Sister Streetfighter/Review

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When her brother Lee Long (a secret agent) goes missing, Chinese martial arts expert Tina Long (Etsuko "Sue" Shihomi) travels to Yokohama, Japan to investigate. Upon arriving she is briefed by a police officer who has got an idea on what exactly happened. Lee Long was doing some work on an import shipping business that is really a front for a drug smuggling operation. The drug is heroin and we later learn it's secretly transported inside...wigs?! The cops suspect the boss of the import/export business is actually the leader of the drug ring. Tina is given the name of a contact in the city, a woman named Fanny Singer who is a spy but doubles as a nightclub dancer. Before Tina meets her, she stops in for a bite at a small diner. The minute she gets there some rude punks begin hitting on her, but she soon shows her extraordinary Shurinji skills by stabbing two flies with toothpicks and popping them into the mouth and noses of her attackers. Then it's Sister Streetfighter Vs. The Punks as she quickly takes them out with her supercool karate. Let me tell ya, that Sue Shihomi knows how to move!

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After this confrontation, Tina has dinner with her uncle and cousins. They talk about Lee Long and they hope they can get him back. Tina heads to meet her contact at the club and she shows a red rose (her signal). When she sees a woman at the bar with a red rose tattoo on her leg, she knows its Fanny. Suddenly a group of men grab Fanny and pull her out of the club. Tina chases them down and there's another action packed battle between Tina and the thugs. Tina does her best to get to Fanny but she's unable to save her. Before the thugs can leave, a large barrel is thrown into the street blocking their path. We see a mysterious character show up in the dark and he proceeds to beat them up his own way.

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Tina visits the local karate school (a common occurrence in these films) where she sees the man from the night before, his name is Sonny Kawasaka (Sonny Chiba) the school's top student. While there she studies more about Lee Long's whereabouts and tracks him down to the mansion of the boss of the import business. The boss' pad is pretty swanky. It's there where he keeps his collection of colorful villains/fighters. These baddies are like a Rogues gallery of freaks. From the black wicker cone hat gang to the African shield/dart blower assassin to the all girl leopard print clad team called "The Amazon 7" (who are Thai boxers). Japanese film fans will recognize Masashi Ishibashi (Junjo from The Streetfighter films) who plays the top karate villain in the film going by the name "Hammerhead". In one of the film's highlights, Tina and Hammerhead have a face off on a large bridge over the water.

Sister Streetfighter is is a really well made, fun Japanese karate film. While the main storyline/plot isn't particularly all that original, the action and characters are really what it's all about. Of course, the fight sequences (of which there are plenty) are exciting and entertaining to watch. It's also got even more of a comic book-esque quality than The Streetfighter films with Sonny Chiba, especially in regards to the villains. I can safely say that 70s Karate/Kung Fu fans won't be disappointed by this cult classic!


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Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. A Massachusetts native, he is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life. He is currently majoring in Communications and Interactive Media Design.

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