Sister Street Fighter (Review)

Sister Street Fighter

aka Onna hissatsu ken

Etsuko Shiomi (Sue Shiomi) as Tina Long (Sister Street Fighter)
Sonny Chiba as The Street Fighter
Hiroshi Miyauchi as Lee Long
Emi Hayakawa as Emi Kawasaki (I Think)
Eva Parrish as Eva Parrish, Karate Champion of Australia

This is the third Street Fighter Movie, and Sonny Chiba returns, if but briefly, and not as The same character. The movie is really an Estuko “Sue” Shiomi showcase, and she deserves it, as Sister Street Fighter kicks the butt of anyone who stands in her way. Besides her popping up in most of the other Street Fighter movies as various other characters, this movie is supposed to have spawned a few sequels of it’s own featuring Sue Shiomi’s character, Tina Long. Or at least they are just other films that were labeled as sequels to this when released in America, I’m still tracking some down before I can find out. This is a very enjoyable romp, the action is continuous, the plot is as good as you can expect from a revenge flick, especially female revenge. Rescuing your brother also plays well, it beats the often used “wronged woman” cliché. The only downfalls are little Sonny Chiba screentime, and many of the villains are more cartoonish than Skeletor. Plenty of Sue Shiomi beating the crap out of dozens of men more than makes up for it, as does the random nudity thrown in by the supporting female characters.

If you’ve ever had doubts about what decade a movie was made, you will never have them about this film. From frame one until the closing credits, this movie screams the Seventies. Kaleidoscope effects on Sue Shiomi practicing her moves as hep-cat music blares can signal no other decade. There is more 70’s per frame than a photomat in a disco. Sue Shiomi is Tina Long, the Sister Street Fighter (or SSF), and her brother Lee Long is a Martial Arts Champion, Undercover Police Officer, and missing. The last item is why she is meeting with the Hong Kong Police Department, and they tell her that her brother was infiltrating a dangerous drug ring when he vanished, as did the woman he was working with. Tina Long agrees to help the HK police, and heads to Yokohama to begin.

In Yokohama she steps into a club, and is immediately hit on by the guys inside. She stabs flies with skewers, and tosses the flies into the men’s mouths. She follows this by beating them senseless, and is joined by two friends in the beat down, who she eats with later. The lesson to be learned here is don’t mess with Tina Long. The two friends and their father are assisting her in her search for her brother.

Tina Long heads to a nightclub to meet her contact, Fanny. The club is a hip seventies place complete with topless dancers. Tina’s contact has been found out, and is being beaten in the alley until Tina saves her, showing of Sue Shiomi’s moves in entertaining ways, scaling buildings and tossing men. The thugs that like to beat helpless women in alleys try to run, but they are stopped by…SONNY CHIBA! Sonny beats them even further and saves the contact, taking her with him back to the Shorinji school.

At the Shorinji school, where Tina Long and her brother learned their moves, a rival to the school is there to threaten to destroy the school. The rival’s name is either Hammerhet or Hammerhead. This review will call him the latter. At Shorinji school, students wear swastikas (the non-Nazi kind) and do karate. Tina goes to visit to talk to the sensei, who has finished dressing down Hammerhead. Tina gets some information about her brother from the sensei, and the school agrees to help her on her quest. The sensei introduces her to Emi Kawasaki, another female student about her age. Sonny Chiba is also there, teaching students as his Streetfighter Character. Tina talks to him about the contact Fanny, and is told where she is hidden at. Tina talks to Fanny at Chiba’s hideout, at a ballet studio.

Fanny explains what happened to Lee Long, that she was sleeping with the gang boss to distract him while Lee snuck around, but the boss was aware of what was happening, and sent goons to fight Lee, including some guy with red clothes and nunchakus. Lee is captured, but Fanny is unaware where he is being held. Fanny is also addicted to heroin thanks to the gang boss, and is currently undergoing withdrawal. Downstairs, goons in black masks invade the ballet, and they are chastised by the ballet mistress for wearing shoes on the dance floor. A fight starts, complete with title cards explaining the ballet mistress’s technique. Tina arrives to help. Men are beaten, heads are cracked. All of this is a distraction, as Fanny is killed upstairs by a Tettosu blowgun wielding man dressed like an Aztec High Priest. The title card says Tettosu, yet Google is unaware of any Tettosu. Nor does it explain the sinister team up of the Aztecs and the Yakuza, which can only spell trouble, with the bright side of us having an accurate calendar.

Emi now helps Tina, she was one of Lee’s students as well as Sonny’s. Tina will need all the help she can get, as we cut to the Gang Boss is watching his army of goons practice. Chosen from all over the world, they combine into the greatest force ever assembled. Or the greatest force ever wandering around Yokohama the week filming happened. Or something. We have Tessin, the sickle user; Neray, who uses ancient Chinese Martial arts; Eva Parrish, Karate Champion of Australia; Amazons 7, seven girls dressed like Fred Flintstone with hairy armpits that do Thai kickboxing; and Hachigen Ma, Japanese cudgel ploy (no clue here what that means besides cudgel). Obviously this team is destined to win, the Karate Champion of Australia is working for them. She’ll kick your butt and then shove a boomerang down your throat. Hammerhead and some more black masked goons arrive, and are given orders to kill Tina by the gang boss. Hammerhead gets insulted by some of Gang Boss’s remarks, and challenges him to a fight. A few flips from the gang boss later and Hammerhead realizes the boss is martial arts skilled as well as a leader, so he backs down and swears loyalty. The Gang Boss is injecting Lee Long with heroin and adding other drugs, and will continue to do so until Lee dies. Tina arrives at the gang boss’s compound at this time to scout around.

Look out, Tina! Hammerhead and some goons are coming to get you! Too late, they’ve attacked! At some point the fighting is no longer at the compound but is on seaside rocks above the ocean. Tina and Hammerhead duel in a long, brutal fight. Hammerhead taunts her by telling her Lee is alive but is a vegetable. Then he knocks her off the rope bridge they’ve suddenly appeared in the middle of and her mannequin double falls into the sea.

Hammerhead is rewarded and the Gang Boss tells him how he smuggles heroin in wigs. The old man who is the father of Tina’s friends arrives at the Gang Boss’s house trying to see Lee, but he is beaten instead. Later, Emi takes out a henchman of her own and discovers the wigs are heroin coated. A dark-skinned henchman is going to shoot her, but suddenly a van full of heroin wigs is on fire. Tina has set it ablaze, having not died, and is even more determined to defeat the drug pushers! No mere mortal could kill Sue Shiomi! The dark-skinned henchman is convinced she cannot be killed and runs off. Hammerhead vows to hunt her down and destroy her. Hammerhead goes to the Shorinji school and demands to know the location of Tina and Emi. The Sonny Chiba has grown tired of Hammerhead’s antics and fights him, and even with Hammerhead cheating by using some sort of knuckle/knife thing he cannot defeat The Man Who is The Streetfighter. Hammerhead and his black-hooded goons run off. Hammerhead is pretty ineffective.

The useless old man who is the father to Tina’s friends returns again, only to be demanded by the gang boss to lure Tina into a trap. He refuses, but is then forced to watch his daughter raped by a fat Elvis looking Yakuza (complete with “special” child laughter the whole while) until he relents. Let’s stop here and say how completely counterproductive the old man is. He practically gives away he is working for Tina by showing up at the gang boss’s house demanding to see Lee. There are also hints that he works for the Gang Boss in some capacity but it is not elaborated on. So he’s a traitor as well. Whatever the case, this man is useless except to provide information for the other side that they probably would have been able to get anyways. Luckily, Tina is practically invincible, so the old man’s actions have little consequence unless you are his daughter, but his failure to protect her is another sign of his failings.

The old man leads her to some abandoned building, where she must fight Hachigen Ma in an ambush. Hachigen Ma gets killed, but is followed by a guy in black who, thanks to bad dubbing and bad mustache, sounds like Charles Bronson. Asian Bronson soon gets his Deathwish in a fight up a flight of stairs. Red Nunchukus Guy, who helped capture Lee Long, then appears next. The bad guys are following the “attack one at a time instead of teaming up like we should” school of attack. Tina smacks him then runs off, as he gives chase. Back at the gym, the old man tells Emi and his son what he did, but he is then killed by Dart Guy. The Amazons 7 then attack, as Fred Flintstone costumes and hairy armpits fly in a fit of fury. The Amazon 7 have added masks that make their costumes look even more cartoonish. What’s next? Crazed George Jettsons? Rabid Huckleberry Hounds? Hannah-Barbera should sue! Tina returns just in time to send those women back to the Stone Age. Old guy is somehow still alive and manages to tell Tina where he brother is before he dies. WHEN did he find this out? And why didn’t he tell anyone as soon as he returned? Old guy is the most useless person I’ve seen in the movies in months. He’s more useless than the random policemen who guard important patients in the hospital in action movies. You know, the ones that always end up dead, along with the guy they are guarding? Old man must be one of them that somehow lucked out and made it to retirement. At least being dead he can’t ruin the good guys’ chances anymore. Good riddance!

The Gang Boss hires a former Preacher to kill Lee Long, as his army is running a little thin (though some of them from earlier never bother to reappear to fight on his side, such as the Australian Lady) but since Lee Long is in the basement, you’d think gang boss could just go downstairs and kill him himself. Tina has snuck into gang boss’s compound during all this, and finally finds her drug-addicted brother. She beats up the guys taking him to the Preacher to be killed, and they are reunited. The reunion is short-lived, as Preacher shows up with his arrow gun, and he kills Lee. As if Tina didn’t have enough reason to take down gang boss’s empire. Preacher is too slow to kill Tina, and he soon gets a dose of his own medicine. Tina does manage to get captured by a trap door seconds later, and is hung upside down in the dungeon. Gang boss has her whipped by one of his female henches (one that I think was strutting her stuff in a bikini earlier in the flick). The rope she hangs on is then set afire, and below where she dangles are many sharp spikes. Tina flips out of danger at the last second, throws the hench wench into the knives, and runs.

Alarms blare as she makes a bid for freedom. Several easy kills later, a sai-wielding henchman with one eye gives her some trouble, before she ventilates his head. The next room contains around 100 men, and she is trapped, having delayed too long with sai-boy.

The dark-skinned henchman begins needle throwing at her as the others watch. He begins to get the upper hand, but in bursts Sonny, Emi, the old guy’s kids, and most of the students at the Shorinji school arrive to save the day. One of the worst dressed henchmen in movie history is in this big battle, complete with fishnet shirt, red pants, perm, makeup (this is a dude), and flair. Sonny tells the women they play too rough, as their place is in the home. Thanks, Sonny, this movie was almost free of that stuff! We wouldn’t want women thinking they were equal or anything. Japan’s rampant sexism strikes a dagger into the heart of this movie, telling women everywhere that no matter what, they’re still subservient.

The Gang Boss runs to get a gun, but is disarmed. Sonny kills Hammerhead, and the gang boss dons Wolverine Claws to fights Tina. Their fight leads outside, where they wind up on the same seaside rocks that she was at before with Hammerhead. This time gang boss is the one that goes flying into the sea, and he won’t be back from the dead. The movie ends like all these older movies do, immediately with zero resolution.

Rated 8/10 (Wax on…, Tettosu, One-eyed Guy, Fey Red Nunchukus, Eva Parrish – Karate Champion of Australia, Etsuko prepares to kick more butt, Is that Japanese Blackface?, Etsuko is cute.)

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