Michael Scott

Moderator / Reviewer
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
3,185
Location
Arizona
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
Other Amp
Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
Front Speakers
Cheap Thrills Mains
Center Channel Speaker
Cheap Thrills Center
Surround Speakers
Volt 10 Surrounds
Surround Back Speakers
Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
Rear Height Speakers
Volt 6 Overheads
Subwoofers
2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
Video Display Device
JVC RS-46 Projector
Screen
Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
The Street Fighter Collection



full?lightbox=1&last_edit_date=1554194531.jpg


Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :3.5stars:
Extras: :3stars:
Final Score: :3.5stars:


WARNING: THE SCORES ABOVE ARE A COMBINED SCORE FROM ALL 3 FILMS, THE INDIVIDUAL SCORES ARE CONTAINED BELOW IN THE INDIVIDUAL SECTIONS OF THE REVIEW

full?lightbox=1&update=1554194531.png
Movie

This has been an epic month to remember for Japanese martial arts fans. This last month Arrow films put out the 4 film set of the Sister Street Fighter series (a film set that proved that Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel isn’t the invention of tough female heroes) on Blu-ray, and this month Shout Factory has put out the films that started the phenomenon. The entire The Street Fighter collection starring the breakout role of Sonny Chiba. These films have been long since out of production in the general market, with the Laser Disc being the last decent release of these films, as the DVDs have been public domain garbage discs for years, with fans having to be content with the shorter U.S. cuts as well. Thankfully Shout Factory has given us a very solid release, restoring the original Japanese full length cuts by going back to the U.S. negatives as well as inter splicing in footage from the original Japanese cuts to form a hybrid release that restores the films to their former glory. (not to mention the original Japanese language tracks as well).

The Street Fighter :4stars:
The Street Fighter is a glorious piece of Japanese grindhouse martial arts fare that is unintentionally hilarious today, but still a fantastic piece of martial arts history. Back in the 1970s the landscape was changing for the martial arts genre. The days of the Shaw Brothers films were coming to an end, and Hong Kong cinema was rising up with the fluidity and better choreography of Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris (on the U.S. front). However, Japan was not to be left behind as actors like Sho Kosugi and Sonny Chiba entered the market, which would soon bring rise to the myriad of gory ninja and samurai films that permeated the 1980s and 90 market. The Street Fighter is the film that started it all, acting as a gonzo mess of blood, gore, and Sonny Chiba’s trademark harsh martial arts style of Kyokushin Karate and Ninjutsu (yup, he’s one of the original actors who brought the art of the Ninja to the silver screen with actual Ninjutsu training), complete with constipated facial expressions and gleeful Kung-fu style posing.

Before you roll your eyes and wonder what I’m smoking, let me reiterate that no matter how cheesy or dated The Street Fighter is, this is history in the making. Sonny Chiba was a nobody at this point, and with the drop of The Street Fighter, Return of the Street Fighter, and The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge (all released in 1974 back to back) he was catapulted to international stardom. These gonzo flicks put him on the map as one of THE premier martial artists to go to in the Japanese marketplace, and laid the ground work for the shift from traditional Samurai films, to the harder core Ninja and karate chop-socky films that the late 70s and early 80s started to shift over to.

The plot is hilariously simple, even for a martial arts movie. After breaking out a Karate master (and subsequently selling his sister into prostitution when she couldn’t pay his fee) from prison, tough guy assassin Takuma “Terry” Tsurugi is asked to do a job for the Yakuza. Refusing the job out of principal, Tsurugi gets more than he bargained for as the Yakuza DON’T want him to reveal their secrets. Deciding to foil their plans in revenge for being targeted, Tsurugi decides to protect the very girl that they wanted him to kidnap, and in the process has to slaughter dozens upon dozens of the Yakuza horde as they hone in on him and the beautiful Japanese heiress that he’s trying to protect.

The Street Fighter is not going to win awards with it’s acting or plot, but it was one of the first Karate films out there to use a more “realistic” moves list. Sonny Chiba’s use of Kyokushin is unparalleled, and audiences were shocked at the (for a martial arts movie) hyper violence of his style. It was sharp, brutal, and made excessive use of the “inhale/exhalel” facial expressions of the Karate form. Today it seems almost unintentionally hilarious the way that the fight’s are portrayed, but back then it was cutting edge stuff. The Street Fighter also made use of what has become known as the “X-Ray blow” where you see an X-ray of a person’s skull/arm/etc and see the impact effects when the person is hit. This type of move was copied by Jet Li twice. Once in when he did Romeo Must Die, and a second time in Cradle to the Grave when he fought Mark Dracascos (who is soon to show up as an assassin in John Wick 3).

Return The Street Fighter :3.5stars:
One thing that made the Street Fighter films unique is the fact that all three movies came out in the same year. Shot back to back, the trilogy is one non stop gonzo ride of cheese, with Sonny Chiba’s next film literally being announced IN THE CREDITS of The Street Fighter and theaters showing it a few months later. Well, this time Sonny is back in the saddle again, and so is his greatest nemesis, the non-paying brother in the first movie whom Terry Tsurugi tore out his throat (he’s back with an electronic voice box now).

I’ve always loved the fact that the Street Fighter series adheres to simplicity and straight forward violence of the 1970s action film genre. Not to mention that Terry isn’t exactly your cardboard cutout hero. Is he likable? Is he vile? Is he completely misogynistic? Yes to all three of them. Even though he’s the epitome of an anti-hero, you can’t help but root for the guy as he mows down bad guys like paper mache tigers. Which brings up another good point for the trilogy. The Street Fighter films have never shied away from violence in their films. Instead of the long drawn out fights of Hong Kong, Sonny Chiba’s fights are always short and brutal. Many ending in under a minute or two (even for boss battles) with someone getting an eye gouged out, a throat torn out, groin punches that end in buckets of blood, or a neck snapped. This allows for a myriad of villains to get pummeled in the shortest amount of time possible, AND sets Terry apart as the sharp and vicious “anti-hero” that he is.

This time around Terry is back to being hired out for assassin jobs. When big shot Yakuza director Otaguro (Hiroshi Tanaka) has a leak in his organization he calls in Terry Tsurugi to take care of the problem. Terry’s job, kill all the informants and put the problem to rest. However, when he finds out that one of the informants is an old friend of his, Terry is forced once again to turn on his masters and unleash a barrage of deadly martial arts moves in order to win their freedom.

The Return of the Street Fighter is a step down from the original The Street Fighter simply because it’s more of the same thing. Acting as a kind of “victory dance” for Sonny Chiba, it follows him going through another few dozen Yakuza bad guys as he turns on his paycheck (seriously, I wouldn’t be hiring this guy if I was the Yakuza at this point) and just mercilessly tears them apart. There’s intrigue, double crosses, and more Karate masters than you can shake a stick at, but Terry’s up to the task of getting off and killing more bad guys with gusto.

full?lightbox=1&update=1554194531.jpg
The Street Fighter's Last Revenge :3stars:
The third film of the franchise changes things up just a bit. While it has the trade mark gore, viciousness to villains and face twisting martial arts, it lightens things up a bit. The movie is a bit more goofy and tries to turn Terry into more of a spy thriller type hero rather than his nasty assassin for hire persona that he’s shared for the first two films. This is something that the Sister Street Fighter films would go for later that same year, and it kind of hampers the film in a way. I mean, I like the way the Sister Street Fighter movies went as it was a new character, but having Terry turn this direction after he was already an established assassin for hire just feels a bit odd, and sets it apart from both movies that came before. Not always in a good way either.

Terry Tsurugi is a street wise thief who’s been hired by a crime boss to steal back cassette tapes with a secret on them. This secret happens to be the secret for making cheap heroin, but when Terry is double crossed he makes off with the tapes and goes into hiding. With an assassin (Frankie Black) hot on his tale and more and more people looking to stab him in the back for what he has, Terry has to rely on his wits and his vicious martial arts skills to make it out alive. His only ally comes in the form of beautiful secret agent Kaho (Etsuko Shiomi), a woman who may or may be more than meets than eye.

Yup, you got it. Terry is once again required to whip out his fists of fury and pummel bad guys into bloody cheese. This time, though, there’s a twinge of something new. More humor and goofy slapstick Asian gags are thrown in, as well as trying to turn Terry into a reluctant spy. I can see where they were going with wanting to take a break from the unlikable anti-hero assassin and franchise out, but it sort of changes Terry’s character a bit, and not always in good ways. Crazy villains are even crazier, and the romance is a bit awkward considering how nasty and misogynistic that he usually is in the previous two films. It’s weird, and it’s fun, but it suffers a bit from sequelitis and the change of pace in the tone of the film can be off putting to hardcore fans of the series.




Rated R by the MPAA (All 3)




Video: :4stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1554194531.jpg
The Street Fighter :4stars:

Shout Factory has had to use two sources for the recreation of these uncut versions of the films here. The first being a 2K scan of the reverse internegative of the shorter U.S. cut, as well as spliced in bits of an older HD master of the Japanese cut to make it a “full” uncut version. These inter spliced bits have been color corrected and tweaked to look as seamless as possible, but it’s still pretty easy tosee the lower quality portiosn when they show up, no matter how short they are. This isn’t as colorful or sharp as the Sister Street Fighter films from Arrow, but they do look nice nonetheless. The Street Fighter is the best of the batch, with strong 1970s colors, including the hyper orange/red fake blood, and the grainy look of 1970s film stock. All in all, this is a great looking release that has a few flaws (mainly to do with the older HD master from the uncut material), but one that looks really nice for a grindhouse 70s flick.

Return of the Street Fighter :4stars:
The Return of the Street Fighter is supposedly of the same type of spliced source materials. The new 2K scan of the U.S. cut, spliced in with an older HD master for the uncut portions. As such, it looks extremely similar to the first movie. However, the sequel has a lot more brightly lit scenes, which adds more color and depth to the picture, with less grainy dark scenes. This gives the appearance of a brighter and more vivid film, but really it’s nothing but a color shift change, as the actual clarity and sharpness of the film is about on par with the first movie (and since these were shot back to back on identical film stock, there’s not a whole lot of quality difference)

The Street Fighter's Last Revenge :4stars:
Yup, same thing here. New 2K scan of the U.S. cut, with portions of the uncut Japanese master thrown in to complete the film. The slide caveat here is that the portions for the uncut bits aren’t from an HD master (at least some of them are) and were supposedly SD bits that look REALLY bad. Like VHS level bad (which I’m guessing is where they got it from, maybe the Laser Disc). This only comes to about 4 minutes of the entire film so it’s not a huge deal, but believe you me, you can tell instantly when those uncut bits are put back in as they look wildly different from the rest of the film. As for the majority of the movie, it looks great as always. Colors are bright and nasty with orange blood, outdoor shots are crisp and clear, and the inner shots show some heavy film grain. While not perfect, these transfers are light years over what we’ve had before and certainly the best we’re going to get without someone getting the rights to the Japanese masters and completely remastering (maybe restoring) them from the ground up.


Audio: :3.5stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1554194531.jpg
The Street Fighter :3.5stars:
For the first time EVER (that I can think of) we finally get access to the original language tracks for these films as well. But not to be lazy about it, Shout Factory has provided THREE language tracks for The Street Fighter. The first is the original theatrical English dub for the movie, then the Japanese audio mix, and then the remixed English dub that was produced in the 90s, all in DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono. Each one has their advantages, and each has their negatives as these were grindhouse flicks and the preservation on the tracks isn’t GREAT. The English dub is hilariously fun, and it’s one of those “so bad it’s good” dubs. I’m usually a stickler for the original language tracks, but I had a blast with the English dub and still nostalgically love it today. As for nuances, I have to say it’s give or take. The English Dub has a few looped moments (for the uncut splices) that sound funky, and also has some volume level issues. Some times the volume can raise or lower at will depending on that scene we’re in , and the uncut additions are much lower than the rest of the track. However, the Japanese track has it’s own set of issues. There’s some analog hiss throughout the film, as well as a harshness to the dialog, especially during shouting or raised voices of any kind. All are solid, with decent dynamics for the chop socky fits, but the track is definitely a bit raw.

Return of the Street Fighter / The Street Fighter's Last Revenge:3.5stars:
The last two films sound really similar in nature. They both include a Japanese and English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono track, and naturally the Japanese track sounds a bit better and fuller. The English Dubs have to deal with looped audio bits for the uncut scenes (since they were sourced from the shorter English cuts), but that’s to be expected for something like this. The Japanese tracks still have a bit of an auditory hiss to them still, but otherwise they’re very stable. The Japanese track feels richer and fuller with the action sequences, and the voices themselves appear deeper as well. All in all, they’re solid tracks for the money and choose whichever one fits your particular taste.




Extras: :3stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1554194531.jpg
The Street Fighter
• NEW Interview With Star Sonny Chiba
• NEW Interview With Filmmaker Jack Shoulder
• U.S. Theatrical Trailer
• Japanese Theatrical Trailer
• Still Gallery

Return of the Street Fighter
• U.S. Teaser Trailer
• U.S. Theatrical Trailer
• Japanese Theatrical Trailer
• Still Gallery

The Street Fighter's Last Revenge
• U.S. Theatrical Trailer
• Japanese Theatrical Trailer
• Still Gallery







Final Score: :3.5stars:


The Street Fighter collection is a must have collection for any Sonny Chiba fan, as these have been languishing in public domain hell for many many years. The old Laser Discs was the last time we got a decent presentation of these, and they were in sore need of replacement. Could this have been a better release? Sure, but that would have required getting rights to the original Japanese negatives, rescanning it completely and then using that as a base to build the language tracks around. However, being that Shout Factory was able to get the New Line Cinema rights from Warner, that means they were limited from the get go, and the use of the restored SD footage clips to fill out the New Line U.S. cuts to the full uncut versions is the best we can hope for in this scenario. Those SD inserts are luckily only a few minutes per film, and Shout Factory has done a solid job of color timing them to make sure they blend as seamlessly as possible. I’m ecstatic to see the different audio tracks back in the film, with the U.S. cuts intact (with audio loops for the extended portions) and the original Japanese for everyone to enjoy as well. Nothing is PERFECT in the set, but this is light years better than anything we’ve had and a fantastic set for fans of Chiba. Highly recommended.



Technical Specifications:

Starring: Shin'ichi (Sonny) Chiba, Etsuko Shiomi, Masafumi Suzuki, Yoko Ichiji, Claude Gagnon, Reiki Ike
Directed by Shigehiro Ozawa (all 3 films)
Written by: Koji Takada, Motohiro Torii / Hajjime Koiwa / Koji Takada, Masahiro Shimura
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC (all 3 films)
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono (original theatrical dub, 90s remix dub), Japanese DTS-HD MA Mono / English DTS-HD MA Mono, Japanese DTS-HD MA Mono / English DTS-HD MA Mono, Japanese DTS-HD MA Mono
Subtitles:
English
Studio: Shout Factory
Rated: R (all 3)
Runtime
: 91 Minutes / 83 Minutes / 80 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 26th, 2019







Recommendation: Great Buy for Fans

 

tripplej

AV Aficionado
Joined
Jul 13, 2017
Messages
5,317
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
NAD T-777
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Oppo 103 Blu Ray Player
Front Speakers
7 Paradigm Reference series 8" in ceiling speakers
Subwoofers
2 Paradigm SE Subs
Other Speakers or Equipment
Nintendo Wii U Gaming Console
Video Display Device
Samsung UN75F8000 LED TV
Remote Control
Universal Remote MX-450
Other Equipment
Sony PS4 Gaming Console, Panamax MR-5100 Surge
Thanks for the review. I never knew that this was actually a movie. lol. I only heard of the name via the Street Fighter game.

I do like to watch the old martial arts movies so will check it out as a rental. :)
 

Todd Anderson

Editor / Senior Admin
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
5,841
Location
Balt/Wash Metro
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Denon X8500H
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
Other Amp
VSX21-THX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
OPPO UDP-203, Panasonic UB9000
Front Speakers
SVS Ultra Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Ultra Center
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC NX7
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F
This isn't exactly up my alley... but I love the fact the films have been rescued and re-committed to a modern medium. Very cool! :T
 

Asere

Senior AV Addict
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
1,158
Location
Texas
My AV System  
Main Amp
Denon AVR X4200W
Additional Amp
Parasound HCA 1500A
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Oppo 103D
Front Speakers
SVS Prime Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Prime
Surround Speakers
SVS Prime Satellites
Front Height Speakers
Proficient
Rear Height Speakers
Proficient
Subwoofers
Dual Kreisel DXD 12012, PSA S3000i
Video Display Device
Samsung PNF8500
Screen
60"
Remote Control
Harmony Ultra
Other Equipment
Panamax M5300 PM, Monster HTS 3600
Thanks for the review. I don't remember watching any of these but I am sure I have. They use to air these films all the time. I loved how they could easily glide and fly through the air.
 
Top Bottom