Sister Street Fighter


1h 31m 1975
Sister Street Fighter

Brief Synopsis

A female martial artist sets out to rescue her kidnapped brother.

Film Details

Genre
Action
Crime
Release Date
1975

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m

Synopsis

A female martial artist sets out to rescue her kidnapped brother.

Film Details

Genre
Action
Crime
Release Date
1975

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m

Articles

Sister Street Fighter


Shin'ichi 'Sonny' Chiba became a movie star in Japan in the 1960s, putting his martial arts skills (he earned his first Black Belt in karate in 1965) on display in gangster films and action thrillers, but he became an international star in 1974 with The Streetfighter, one of the first movies built specifically around his martial arts prowess. He also helped nurture a new generation of action performers with his Japan Action Club, a martial arts and movie stunt training school, including one of Japan's greatest female action stars.

Etsuko Shiomi was one of the first women in the Japan Action Club and Chiba supported her film career from the beginning. She debuted as a stunt double in the Chiba film Bodyguard Kiba (1973), made her official screen debut in a supporting role in the sequel Bodyguard Kiba 2 (1973) and co-starred in Chiba's international breakthrough The Streetfighter. Sister Street Fighter (1974) is not a sequel but a spin-off built around Shiomi as Li Koryu, the half-Japanese/half-Chinese daughter of a Hong Kong police captain. When her brother, an undercover agent infiltrating a Japanese drug cartel in Yokohama, goes missing, she goes in search of him.

Shiomi is, in the words of Asian genre film historian Thomas Weisser, "something of a rarity in Japan, a no-nonsense kick-boxing karate-chopping female action star," and Sister Street Fighter showcases her talents with plenty of action sequences. Chiba plays a suitably badass colleague of her brother from the martial arts school he attended and he jumps in for a few fights along the way but it is strictly a supporting role. The plot (which involves smuggling heroin in wigs and using captured enemies as guinea pigs for drug tests) is basically a structure on which to hang fight sequences. Shiomi's character may be an amateur agent but she's a fearsome fighter and she takes on the colorful minions of the criminal kingpin (who collects fighters the way others keep pets) in a series of impressive martial arts battles. In the finale, where she takes on the kingpin himself, he attacks with a pair of razor claws inspired by the finale of Enter the Dragon (1973), the Bruce Lee hit turned international phenomenon that was released just a year before.

Director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi came to the project as a specialist in female action movies, notably a handful of "Pinky Violence" films starring Reiko Oshida and the Wandering Ginza Butterfly films with Meiko Kaji. Where those films featured a down-and-dirty kind of fighting mixed with racy scenes, nudity and other exploitation elements, Sister Street Fighter features elaborately choreographed martial arts duels and Yamaguchi delivers impressive action. In addition to returning for the sequel, he went on to direct Chiba in a number of films, including the cult werewolf action film Wolf Guy (1975) and Karate Bullfighter (1977).

Sister Street Fighter spawned two direct sequels with Shiomi as Li Koryu and launched her on a successful career as an action star in movies and on TV, as well as a second career as a singer. She retired from show business in 1986 after appearing in Tora-san's Bluebird Fantasy (1986), the 37th film in the beloved Japanese comedy series.

Initially rated X for violence, the American distributor New Line (who also released the original The Streetfighter) cut six minutes of the most graphic imagery to secure an R rating when Sister Street Fighter was initially released to theaters in an English-dubbed version. Shiomi's name was westernized to read Sue Shiomi in the credits. The complete, uncut version and original Japanese language soundtrack (with English subtitles) has since been restored for American audiences.

Sources:
Japanese Cinema: Essential Handbook, Thomas Weisser and Yuko Mihara Weisser. Vital Books, 1998.
IMDb

By Sean Axmaker
Sister Street Fighter

Sister Street Fighter

Shin'ichi 'Sonny' Chiba became a movie star in Japan in the 1960s, putting his martial arts skills (he earned his first Black Belt in karate in 1965) on display in gangster films and action thrillers, but he became an international star in 1974 with The Streetfighter, one of the first movies built specifically around his martial arts prowess. He also helped nurture a new generation of action performers with his Japan Action Club, a martial arts and movie stunt training school, including one of Japan's greatest female action stars. Etsuko Shiomi was one of the first women in the Japan Action Club and Chiba supported her film career from the beginning. She debuted as a stunt double in the Chiba film Bodyguard Kiba (1973), made her official screen debut in a supporting role in the sequel Bodyguard Kiba 2 (1973) and co-starred in Chiba's international breakthrough The Streetfighter. Sister Street Fighter (1974) is not a sequel but a spin-off built around Shiomi as Li Koryu, the half-Japanese/half-Chinese daughter of a Hong Kong police captain. When her brother, an undercover agent infiltrating a Japanese drug cartel in Yokohama, goes missing, she goes in search of him. Shiomi is, in the words of Asian genre film historian Thomas Weisser, "something of a rarity in Japan, a no-nonsense kick-boxing karate-chopping female action star," and Sister Street Fighter showcases her talents with plenty of action sequences. Chiba plays a suitably badass colleague of her brother from the martial arts school he attended and he jumps in for a few fights along the way but it is strictly a supporting role. The plot (which involves smuggling heroin in wigs and using captured enemies as guinea pigs for drug tests) is basically a structure on which to hang fight sequences. Shiomi's character may be an amateur agent but she's a fearsome fighter and she takes on the colorful minions of the criminal kingpin (who collects fighters the way others keep pets) in a series of impressive martial arts battles. In the finale, where she takes on the kingpin himself, he attacks with a pair of razor claws inspired by the finale of Enter the Dragon (1973), the Bruce Lee hit turned international phenomenon that was released just a year before. Director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi came to the project as a specialist in female action movies, notably a handful of "Pinky Violence" films starring Reiko Oshida and the Wandering Ginza Butterfly films with Meiko Kaji. Where those films featured a down-and-dirty kind of fighting mixed with racy scenes, nudity and other exploitation elements, Sister Street Fighter features elaborately choreographed martial arts duels and Yamaguchi delivers impressive action. In addition to returning for the sequel, he went on to direct Chiba in a number of films, including the cult werewolf action film Wolf Guy (1975) and Karate Bullfighter (1977). Sister Street Fighter spawned two direct sequels with Shiomi as Li Koryu and launched her on a successful career as an action star in movies and on TV, as well as a second career as a singer. She retired from show business in 1986 after appearing in Tora-san's Bluebird Fantasy (1986), the 37th film in the beloved Japanese comedy series. Initially rated X for violence, the American distributor New Line (who also released the original The Streetfighter) cut six minutes of the most graphic imagery to secure an R rating when Sister Street Fighter was initially released to theaters in an English-dubbed version. Shiomi's name was westernized to read Sue Shiomi in the credits. The complete, uncut version and original Japanese language soundtrack (with English subtitles) has since been restored for American audiences. Sources: Japanese Cinema: Essential Handbook, Thomas Weisser and Yuko Mihara Weisser. Vital Books, 1998. IMDb By Sean Axmaker

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