Kazuhiko Yamaguchi’s Sister Street Fighter

Today I watched Kazuhiko Yamaguchi’s Sister Street Fighter (1974)

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This film is something of a spinoff of the Japanese Street Fighter film series which had starred Sonny Chiba.  Despite that this film has no real plot ties to those ones, except of course all the karate violence and drug dealing.  In this film a half Japanese martial artist from Hong Kong named Koryu is sent by the police to investigate the disappearance of her brother who was working undercover in Japan.  What she is confronted with is an extremely powerful heroin smuggling ring that is protected by a legion of colourful characters and kitsch martial artists.  So with the help of a recast Sonny Chiba, she must obviously dispatch with this army of felons.

While this film still has much of the grit and gore of the original street fighter films, it also takes a lot of influence from kung fu films from Hong Kong.  This is especially evident in how the film opens as it begins with a demonstration of star Sue Shiomi’s martial prowess on a colourful soundstage, much like a 70’s wuxia flick.  It also means the fight scenes are quite a bit more flashy and showy, unlike the previous films’ very direct and impactful choreography.  That said there are still buckets of blood, even the gore is made a little flashier and more over the top.

One might complain about the addition of wire work and this more colourful choreography, but then is isn’t really a street fighter movie.  Sonny Chiba doesn’t even play Tsurugi in it, his character is some guy named Hibiki.  So it’s easier to see it as the beginning of a new, similar, but different franchise.  As such I think this is quite a great film, it’s action is really well done and the story has plenty of absurd elements to keep it all moving.  I would heartilly recommend this to fans of karate films and any fans of action films in general, it’s all over the place in a really fun way.  5/5

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