the street fighterWhen you think of the mid-1970’s and martial arts films from the exploitation era, then the name Sonny Chiba will be of great importance for he is the legend of the Grindhouse cinema. Bruce Lee was gone and all of Asia were looking for the next martial arts star to step up to the plate and Sonny Chiba was one of them in today’s Ass Whoopin Wednesdays film The Street Fighter. Sonny plays a mercenary named Terry who is rough and tough and doesn’t take any crap from anyone and he is very successful as well. One day, an oil tycoon mysteriously passes away and leaves all of his money to his daughter Sarai (Yutaka Nakajima) making her a target for thieves. The Yakuza and the mafia decide to try and hire Terry to kidnap the girl for them, but when he refuses they try to kill him in a means to conceal their plan. What they didn’t plan for is that Terry offers his services to protect the girl from the Yakuza and a violent war ensues. The film also stars  Goichi Yamada as Ratnose, Masashi Ishibashi as Junjo, Etsuko Shihomi (Sister Street Fighter) as Nachi, Masafumi Suzuki as Kendō Masaoka, Ken Kazama (Return Of The Street Fighter) as Senkaku Kan, and the film was directed by Shigehiro Ozawa (Return Of The Street Fighter). Before we get into the review of the film, let’s check out some of the stats: 

chiba Stats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sonny chibaThere is one thing that can be said about this film and there is definitely a body count in the film as Chiba alone had 64 knockouts/kills. The origin story that is revealed to us about him is very brief and it’s him witnessing the death of his father and his father tells him to never be defeated. There is really no love interest in the film and towards the end, his sidekick Ratnose ends up meeting his maker. One of the things that you’ll find interesting is that one the jobs he does in the beginning will bite him in the ass later on in the film. The overdub is pretty decent and the film quality isn’t bad for a grindhouse film as some of them are usually choppy from the conversion. Sonny Chiba is a total bad ass and it oozes through in all of his unique kills like ripping a man’s genitals out or even the throat rip that you’ll see. Some of the knockouts or kills can be a little cheesy as all it seems to take for some is a devastating kick to kill them. No one will ever replace Bruce Lee, but Sonny Chiba was own brand or animal and it was certainly fun to watch on screen. One thing that I will say is that it is hard to figure out whether the film is in Japan or China as according to the film, Chiba’s character was a half breed and then he challenges a Japanese Dojo as well. Nevertheless, it was a fun movie to watch and I enjoyed it. You can catch the film if you have Amazon Prime right now. I am going to give the film 3.8 fists out of five.

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