Imagine a sequel to TAXI DRIVER (1976) featuring Travis Bickle as a face-changing criminal hunter a la THE SAINT (1997). Imagine writing and direction the caliber of any talentless direct-to-video hack. You're imagining this confused, boring sequel to THE STREET FIGHTER.
Double-crossed out of his fee after rescuing a criminal from police custody, Terry Sugury (Sonny Chiba) steals from the criminal gang a cassette tape detailing how to make fake heroin cheaply. A corrupt District Attorney grabs the tape back and Sugury steals it again, while a sister-and-brother
team of gangsters vie to buy the information. They trap Sugury and a female investigator (Sue Shiomi); the investigator is killed but Sugury escapes to steal a suitcase fo cash from the gangsters. The sister shows up and sleeps with him, but it's just to divert his attention while her cohorts
steal back the cash. Afterwards, her brother and the DA tangle and the brother is killed; the sister then sleeps with the DA but it's just to get past his guard so she can poison him. Instead, he tries to kill her, but Sugury interrupts, fighting and killing the DA. The sister then climbs into a
car with the money, telling Sugury she never loved him. He tries to warn her that the car is rigged to explode; she ignores him and goes up in flames.
Or something like that. As per usual, the film was trimmed for domestic release, although this time the original wasn't nearly as graphic, so the final product isn't as severely truncated. In other words, the film's rambling incoherence can't be attributed to the censors--it's endemic in the
script, which is, if possible, even dumber than the first two entries in Chiba's STREET FIGHTER series. Logic and continuity are tossed to the wind. Characters, as usual, simply show up at crucial junctures as if preternaturally gifted with the knowledge of where their enemies are hiding. Yet,
Sugury (pronounced as it's spelled this time, unlike in the prior entries) is pretty much of an idiot, repeatedly tricked by the gangster sister--and, when the plot demands, he's suddenly clumsy to boot. There's a ridiculous Mexican in a matador costume who shoots explosive beams from his hands
(actually from a hidden weapon; he is ultimately burned up in a crematory) and Sugury cleverly disguises himself at one point as a vampire, complete with fangs. His theme music is the same, the flashback to his father being shot is shown for the third time, and the karate instructor played by
Masafumi Suzuki makes a token appearance, but this time Sugury's comic relief is split in two. There's a telephone operator who lusts after him (and gets kidnapped by the DA in exchange for the tape). She simply vanishes from the story halfway. And then there's the female investigator, who is the
requisite sacrificial sidekick this time, killed by the criminals while helping to save Sugury. Her death doesn't faze him a whit, but when the gangster sister blows up, after belittling and using him, Sugury actually shows sorrow for the first (and last) time.
Largely due to the crude fighting in the series, Sonny Chiba had developed something of a negative reputation among martial arts fans, being dismissed as inferior to more graceful and technically polished fighters. In truth, Chiba was highly skilled, as proven when he participated in a karate
tournament in 1977 as part of a team led by his former teacher, "Mas" Oyama (whom Chiba portrayed in a series of films). Chiba won by a knockout. For this third STREET FIGHTER film, he changed his style in a number of ways. Many of the fights are more theatrical, with clearly choreographed moves
rather than brutal grappling. He dumped the reliance on gore, on his grabbing some bodily appendage and tearing it off. Sugury still performs the occasional supernatural leap, but the fights seem cleaner, less barbarous and ruthless, as does the character himself. A kinder, gentler Street Fighter.
Chiba protege Sue Shiomi's brief appearances as the feisty, fighting female investigator are the best parts of the film; she starred in the companion piece SISTER STREETFIGHTER (1976). (Violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1979
- Rating: R
- Review: Imagine a sequel to TAXI DRIVER (1976) featuring Travis Bickle as a face-changing criminal hunter a la THE SAINT (1997). Imagine writing and direction the caliber of any talentless direct-to-video hack. You're imagining this confused, boring sequel to THE… (more)