Thursday, March 27, 2008

Return of the Street Fighter (Unrated version)

The Action Mutant…
would never point out that Sonny’s last name is slang for “marijuana”.

Return of the Street Fighter

review by Joe Burrows

No need to repeat things, here. This is the second of the three Street Fighter films, which were all actually made within one year (1974). We won’t ever see that again, I suppose.

The Plot, as it was:
Terry Tsurugi is back, this time trying to silence the Mob and a martial arts master who are in conjunction to rip off other martial arts instructors of their money and feed it into their pipelines. Meanwhile, a cop (Zulu Yachi) is after Tsurugi for taking out an informant of his. And then there’s…

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
Though nowhere nearly as bloody or sleazy as the original, Return of…is still a fun enough sequel to get your kicks off of. It’s basically the same as the first film, only with a few storyline ties being resolved for good measure. It also tends to be much like the first film in the sense that too many flashbacks from the first film is shown. And I’m not talking about 10 to 15 second clips; I mean full scenes being flashed back to! Still, Chiba brings the same intensity to the table and shows that Tsurugi hasn’t lightened up in the meantime. The film manages to saddle Terry with another loopy sidekick named Kitty (Yoko Ichiji), a Hello Kitty-esque runaway that speaks in so much 70s slang that it tends to grate on the viewer’s nerves. The first half of the film lacks the same fire as the first and tends to be a little talky at times, as you will probably find yourself thinking like Millhouse when Poochie debuted on Itchy & Scratchy (“When are they going to get to the fireworks factory?”). Don’t worry, the last 20 minutes is that “fireworks factory”, where Tsurugi lays waste to everything and loads up the corpses like old times. Throw in a few welcome surprises before hand and you have a more than competent sequel in Return of the Street Fighter.

Body Count/Violence: 45. Despite its lack of blood for about ¾ of the film, Chiba still has the badass chops to make for an engaging show. Tsurugi finishes off his foes by stabbing and popping out eyes, electrocution, cracking skulls, breaking necks, eye and throat gouging, etc. A particularly memorable sequence has Terry walloping about 10 guys in a sauna and leaving them in there with the pressure at full blast.

Sexuality/Nudity: A very brief tit shot from a female assassin (Katsuya Yamashita) who gets Terry in the sack.

Language/Dialogue: You guessed it. Bastard.

How bad was it?:
Most martial arts critics agree that it’s a step down from the original but not entirely disposable. No real mainstream reviews for it, though.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
N/A of the box office figures but the film took a little while longer to get released in the U.S., as New Line released it on 12/3/75. Many home video companies will carry it.

Film: **1/2/*****
Entertainment value: ***1/2/*****

Copyright 2007 The Action Mutant.

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