“If you’ve got to fight, fight dirty” so goes the tagline for The Streetfighter, and let me say nobody fights dirtier than Terry Tsurgi played by the great Sonny Chiba. The plot of the movie is twofold. One plot begins when Terry is asked to save a martial arts master named Junjo from the hangman’s noose. Terry does so and relocates Junjo where the authorities cannot find him. When it comes to payment from Junjo’s brother and sister, Terry is told that they don’t have the rest of the money to pay him. So what does Terry do? Does he tell them “hey don’t worry, happy to help”? Does he hell! Terry throws the brother from his apartment window, killing him and selling the girl into prostitution to recoup loss of earnings.
Yes people, and Terry’s the ‘hero’ of the movie. The other plot strand involves Terry being asked by the Yakuza to kidnap the daughter of a recently deceased business magnate. Said businessman has died and left billions to his daughter which the Yakuza want for themselves. So they hire Terry. When the Yakuza fail to give into Terry’s demands of payment Terry declines to help them. Fearing exposure the Yakuza hire goons to kill Terry. Naturally this goes south for the Yakuza. Terry cuts a bloody swathe through the Yakuza, ripping throats out; gouging eyes out and ripping a guy’s nuts clean off. Yes. Terry climbs through a window to stop a would be rapist, grabs his balls and pulls them clean off in one tug. Brutal but awesome too! That’s the sort of movie this is. It’s all you’d need to say too if you wanted to sell this movie to me.
If I asked “What’s this Streetfighter flick like then?” All you’d need to say is “oh Sonny Chiba kicking ass and ripping a guy’s bollox off”…SOLD. Anyway going slightly off track. Terry learns that the Yakuza are after him so joins up with those people trying to protect the businessman’s daughter, including her uncle who happens to be a master of Karate and someone Terry locks horns with before they learn to respect each other. While all of this is going on Junjo learns of his sibling’s death and of the other one being sold into prostitution so vows to hunt down and kill Terry leading to a brutal and bloody face off on a boat.
The fighting in this movie is crazy. Sonny Chiba as Terry doesn’t have the style or grace of say Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, he has a style all of his own. His stance looks like someone who has learned martial arts from a book. He contorts his body into strange positions. But make no mistake about it, when he starts fighting he comes into his own. The speed and power in which he strikes will leave you in no doubt as to how good he is. If you have never seen this movie then I urge you to watch it. There is a reason why Quentin Tarantino bangs on so much about Sonny Chiba, going so far as to show clips of his movies in True Romance and casting him in Kill Bill. Once you see this movie you’ll know why. Enjoy!