the gritty fight scenes. Today, the type of violence shown in this film is laughable compared to some of the more recent flicks that have been released. I remember watching this with some bitch ass friend of mine who laughed his way through the entire thing, because he said the blood looked like “Red paint”, I really hate people like that. But I had to agree with him on one point, the film did not age like fine wine. The dialog is laughable, but throw all of that away, you’ve got yourself some solid action. The finale is great for instance, Chiba going from left to right, just taking out everyone in his way.

The characters are so very basic it hurts. First off, you’ve got the loyal partner. The loyal partner usually dies in such in a film (in this as well) and somehow came with the hero in a circumstance, where the hero helped him. Then you’ve got your basic money hungry bad guys. They have a good plan, until the hero connects with them in some fashion and destroys their plan. I’m not exactly sure what they were going for when they added the family against Terry during this film. Basically, the first scene shows Terry getting a guy out of prison, and he eventually confronts the guy’s family. Then one of them jumps out a window, attempting to kick Terry, and dies. So when the other brother finds his sister as a hooker, they swear for revenge. I didn’t see these characters in Return of the Street Fighter. Yeah, you know the rest. I did enjoy the homage to Zatoichi with that assassin character.

As I said earlier, Chiba really takes control of this film and has a presence that could easily rival that of Bruce Lee’s. He doesn’t play the hero, he follows into the light of “I’m a bad guy who did a good thing”, type of deal. His words are always spoken with confidence, and has no problem grabbing a woman and basically raping her with his mouth. Even though he is a murdering bastard, he has a quality about himself that is likable. He is the ultimate badass, he goes from person to person and their death is more nasty than the one before them. But then again, isn’t totally heartless, the hero couldn’t be. He saves a woman from being raped and rips off the rapist’s balls. Even though it looked cheesy, I always flinch just thinking about getting your balls ripped off. Hell, I got punched there and was out for the count for a while. Chiba’s character was basically an equal rights type of guy, he didn’t care if you were a man or a woman, he’d still crush you with his foot and break your ribs.

The fight scenes are truly more of a violent spectacle rather than those of a neatly choreographed instance. They used the classic cliche as well in this flick, “I remember what my father said, so I’ll get the balls to fight you some more!” Yeah but most of the fighting was slick and entertaining. My favorite fight belonged to that of the Zatoichi character and Sonny, just because it was cool. Sonny rips the guy’s sword in two, and stabs him with the other end. Ah, such a class act on the part of a rogue who only wants to succeed in the very foundation of his craft. Basically, Sonny Chiba killed the shit out of that guy.

“Street Fighter” in many words, has everything you’d expect from an old chop-sockey flick. A bunch of violence, good fights, basic characters and story. But this film has the card with it’s heavy violence and totally different characters, that this exploitation had no problem showing. Sonny Chiba is the man and to see him at his best, I wouldn’t pass this one up. But beware, times have changed and with all the martial arts films to come out, this one fight feel corny. But to me, this film is probably one of the most entertaining out there, and hell for any day of the week, I’ll take it.

Rating
Plot : 2/5
Acting : 2/5
Entertainment : 5/5
Overall : 3/5

Notable Scenes
- The finale on the boat
- Chiba against the master of the dojo
- the x-ray scene.

Buy this movie at YesAsia – The Street Fighter

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