Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Return of the Sister Street Fighter

The Action Mutant…
knows ninja attacks are always successful.

Return of the Sister Street Fighter

review by Joe Burrows

This would be the third of the four Sister Street Fighter films, as I caught it the other night on FliX (a pretty good source for some occasional 70s Kung Fu fare). This ISN’T the one I referenced in my original review of SSF however, as that plot is far more wacky than this one. Go on, go to IMDB and check it out. I can wait. Done? Ok, I guess some things just easily amuse me more than others.

The Plot, as it was:
Sue Shiomi portrays Koryu, a woman that has to find a little girl’s mother. The woman, named Shurei (Akane Kawasaki), is not only the mistress of wheelchair bound gangster Oh Ryu Mei (Rinichi Yamamoto) but also the chemist that combines gold into acid for his smuggling ring! Oh doesn’t take very well to the fact that Koryu is mucking up his operation so he gathers a gaggle of assassins to handle her, comprised by such entities as a blackface, Japanese/Zulu warrior (!), a cocky manipulator named Takeshi (Yasuaki Kurata) and the flamboyantly dressed Ebikura (Masashi Ishibashi).

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
As long as you don’t go shooting for originality, RotSSF is a fun 77 minutes that wastes no time in giving you your grindhouse fix for the day. Obviously, the seemingly essential film elements (plot, characterization, dialogue, etc.) are in short supply but that leaves more time for the crazy fight scenes and campy fun that made the first one a fun trip. Shiomi is her usual stoic (maybe too stoic, at times) self and makes for one great physical show. Yamamoto is the latest in a long line of Han-inspired villains, complete with workable hand in a fixed, power position! The other bad guys are amusing as well (Ishibashi looks like a cross between a pimp and a Dancing with the Stars extra) and the film’s only real problem is it’s similarity to the first entry. Just a quick hint: they’re all pretty much the same film, albeit with a few changes (Koryu’s just finding a woman instead of a man this time and there’s a cloyingly, cute girl added in). Get past that and you’ll be treated to a perfectly passable timewaster that’s just slightly longer than one of David Caruso’s exasperated opening monotones on CSI:Miami. “Gold with Acid? That’s certainly (takes off glasses)…one interesting trip.” YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Body Count/Violence: 19. Much like SSF, Shiomi doesn’t go for her opponents’ jugular too much. She hits plenty of punches and spinkicks but they only prove to be consistently fatal during the final 10 minutes or so. We’re treated to the requisite shooting, stabbing, sword slashing, flogging, burning (both by fire and acid), bone breaking and so on and so on.

Sexuality/Nudity: Two topless scenes in this one, one in a strip club and another in which Oh works over Shurei’s chest with a feather. It sounds sexy but it’s much creepier when an old guy in a wheelchair with a prosthetic hand is doing it.

Language/Dialogue: Not much, just a few mild obscenities.

How bad was it?:
There’s a little debate amongst the reviews I read as to how this ranks as a sequel. Some have it a step behind the second film (Sister Street Fighter: Hanging by a Thread), while others have it as the best of the three follow ups. Regardless, its still looked at as cheesy fun and doesn’t clearly overflow with praise.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Not sure. Toei Tokyo (producer of all of the Street Fighters, regular and Sister alike) released it in Japan in 1975 and that’s pretty much that. No box office or budget is known and there is no American theatrical release to speak of.

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

Copyright 2008 The Action Mutant.

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