The Street Fighter

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The Street Fighter
Gekitotsu-satsujin-ken-japanese-movie-poster-md.jpg
Japanese theatrical poster
Directed byShigehiro Ozawa
Written byKōji Takada
Motohiro Torii
StarringSonny Chiba
CinematographyKen Tsukakoshi
Edited byKozo Horiike
Music byToshiaki Tsushima
Distributed byToei Company
Release date
February 2, 1974
Running time
91 minutes
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese

The Street Fighter (Japanese: ザ • ストリート • ファイター, Hepburn: Za Sutorīto Faitā) is a 1974 Japanese martial arts film produced by Toei Company Ltd., originally released in Japan as Gekitotsu! Satsujin ken (激突! 殺人拳, Clash! Killer Fist). It was released in the US by New Line Cinema and became one of the first films to be a commercial success for the distributor.[1][2] It is notable as the first film to receive an X-rating in the United States solely for violence. In the UK it was originally released as Kung Fu Streetfighter (カンフー・ストリートファイター, Kanfū Sutorītofaitā), presumably to avoid confusion with the Charles Bronson movie Hard Times which was initially released as The Streetfighter in the UK.

The Street Fighter inspired two sequels, Return of the Street Fighter and The Street Fighter's Last Revenge. Additionally, the film Sister Street Fighter and its sequels is a spin-off series of The Street Fighter. There was another spin-off entitled Kozure Satsujin Ken, which was brought to the US by a different company under the title Karate Warriors. None of the spin-offs have any of the same characters from The Street Fighter films.

The video game The Darkness has the entire film available to watch on any of the in-game TVs.

Plot[edit]

The film begins as Takuma Tsurugi (renamed Terry in the English dub) meets the condemned murderer Tateki Shikenbaru (renamed Junjo in the English dub) while disguised as a Buddhist monk. Tsurugi applies his "oxygen coma punch" to Shikenbaru, causing him to collapse just before he can be executed. As Shikenbaru is rushed to a hospital, Tsurugi and his sidekick Rakuda (renamed Ratnose in the English dub) ambush the ambulance and free him. As Tsurugi and Rakuda watch the incident on the news, Shikenbaru's brother Gijun and sister Nachi arrive and plead for more time to pay for Tsurugi's help. Outraged, Tsurugi refuses and attacks the siblings. Gijun accidentally kills himself when Tsurugi dodges his flying kick, causing him to go out of a window, and Nachi is sold into sexual slavery through Renzo Mutaguchi.

Mutaguchi and his associates attempt to hire Tsurugi to kidnap Sarai, the daughter of a recently deceased oil tycoon. Tsurugi refuses after discovering that the gangsters are Yakuza. He escapes, but the Yakuza gangsters resolve to kill Tsurugi as well as kidnap Sarai. Tsurugi immediately seeks out Sarai, who is being protected at the Nippon Seibukan dojo by her uncle, Kendō Masaoka, a Karate master. Tsurugi captures Sarai and challenges the entire dojo to a fight. He brutalizes the rank-and-file students before Masaoka fights him to a standstill—then recognizes him as the half-Chinese son of a karate master he knew long ago. Ultimately, Tsurugi offers to protect Sarai, and Masaoka agrees, against Sarai's protests. Meanwhile, the Yakuza's allies in Hong Kong, led by Kowloon boss Dinsau, recruit Shikenbaru to avenge his siblings by killing Tsurugi.

The gangsters make several attempts to kill Tsurugi before they successfully kidnap Sarai. Tsurugi manages to rescue her, but gets captured himself. Rakuda gives up Sarai's location to save Tsurugi, causing Tsurugi to forsake him. When Tsurugi struggles fighting with a blind samurai working for the Hong Kong gangsters, Rakuda dies by his sword in a reckless attempt at redemption. Tsurugi finally tracks the gangsters down to a shipyard and fights his way through their guards. In the end, Dinsau permits Tsurugi to duel Shikenbaru. Nachi sacrifices herself to give her brother a free shot with a sai, but Tsurugi survives and rips out Shikenbaru's vocal cords. Critically wounded, Tsurugi is helped to his feet by Sarai and Dinsau in the final shot of the film.

Cast[edit]

Note: English-translated names, if given or known, will be in parentheses.

US releases[edit]

The Street Fighter was the first film to receive an X rating solely for violence.[3][4] The film was especially controversial because of a scene in which Tsurugi castrates the rapist Bondo with his bare hands; it is this scene (among others) that reputedly gained the film its 'X' rating. A similarly violent scene involves Tsurugi delivering a powerful punch to an henchman's head, followed by a cut to an x-ray shot of the skull being completely shattered and blood gushing from the man's mouth. 16 minutes were later edited from the film in order to get an R-rating.[5] This was the version initially released on home video by MGM/CBS Home Video in 1980. Since then, the film was re-released in its entirety. Consequently, the English dub of the uncut version suffers from inconsistencies to the soundtrack quality, as the restored footage was dubbed by a different studio using different voice actors.

In the English dubbed versions of The Street Fighter and Return of The Street Fighter, Chiba's character is identified as "Terry Sugury" in the credits but dubbed by the voice actors as "Terry Tsurugi". In The Street Fighter's Last Revenge, however, the voice actors call him "Terry Sugury." Rakuda is named "Ratnose"; The villain Tateki's name is also mistranslated as Junjō.

On November 7, 2018, it was announced that Shout! Factory has acquired the license of all three films in the series for a Blu-ray release on February 19, 2019 via their Shout! Selects line.[6] It contains the dub, and original Japanese audio.[7] For the first time, the uncut original English version was made available, but without the newer audio recordings.

Influence[edit]

The Street Fighter introduced x-ray vision fatality finishing moves. It was initially seen as a gimmick to distinguish it from other martial arts films, before it went on to influence the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games.[8]

In 1993, the film (and its sequels) received mainstream exposure in North America when they were featured in Tony Scott's True Romance (written by Quentin Tarantino), which had the two lead characters spending time at a Sonny Chiba Street Fighter marathon.[9][10]

Quentin Tarantino listed The Street Fighter as number 13 on his top 20 grindhouse films list.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Line Cinema". Newline.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
  2. ^ Liebenson, Donald (1996-02-09). "Sonny Chiba's 'Street Fighter' Unleashed". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
  3. ^ "The 10 Faces of Sonny Chiba (10 Movies)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  4. ^ Kehr, Dave (2003-10-30). "At the movies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
  5. ^ Liebenson, Donald (1996-01-28). "PRIVATE LIVES: HOME ENTERTAINMENT, FAMILY ACTIVITIES; VIDEO; 'The Street Fighter' Scratches a Niche; Japanese action star Sonny Chiba is coming to America, and he's bringing blood and gore with him". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
  6. ^ "The Street Fighter Blu-ray Collection". blu-ray.com. November 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  7. ^ "The Street Fighter Collection + Exclusive Poster". Shout! Factory Store. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  8. ^ Stone, Sam (14 April 2020). "Mortal Kombat Legends' Jeremy Adams Explains How Scorpion's Revenge Adapts the Game". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Tarantino for dummies". Sydney Morning Herald. 2004-04-17. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
  10. ^ Kehr, Dave (2004-04-11). "FILM; Charting the Tarantino Universe". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  11. ^ "Quentin Tarantino's Top 20 Grindhouse Classics - The Grindhouse Cinema Database". Grindhousedatabase.com. Retrieved 11 October 2017.

External links[edit]