Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Return to Sonny: "Return of the Street Fighter" (1975)

Chiba is back, hacking and coughing all over the Far East.

Sonny Chiba is back as Terry Sugury, a hired killer for a business tycoon who is building a giant karate academy. Chiba dabbles in the hitman trade, while his old karate instructor finds out the tycoon is using the instructor's name to procure "donations" for the mob. After an honest cop is killed and the instructor injured in a hit, Chiba contorts himself ... all over the tycoon, the mafia, and an old villain we thought was dead in the first film.

This film is definitely an improvement over the original "The Street Fighter," whose plot I was never able to figure out. Chiba does that thing where he calls up inner strength through breathing exercises in the middle of some fights. They call it inner strength ... . Someone must have let the producers knows this was kind of funny in the first film because it is kept to a minimum here. Sadly, Chiba is also saddled with yet another "funny" sidekick, this time a young woman who speaks like a hippie.

There are a few major fight set pieces here, with the best being a chaotic fight at a spa, just ignore the weak comedy relief in the form of a whiny fat guy (no, not me). I do recommend "Return of the Street Fighter" over the first one and to any martial arts fans. (* * * *) out of five stars.