Bullet Points: The Streetfighter
If you are an action fan and you haven’t heard of either Sonny Chiba or The Streetfighter then brace yourself for a rude awakening. Quentin Tarantino is pretty much obsessed with both and you can see it all over his film career. True Romance, which is one of my favorite Taranatino jams, has Christian Slater going to a triple feature of Chiba films; The Streetfighter, Return of Streetfighter, and Sister Streetfighter. Slater even goes so far as describe him as “bar none, the greatest actor working in martial arts today.” Now, this installment of Bullet Points won’t cover the later two films but prepare to have your mind blown with Chiba awesomeness from The Streetfighter!
The Gist: Terry Tsurugi (Sonny Chiba) is a master of the fighting arts who will do any job if the money is right. Whether it is breaking out a convicted murderer from prison, or assassinating someone, Terry will accomplish the mission or die trying. But when he is asked to kidnap the daughter of a recently deceased oil mogul, Terry is denied what he feels is a reasonable amount and the Yakuza try to off Terry. That is when the metaphorical shit hits the fan. Now, feeling slighted, Terry decides to protect the young heiress and comes face to face with not only the Yakuza but also the same convicted killer that he had rescued from execution.
Chiba isn’t your typical Bruce Lee knock-off from the early 70’s. There is nothing artistic about the way he f**ks people up.
The Cast: Sonny Chiba owns this role as the ultimate anti-hero. You know he’s an anti-hero cause nothing he does is “good” but we still root for him. He kicks so much ass in this movie that it’s easy to forget the times when he sexually assaults women and abuses virtually everyone on screen. I loved every second of it! The tagline for the movie is “If you’ve got to fight – fight dirty!” What is not to love about that? I don’t have much to say about anyone else in the cast. Terry has a weird man-servant named Ratnose for some reason and there are a couple of girls that Terry forcibly makes out with. There is a distinct difference between Chiba and every other character in this film: no one else rips a man’s throat out with their bare hands.
The Villain: I’m very close to saying that Terry Tsurugi is also the villain in this but I’ll refrain. He does just enough to get on the side of the good so that would mean that everyone who is trying to kill him is bad. That would mean that my favorite, the Yakuza, fill that role. They really aren’t very menacing in this one since Terry pretty much kicks the shit out of all of them but it’s still fun to hear the name in 1974 cinema. Junjo is the name of the man that Terry saves at the beginning. Unfortunately for him, this brother and sister weren’t able to pay Terry for a job well done and little brother ended up drop-kicking himself out of a high-rise window. Tsurugi, not being the kind that “fucks around”, straight-up sells her into prostitution to pay off her debt. Cold Blooded! So when we next meet Junjo he is pretty pissed at Terry and we’re given the perfect set-up to a bloody finale on board a ship.
There’s nothing better than a showdown in the rain.
The Action: There were definitely moments where I thought I was watching some sort of knock off to the infamous Streetfighter starring Sonny Chiba. Sometimes it looks like Chiba has no idea how to move, let alone fight. But I guess that was the method to his madness cause as soon as I doubted him he started poking dude’s eyes out and ripping out their throats. The fight scenes may not appeal to some that have seen nothing other than Jet Li and Jackie Chan movies cause Chiba doesn’t waste much time being graceful, he prefers to use his time RIPPING OFF A MANS DICK AND BALLS! That happened. The final fight scene when Terry makes it to the ship is pretty absurd, in a good way. He stomps on guys faces and ruins more bones than osteoporosis. We’re left with a final showdown in the pouring rain. Very cool.
That’s a guys junk wrapped up in his undies. Afterward, Tsurugi wipes the blood on the guys pants. Insult added to genital injury.
Take it Home:
- Favorite quote: “I hate punks worse than anything….” Let that be a lesson to you kids.
- Gender Equality: Although he does force himself onto a couple of women, Terry has no problem punching or killing the ladies.
- Keeping fit: Terry has a pretty sweet workout area in his crib. He uses it to stay in shape when he’s not brutally murdering people with his bare hands.
- References: The blind swordsman is an obvious reference to Zatoichi who is like the Japanese version of Robin Hood in that he has had like 3,000 movies made about him.
- I wrote this line when I was drunk: Terry Tsurugi is a martial arts master who uses his skills to pay the bills.