"You beat a man, they call you tough. You beat an army, they call you... The Street Fighter!"The Street Fighter
from the trailer for the first installment
is a martial arts movie series starring Shinichi (Sonny) Chiba
as Takuma Tsurugi (known as Terry in the USA), a mercenary who fights with his martial arts skills. There was a spinoff series called Sister Street Fighter
, consisting of four films starring Etsuko Shihomi (credited on English prints as Sue Shiomi
All installments (and the first Sister Street Fighter
movie) were released by New Line Cinema between 1974 and 1979. The first two were initially made available on home video by MGM/CBS Home Video
, and the other two were released on home video by Charles Band's Wizard Video in 1982 and 1983, respectively. All four were later released by New Line Home Video in 1996. Sister Street Fighter 2: Hanging by a Thread
finally made its US debut in 2008 on Blu-ray
as a double feature with the first film.
Should not be confused with the video game series Street Fighter
This film series contains examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Terry is a brutal and pitiless man. He's especially nasty in the beginning of the first film, where he sells a girl into slavery and kills her brother when they're not able to pay him for services rendered. He avoids Villain Protagonist territory by fighting against Yakuza, whom he despises, and working to protect the good guys, even though he does so for his own reasons.
- Anti-Villain: Junjo, who appears in the first two films, is a mesh of Type I and II; he wants a deathmatch against Terry for causing the deaths of his siblings, and still plays fair.
- Artistic License – Martial Arts: Some of the moves in the movie can occasionally look pretty outlandish and improbable. It's especially jarring compare to Sonny Chiba's more realistic movies and the fact that he created the JAC/JAE later to promote realistic fighting techniques in Japanese movies and television shows.
- Badass: Terry. Of course, this is where Sonny Chiba's legend of badassery starts.
- Berserk Button: If Terry finds out you're a Yakuza, you'd better watch out. He's been known to kill them and other gangsters; in fact, the only villains he doesn't kill directly are Lee Young (shot to death by Miss Yang), Ming (killed by Ratnose to save Terry at the cost of his own life), King Stone (run through by Dingsau for trying to shoot Terry in cold blood), Abdul Jadot (run through by Dingsau for King Stone's act of impatience), Dingsau (survives and does a Heel-Face Turn), Otaguro (shot to death by Don Costello), Seigan Owada (skull bashed in by Kunigami), and Aya Owada (blown up with a trap Terry had planted in her car, though to his credit he tried to sincerely warn her away from the car but she foolishly didn't listen).
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Terry is strong enough to castrate guys and grasp and remove Adam's apples with one hand.
- Chronically Killed Actor: Sue Shiomi is this for the main trilogy, being offed in both installments she appears in, and would be this for the whole franchise if not for the Sister Street Fighter films.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Any and all flashbacks as presented in the main trilogy.
- Double Standard: The female villains in the main trilogy get Gory Discretion Shots when they buy the farm, or else (in the case of Nachi) their deaths aren't quite as messy as those of the male villains.
- Eye Scream: Happens all the time throughout the series.
- Gorn: The series in general is known for very bloody martial arts fighting. Terry is not averse to gouging out eyes, snapping bones, and generally being fucking vicious to the bad guys that he deals with.
- Noble Demon: In spite of being a terrific asshole, Terry has a sense of honor. He'll risk his life to protect his friends, won't sell out those under his protection even under torture, and will fight against anything the Yakuza does without any benefit to himself.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Is it Terry Tsurugi or Terry Sugury?
- Would Hit a Girl: All over the series. Though to be fair, they were trying to kill him...
- Yakuza: The main villains of the main trilogy.
The Streetfighter contains examples of:
- Anti-Villain: Nachi Shikenbaru is a Type II with a bit of Type IV. She only wants Terry dead because he had the audacity to force her to prostitute herself as collateral for a previous caper earlier in the film, to say nothing of how he caused the death of her brother by defenestration. When Terry grabs her as she tries to butt into their final bout, she has Junjo run them both through. Unfortunately, Nachi is the only one who dies as a result.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Terry is this through and through, particularly early on.
Terry: You'd better give up. I'm a master, and you're going to lose this game.
- Bad Boss: Miss Yang. See You Have Failed Me below.
- Berserk Button: Terry has another one, as seen in this film: as Gijun and Nachi learned the hard way, he does not like welchers.
Terry: We had a deal. I don't like promises that aren't kept!
— What he says in the R-rated version; the line is moved to later in the same scene for the X-rated version, being replaced with...
Terry: I despise people who don't keep their promises!
— What he says in the X-rated version
- Dingsau really hates cheaters, as King Stone and Jadot learned the hard way.
Dingsau: You idiot, that's a dirty trick!
- Bolivian Army Ending: By the end of his deathmatch against Junjo, Terry is gravely injured and stumbling to his feet, leaving it ambiguous as to whether he'd survive his injuries.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Had King Stone not fired impatiently at Terry during the climactic deathmatch, the Yakuza likely would've won.
- Bowdlerise: Among others, in the R-rated version Terry's clash against Gijun is over a minute shorter, Terry does not knock Lee's teeth out or smear blood on his mouth, Junjo's brother is not seen lying dead on the pavement, Nachi is not shown being exploited by the pimps, and Miss Yang shoots Lee only once. Oh, and Terry doesn't castrate the black rapist with his bare hands.
- Destination Defenestration: Terry wins his match against Gijun by dodging him as the latter lunged toward him... too late to realize he was headed out the window, literally. Terry later stuns Junjo long enough to make a quick getaway by auto-defenestration (being careful to land in the trailer of a waiting pickup truck driven by Ratnose) so he can retrieve Sarai, who he had just learned was being taken to Mutaguchi's cottage.
- Dragon Lady: Miss Yang, Terry's employer, who betrays him early on.
- Gambit Roulette: Terry's caper at the start of the film relies on information generally not made available to the public, including the date and time of execution and which hospital Junjo's unconscious corpus was headed for.
- Gory Discretion Shot: In a film not afraid to explicitly show blood and gore at every opportunity, Miss Yang's demise is unique in that we only see Terry as he slays her (though he's seen crushing her hand at one point). It was still excised from the R-rated release, though.
- Gratuitous English: Jadot has two lines in English: "Yes, that's right" when he confesses to Sarai that he engineered the events of the movie from her father's death onward, and "Finish him off!" as Terry and Junjo engage in the deathmatch Junjo had longed for.
- Groin Attack: Terry deals with a would-be rapist by castrating him with his bare hands. This move, on top of all the other violence Terry does throughout the movie, earned the movie the American movie industry's first X rating for violence.
- Hazy Feel Turn:
- Dingsau. It's ambiguous as to whether or not aiding Terry is a good thing, but after he defeats Junjo, Kowloon is shown with Sarai helping him get back on his feet.
- Terry himself starts the film by being set up as a Villain Protagonist Spear Counterpart to Bruce Lee from Enter the Dragon, breaking a condemned man out of prison and then brutalizing the man's family when they fail to pay up. He makes the turn when his next clients turn out to be the Yakuza, whom he hates. He decides to protect their victim at no charge rather than help them.
Terry: I hate punks worse than anything, and I would love to see the mob destroyed!
- Jive Turkey: The black rapist from the first film has an element of this in his limited dialogue.
- Keep It Foreign: "NII-SAN!"
- Kick the Dog: How Terry deals with Nachi, the sister of the guy who couldn't afford to pay him after sending him out a window. Just in case we weren't aware that Terry is not a nice guy at all.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The guy who tries to rape Sarai is castrated by Terry Tsurugi in short order. Bonus points because the same pimp was among those trying to subdue Nachi after Terry sold her to them.
- Noble Demon: Kowloon Dingsau, though a bit too amoral to be an Anti-Villain, exhibits this trait with his Affably Evil character and devotion to playing by the rules. So when King Stone and Jadot tag Terry during a fight, Kowloon proceeds to turn on them. Also Kowloon tells Terry he can go away with the girl if he wins fairly, instead of the other gangsters who simply want to kill Terry and take the girl anyway.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: When Bayan reveals his true colors, his dialogue takes on a racist Yellow Peril tone.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "You tell that bitch who sent you here how sorry I am I can no longer be her friend." Doing just that turns out to be the last mistake Lee Young ever makes.
- Qipao: Miss Yang wears one in her first scene. For the rest of the movie, she's dressed in red and white English equestrian regalia.
- Redemption Equals Death: Ratnose.
- Spanner in the Works: Dingsau winds up becoming this when Mutaguchi gets him involved in the hunt for Terry.
- Take That: Listen carefully when the guards take Terry to visit Junjo in his prison cell at the start of the film, and you'll notice the English dub contains a snipe at the then-new Bruceploitation phenomenon: "He must think he's Bruce Lee."
- Too Dumb to Live: Both King Stone and Jadot. In their case, it's more of a case of Too Impatient To Live.
- Unusual Euphemism: "That's a load of sukiyaki!"
- You Have Failed Me: According to Miss Yang, if a Yakuza Mook fails to kill his target, he must die. Absolutely no exceptions. Not even yubitsume is acceptable as a penalty.
- You Killed My Father: Inverted; Jadot tells Sarai before the climax that he was responsible for her father's death earlier in the film.
Return of the Streetfighter contains examples of:
The Streetfighter's Last Revenge contains examples of:
- Badass Boast: During the variety show:
Frankie Black: I heard there are many people in Japan that can do this, but it's all nonsense! [...] If there's anyone that wants to challenge me, they're welcome! I'll expose their disguise!
- Bond Villain Stupidity: After tagging Terry, Aya makes the fatal mistake of trying to escape in a car that Terry had earlier rigged with a deadly trap. Terry even tries to desperately warn her that she's headed for death if she tries using that car.
- Bowdlerise: This film loses footage of Kunigami getting his heart ripped out, in addition to Owada's demise and some dialogue. It also completely changes the plot of the movie, from being about a tape containing incriminating evidence of a governmental official's corruption to a tape describing the way to make heroin, in addition to changing Huo Feng from an ex-Owada Mook to a Cowgirl Cop.
- Break the Haughty: Terry finally loses a match in this installment. His opponent? Kunigami.
- Call Back: Terry puts Kunigami in an oxygen coma to keep him from interfering in a private investigation of where he hid the tape; also, during the last part of the film, Aya wears the same costume worn by Nachi in the first film.
- The Chessmaster: Terry tries his hand at this at Aoidani Mortuary. In order to succeed at burning the first thug to try to get the money he had hidden in the furnace room, everything and everyone had to be in the right places: Terry inside one of the retorts, each casket in front of both retorts, one decoy near the shelf of urns, another decoy inside one of the caskets, and Frankie Black (or whoever happened to try to retrieve the money) had to go for the decoys Terry had planted. After Mr. Black attacked the first duct-taped decoy and punched a hole through the other decoy, Terry emerged from the retort in which he had hidden himself and said, "Hey, Black... come on." Terry then overpowered Mr. Black in the ensuing struggle and burned him to death.
- Cowgirl Cop: Huo Feng in the English dub.
- Dame Swears-A-Lot: Huo Feng becomes this in the English dub.
- Dead Star Walking: Sue Shiomi. To wit: her character (at least in the English dub) is a morally upright investigator (if a bit of a loose cannon) and pays dearly for it. The fact that she was a woman probably didn't help matters. This is also the second time she dies in the films.
- Even Evil Has Standards: While the gang led by Owada may be dirty and evil, Kunigami and Aya appear to be worse. Also, in the Japanese version, one of Owada's goons bails out after Mr. Black hops on board.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: How Aya is done in.
- Femme Fatale: Aya Owada.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Done to conceal the burning of Mr. Black.
- Gratuitous English: "Hey, Black... come on." Mr. Black himself basically speaks nothing but. There are other examples scattered throughout the film.
- Heel-Face Turn: Huo Feng bails on Owada after Mr. Black is hired in the Japanese version (she's a Cowgirl Cop in the English dub).
- Hero Antagonist/Inspector Zenigata: Huo Feng in the English dub. In the Japanese version, she's a Designated Villain who starts out with Owada's gang but then defects in her second scene.
- Impersonating an Officer: Shortly after being double-crossed by the Owada clan, Terry intercepts a group while disguised as a highway patrol officer. He directs them to pull over in a car crushing lot and then reveals himself. He then sends a lone assassin, Wolf, back to the Owada clan alive to tell the patriarch that he should fight Terry for the money he had stolen.
- Kill It with Fire: Terry kills Frankie Black by pushing him into an oven and firing up the burners at full power. Not a very dignified way to die, and yet another in a long list of reasons why you don't fuck with Terry Tsurugi.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Appropriately enough, the laser-wielding Frankie Black gets this in the end, but not via his laser weaponry. He and Aya are directed to retrieve the MacGuffin at Aoidani Mortuary; Mr. Black starts looking for Terry to try to ambush him, to the point where he impatiently attacks the first person he encounters, believing him to be Terry. As Mr. Black proceeds to attack another corpse that Terry had left in one of the caskets, in comes Terry from Behind the Black, taunting him: "Hey, Black... come on." The two fight in a deathmatch near a pair of twin retorts, and Terry gains the upper hand, burning Mr. Black to death to seal the deal.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Huo Feng charges toward Mr. Black and his goons and takes some of them down easily, but it soon becomes clear that she didn't think things through before charging in, and she pays for it with her life.
- Lighter and Softer: By far this is the most light-hearted of the main trilogy, but it's still rated X for violence in its uncut version. Here, Terry Sugury (yes, that's how his name is pronounced in the film) is more of a James Bond type than the ultra-violent mercenary he was in the first two films; however, he's still pretty ultra-violent, though not as much as in earlier films. Perhaps the most violent scene in the film is when Terry burns Frankie Black.
- Master of Disguise: This works as well as you would think it does...
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: The dub has this little gem:
Terry: Terry Sugury's my name, but some people call me the Street Fighter.
- Precision F-Strike: "Drop the guns, or I'll tear his fucking head off!"
- Provoke Me Taunt: "Hey, Black... come on."
- Race Lift: In the original, Frankie Black is a former member of the Chicago Mafia who happens to be dressed like a Mexican. In the English dub, he actually is Mexican (but oddly enough, he doesn't speak a word of Spanish during his screentime).
- Tempting Fate: "I don't want to die! I'll survive with the money!" That means don't turn your car on, Aya!
- Title Drop: "Terry Sugury's my name, but some people call me the Street Fighter."
- Vasquez Always Dies: Huo Feng.
- Vicious Anti-Hero: Terry has shades of it now.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Kimiko barely survived her run-in with Kunigami, but she doesn't make any further appearances in the film.
Sister Streetfighter contains examples of:
Sister Streetfighter: Hanging by a Thread contains examples of:
Return of the Sister Streetfighter contains examples of:
Sister Streetfighter: Fifth Level Fist contains examples of: