Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sister is Doin' It for Herself: "Sister Street Fighter" (1976)

While bearing little to no resemblance to the three Sonny Chiba/Street Fighter films, this last entry is the best in the series.

The simplistic plot is: Shihomi goes to find her missing brother, an undercover agent kidnapped by drug smugglers. She begins to nose around, and incurs the wrath of the main dope fiend and his silly henchmen. They smuggle heroin to the rest of the world in wigs. Her uncle rats her out, thanks to a convenient rape of his daughter, and she is thought dead, but comes back in time to find her brother and defeat the army of villains, with the chauvinist help of Sonny Chiba.

I do not think this was an official "Street Fighter" entry because Chiba has a handful of scenes, and his character's name is different from the first three films. The karate school and its instructor, all major forces in the first three films, has been replaced by a different instructor and karate school (which has a swastika as its emblem, I know it was a religious symbol first, but it is still unsettling). Chiba's role is a glorified cameo, and he spends most of his screen time telling various women their place is in the kitchen.

Shihomi, who had a tiny part in the third film, and was killed off early, is excellent here. This is not exactly Lady Macbeth, but she is cute and can kick the sushi out of any man around. The film has more fight scenes than the first three films combined, the action is literally non-stop.

The silly villains look like they stepped out of an old 1960's "Batman" episode. They have colorful names like Hammerhead, and wear shiny costumes and silly phallic helmets that are more funny than threatening. Another weak scene is the graphic rape scene. While Sue's uncle is forced to watch, his daughter is raped by a giggling fat guy so the uncle will rat out Shihomi. The whole film is very violent, but this little piece of ugliness was completely uncalled for. Also, where is it written that all police and detectives must meet their informants in strip clubs, just so we have to see bare breasts? Just wondering, since even this foreign made film gets into the same routine.

"Sister Street Fighter" is definitely the best of the series, and I even think it can be watched by anyone who has not seen the first three films in the series, you will not find any closure here. (* * * * *) out of five stars.