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"When you beat a man, they call you tough. When you beat an army they call you... The Street Fighter!"—Tagline from the trailer
The Streetfighter 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 Streetfighter, consisting of four films starring Etsuko Shihomi (credited on English prints as Sue Shiomi).
All installments (and the first Sister Streetfighter 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 Streetfighter 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: Type V. 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. He's more of a Type IV in The Streetfighter's Last Revenge.
- 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.
- Bittersweet Ending: While the Big Bad in each entry in the Sister Streetfighter series is ultimately defeated, Return of the Sister Streetfighter is the only one that isn't a Downer Ending, as at least Tina doesn't lose Rika like they lost Shurei.
- Bolivian Army Ending:
- The Streetfighter ends with Terry gravely injured and stumbling to his feet, leaving it ambiguous as to whether he'd survive his injuries.
- Sister Streetfighter: Fifth Level Fist ends with an ambulance showing up for Takagi after he had been grievously wounded against the Big Bad.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Inubashiri, did you really think leaving Tina to the sharks was honestly going to stop her?
- Bowdlerise: Sister Streetfighter and The Streetfighter's Last Revenge, both edited for violence, cutting out Kunigami getting his heart ripped out, and Owada's demise. Sister Street Fighter misses, Chiba 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 Inubashiri and Chiba was shortenend, Mansei being hit in the chest with arrow and falling on the ground, close up of Mansei's bloody body and face, one fighter getting skewered on a spike trap, Koryu kicking one fighter in the face causing him to spit blood, the guy with the sai in the head slumping to the floor, Chiba killing one fighter by stepping on his chest hard causing his bones to crack, Chiba kicking and punching a opponent causing him to spit blood, The ending of the fight between Koryu and the Nunchaku fighter and parts of Emi fighting with another fighter, Inubashiri (or Hammerhead) falling down after having his face smashed into a mirror by Chiba, 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 Koryu turns one gangster's head 180 degress and then makes him walk down stairs his head turned backwards. The Streetfighter's Last Revenge also misses out on some dialogue, and compeletly 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.
- Break the Haughty: Terry finally loses a match in The Streetfighter's Last Revenge. His opponent? Kunigami.
- Closing Credits: Return of the Streetfighter is the only film in the trilogy to have these.
- The Danza: Emi Hayakawa in Sister Streetfighter.
- Dead Star Walking: Sue Shiomi in The Streetfighter's Last Revenge. To wit: her character is a morally upright investigator and pays dearly for it. The fact that she was a woman probably didn't help matters.
- Disney Death: Go Kurosaki.
- Downer Ending: The first two Sister Streetfighter movies end with the Living MacGuffin of each film dead, Tina having busted the Big Bad's operations too late to save him/her.
- 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.
- In the first movie, both Kowloon Dinsau and Tatei Shinkenbaru exhibit this trait, both only want a fair match against Terry. In fact when the western gangsters try to shoot Terry during a fight, Kowloon proceeds to violently kill both of them for using dirty tricks. Also Kowloon, tells Terry he can go away with the girl if he wins fairly, instead of the other gangsters who simply will kill Terry and take the girl anyway.
- In the third movie, the gang led by Owada, may be dirty and evil, but Kunigami and Aya seem like the worse.
- Eye Scream: Happens all the time throughout the series
- The most tragic example is Pin Boke.
- For the most infamous example, see Special Effects Failure further down the page.
- Where do we even start with Sister Streetfighter 2: Hanging by a Thread?
- Femme Fatale: Aya Owada.
- 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.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Done in The Streetfighter's Last Revenge to conceal the burning of Mr. Black.
- Gratuitous English: From The Streetfighter's Last Revenge: "Hey, Black... come on." Overdubbed to make Terry sound more taunting in the English dub.
- Groin Attack: In the first movie, 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:
- Terry starts the first film as a Villain Protagonist, breaking a condemned man out of prison and then brutalizing the man's family. He makes the turn when his next clients turn out to be the Yakuza, whom he hates. He decides to protect their victim for no charge rather than help them.
- Kurosaki also makes the turn in Return of the Sister Streetfighter.
- Jive Turkey: The black rapist from the first film has an element of this in his limited dialogue. Pin Boke from Return of the Streetfighter also has elements, using such terms as "bread" and "Jackson," at least in the dub.
- Kick the Dog:
- How Terry deals with 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.
- The villains of Return of the Sister Streetfighter love to do this to Shurei and her relatives.
- Kill It with Fire: In The Streetfighter's Last Revenge, Terry kills Frankie Black by pushing him into an oven and turning on the gas 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 realizes that the guy he attacked was a decoy, 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.
- Lighter and Softer:
- Sister Streetfighter is not nearly as over the top violent, and the character is not the complete a-hole Terry Tsurugi was. Doesn't mean the uncut version wasn't rated X for violence like the main series was, though, and even The Streetfighter's Last Revenge lost less footage for its English-language release than this one did.
- The Streetfighter's Last Revenge is the most light-hearted of the main trilogy, but like Sister Streetfighter is 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: In The Streetfighter's Last Revenge. This works as well as you would think it does...
- Moral Event Horizon: The villains of Return of the Sister Streetfighter cross it by kidnapping Rika (Shurei's daughter) and using her as live bait with which to ensnare Tina Long. Ebikura proves himself even more sadistic when he leaves Kurosaki for dead and tries to take Tina and Rika down in the process, and the Big Bad crosses it by killing Shurei, who protected Rika from a trio of bullets he had fired at them.
- Frankie Black from The Streetfighter's Last Revenge gets his MEH when he kills Huo Feng in cold blood during an ambush.
- No Export for You: The uncut version of The Streetfighter's Last Revenge; while it is in the public domain, nobody's bothered to release it uncut yet.
- Obfuscating Disability: The Big Bad of Return of the Sister Streetfighter.
- Precision F-Strike: In The Streetfighter's Last Revenge, after Terry gets paid by the Yakuza in newspapers for delivering a tape to them and he lashes out at them:
Terry: Drop the guns, or I'll tear his fucking head off!
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "You tell that bitch who sent you here how sorry I am I can no longer be her friend."
- Provoke Me Taunt: "Hey, Black... come on."
- Redemption Equals Death: Ratnose in the first film. Subverted by Kurosaki in Return of the Sister Streetfighter (he was faking the dead in preparation for ambushing the Big Bad, who had killed his father).
- Special Effects Failure: In Return of the Streetfighter, Terry hits a mook in the back of the head, knocking his eyes out. The effect is shown using a pair of googly eyes. Horrifying the first time, hilarious everytime after.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Lee'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.
- Take That: Listen carefully when the guards take Terry to visit Junjo in his prison cell at the start of the first film, and you'll notice the English dub contains a snipe at the Bruce Lee clone phenomenon: "He thinks he's Bruce Lee."
- Tempting Fate: Aya in The Streetfighter's Last Revenge:
Aya: I don't want to die! I'll survive with the money!
- Traitor Shot: Kurosaki gets one in Return of the Sister Streetfighter as the Big Bad kills Reika.
- Vasquez Always Dies: Pin Boke in Return of the Streetfighter and Huo Feng in The Streetfighter's Last Revenge.
- What an Idiot!: By the time we reach Return of the Sister Streetfighter, you'd think Tina would've learned to never again trust calls that claimed something important about her mission. For all she knew by that point, the Big Bad of each film could have sent either The Dragon or a Mook to ambush her after coercing someone close to her into divulging the Red Herring against his/her will via phone.
- Who Wears Short Shorts?: Tina Long on poster art for Sister Streetfighter 2: Hanging by a Thread (she wears the same outfit, only with full pants instead of shorts, in the film proper).
- 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.
- You Killed My Father: Kurosaki's father was killed by the Big Bad of Return of the Sister Streetfighter.