"You beat a man, they call you tough. You beat an army, they call you... The Street Fighter!"
— Tagline from the trailer for the first installment
The Street Fighter 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 firmly in Type I territory; all he wants is a fair deathmatch against Terry, even if he's sore about Terry causing the deaths of his siblings.
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).
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.
Even Evil Has Standards: 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.
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.
Anti-Villain: Nachi Shikenbaru is a Type II. 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 (ignoring that Terry merely dodged as Gijun lunged at him, though Terry did rough both of them up good). 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.
Kowloon Dingsau is a Type I; apart from Junjo (who was himself presumed dead until a surprise appearance in the second half of the next film), he's also the only villain to live to see the end of the film.
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.
Even Evil Has Standards: Both Kowloon Dingsau and Junjo Shinkenbaru exhibit this trait, as both only want a fair match against Terry. In fact, 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.
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.
Heel-Face Turn: Dingsau lets his code of honor get the better of him and kills King Stone and Jadot for trying to kill Terry during his deathmatch with Junjo. After Terry defeats Junjo, Dingsau is shown with Sarai helping a battered and bruised Terry get back on his feet.
Terry himself starts the film by being set up as a Villain ProtagonistSpear 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.
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.
Pet the Dog: Alone among those really nice people, Dingsau is a really nice person even for a villain. His moments more often than not revolve around Junjo, and when King Stone and Jadot try to kill Terry during the climactic deathmatch, he does a Heel-Face Turn and kills both for trying to interfere with the deathmatch via dirty tricks.
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.
Country Matters: Kitty has this to say about Gentoku Ryo as Terry drives to perform the second half of the hit he was assigned in the opening scene after silencing Ryo.
Kitty: This cunt's had it, eh?
Double Agent: Kitty is a triple agent; she reveals to Terry after he regains consciousness that she's a mobster herself, but she's always willing to relay any information about the Mafia's evildoing to Terry. Don Costello makes her pay dearly for it just before the climax.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Happens to Otaguro, Ken Mao, and Gorasing. At least Yamagami tried to fight Don Costello's assassins in his last moments.
Every Car Is a Pinto: What did you expect would happen if you fought on a truck delivering Mobil gasoline?
Handicapped Badass: Did Don Costello's men honestly think an injured arm would stop Masaoka?
Heel Face Door Slam: When Masaoka reveals to Otaguro that the jig is up regarding the Asian Martial Arts Center scam, he also decides out of the goodness of his heart to give Otaguro one last shot at redemption. Unfortunately, Don Costello offs Otaguro before he can take it or leave it.
Heel Realization: Terry is gravely offended when the person he'd been working for during the first half, Otaguro, puts a contract out on Masaoka. He proceeds to basically say "I quit!" to Otaguro's face.
Jive Turkey: Kitty has elements of this, using such terms as "bread" and "Jackson," at least in the dub.
Keep It Foreign: The flashback depicting Nachi's death. Given that it's an extended version of the climax of the previous film (complete with much of the violence being restored) as depicted in its English dub, this is justified.
Kick the Dog: Don Costello shoots Otaguro for failing him; bonus points because he then warns Otaguro's Mooks to "get away from the yellow-skinned dog".
Laser-Guided Karma: Don Costello, who had Kitty blinded, himself loses an eye to Terry shortly afterwards.
Pet the Dog: Not even the revelation of Kitty's connection to the Mafia can change Terry's attitude toward her, and when she's killed Terry moves her body away from the ensuing carnage between him and the rest of the Mafia.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Actor Allusion: One guy at a bar tells Tina early on, "Let me show you a good time." Too bad for him Sue Shiomi had heard that song before when a pimp accosted her character in the original installment of The Streetfighter. This time around, it's the Shiomi character who gains the upper hand.
Bond Villain Stupidity: Hammerhead, did you really think leaving Tina to the sharks was honestly going to stop her?
Bowdlerise: This film loses Sonny Hibachi ripping a fat guy's guts out of his chest, one fighter pulling a blade out of his eye, a shot of the martial arts school sign, the fight between Hammerhead and Sonny was shortenend, Lee being hit in the chest with arrow and falling on the ground, close up of Lee's bloody body and face, one fighter getting skewered on a spike trap, Tina kicking one fighter in the face causing him to spit blood, the guy with the sai in the head slumping to the floor, Sonny killing one fighter by stepping on his chest hard causing his bones to crack, Sonny kicking and punching a opponent causing him to spit blood, The ending of the fight between Tina and the Nunchaku fighter and parts of Emmy fighting with another fighter, Hammerhead falling down after having his face smashed into a mirror by Sonny, showing his face with mirror shards in it and blood dribbling from his mouth the big bad standing up with his claw in his chest causing a geyser of blood to erupt out of his body, and Tina turns one gangster's head 180 degress and then makes him walk down stairs his head turned backwards.
Downer Ending: While the Big Bad's operation is ultimately thwarted, Lee Long dies when Tina tries to save him.
Lighter and Softer: This isn't nearly as over-the-top violent, and Tina Long is not the complete arsehole Terry Tsurugi was. Doesn't mean the uncut version wasn't rated X for violence like the main series was, though, and even The Street Fighter's Last Revenge lost less footage, be it ever so slightly, for its English-language release than this one did.
Minored In Ass Kicking: Sonny Hibachi's girlfriend, ballerina Shinobu Kojo, manages to hold off an entire army of Kaki's Mooks when they storm her studio to try to abduct Fanny Singer. She receives some assistance from Tina Long, who had visited to question Fanny about her brother Lee, who Fanny worked with before he went MIA. Indeed, when Kojo shows her badass side a subtitle shows her to be a master of the Ryukyu style of karate.
Stay in the Kitchen: Lee Long's initial attitude toward Tina. This changes by the time he dies, as he wishes Tina to avenge him for the horrible things the drug smugglers did to him.
Later in the film, Sonny has to save Kojo from a Mook that had tried to accost her during the climactic showdown, and he tells her off for foolishly rushing in like that. Interestingly, he's perfectly fine with Tina and Emmy running around and beating up bad guys, but then again, they don't teach dance class as their day job!
Sonny: A woman's place is in the home, I say.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Daring martial artist Tina Long and ballet teacher Shinobu Kojo. Illustrated quite perfectly when they double-team on a group of Kaki's Mooks when they storm Kojo's studio.
Villainous BSOD: Following his defeat at the hands of Sonny Hibachi, Hammerhead starts drinking himself to death and refuses to be disturbed by anyone. As Kaki himself puts it, "Hammerhead is indisposed at present." It only takes Sonny attacking him during the climax to break him out of his funk.
Sister Streetfighter: Hanging by a Thread contains examples of:
Bittersweet Ending: While the Big Bad in each entry in the Sister Street Fighter series is ultimately defeated, this is the only one that doesn't have an outright Downer Ending, as at least Tina doesn't lose Rika like they lost Shurei.
Bond Villain Stupidity: The Big Bad is known for this, to the point where at least one reviewer commented on the similarities between him and the typical Bond villain.
The Cameo: Jiro Chiba appears as Rika's uncle in the opening scene, which takes place during a funeral procession in Hong Kong, and is quickly knifed to death by the bad guys.