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Posts Tagged ‘Sonny Chiba’

Sister Street Fighter

Friday, May 8th, 2020

I’ve reviewed and enjoyed Sonny Chiba’s three STREET FIGHTER movies (THE STREET FIGHTER, RETURN OF THE STREET FIGHTER and THE STREET FIGHTER’S LAST REVENGE), so now it’s time to get started on the SISTER STREET FIGHTER quadrilogy. It was marketed (at least in the U.S.) as a spin-off of the other series, but star Etsuko “Sue” Shihomi is not playing her character from THE STREET FIGHTER, or her other character from THE STREETFIGHTER’S LAST REVENGE, and Chiba is in it not playing “Terry” Tsuguri. There’s no narrative connection, but it is in a similar vein of funky contemporary karate blast full of fun comic book gimmicks, cool ‘70s fashion and exaggerated violence.

Shihomi (GOLGO 13: ASSIGNMENT KOWLOON) plays Koryu, a Hong Kong martial artist who gets sent to Yokohama to search for her brother Mansei (Hiroshi Miyauchi, Kamen Rider, Go Ranger, Spider Man, REBORN FROM HELL II: JUBEI’S REVENGE), a narcotics agent who disappeared while undercover in a heroin smuggling ring. Kuryo has other family there. She beats up some assholes in front of her restaraunteur uncle (Hiroshi Kondo, GRAVEYARD OF HONOR, WOLF GUY), who is delighted that she’s “still a tomboy,” and cousins (Tatsuya Nanjo [TOKYO DEEP THROAT] and Nami Tachibana), who ask her for lessons and tell her she’s famous in Japan as the Hong Kong Martial Arts Champ. (Nobody else seems to recognize her.) (read the rest of this shit…)

The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

“I make the impossible possible. Takami Tsurugi. Remember that if you want to live long.”

The thrilling conclusion to Sonny Chiba’s STREET FIGHTER trilogy is called THE STREET FIGHTER’S LAST REVENGE, but it doesn’t really feel like a finale. It feels more like another in what should be an endless series of adventures. Though released in 1974, the same year as the other two, Chiba’s black-clad anti-hero-for-hire Tsurugi seems to have evolved his operation. After taking a recruitment call he rotates the phone attached to his wall, opening a secret door to a room full of uniforms, wigs and latex masks. He’s a fuckin master of disguise now!

His mission is to retrieve Go Owada (Akira Shioji, who played a different character in the first movie) from the midst of a violent worker strike at a chemical plant. Tsurugi impersonates a member of the riot squad and breaks ranks to bust through the window, go in and beat the shit out of everybody, steal a specified black mah jong case, arrest Owada, steal a police car and bring him to the mobsters who hired him.

But they pay him with a briefcase full of shredded newspaper, which was not the deal in my opinion, so he fights them and they’re enemies now. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Street Fighter

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

“I may in fact be worse than the villains. But I know the way they think and act.”

Sonny Chiba is… THE STREET FIGHTER, a.k.a. Takuma Tsurugi (or Terry in the English dub). He’s an A+ anti-hero because he’s just straight up a bad person, but he’s so cool he keeps luring us into rooting for him.

And he’s definitely in the Bad Motherfucker Hall of Fame. We’re introduced to him disguised as a Buddhist monk to visit Tateki Shikenbaru (Masashi Ishibashi, SHOGUN’S NINJA) on death row. Shikenbaru is apparently a murderer, but he seems like an honorable guy who’s excited when he realizes he gets to have a karate duel in his cell with someone as good as Tsurugi. But Tsurugi hits him with a special delayed-asphyxiation blow that causes him to collapse just before execution. The prison officials decide they legally and/or ethically have to transport him to a hospital, at which point Tsurugi and his sycophantic partner Rakuda (Goichi Yamada, DOUBLE SUICIDE AT NISHIJIN) ambush the ambulance, abduct the prisoner and send him to Hong Kong. (read the rest of this shit…)

Aces: Iron Eagle III

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

ACES: IRON EAGLE III is an impressive sequel because it brings back Louis Gossett, Jr. as Colonel Charles “Chappy” Sinclair in yet another humble day job, and then recruits him for yet another off-the-books missile-run into foreign lands, yet it switches the scenario around enough to still feel very new. See, this time he’s not mentoring a young hot shot – if anything, he is the young hotshot. He works at an aviation show with an international squad of surviving WWII pilots who perform simulated combat firing red paint bullets at each other. (Yes, a bad guy later replaces some of the paint bullets with real rounds.)

When the chips are down these grumpy old man space cowboy tough guys come out of retirement for one last job to prove that pilots were better before all these fancy pants doodads and what not. “Agh, flying computers, Captain. In our day it used to be the man, not the machine.”

They convince their boss, (Fred Dalton Thompson, DIE HARD 2) to let them soup up their air show planes even though he says they’re “priceless antiques” – he seems less concerned that the pilots are too – and they fly into action. (read the rest of this shit…)

Golgo 13 (1977)

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

tn_golgo13GOLGO 13 from 1977 – sometimes subtitled ASSIGNMENT KOWLOON, but not to be confused with ASSIGNMENT MIAMI BEACH – is the second adaptation of a popular Japanese comic book. Sonny Chiba plays an infamous assassin known as Golgo 13. But fuck the code name, his real name, or at least the alias he’s living under, is “Duke Togo.” I mean why would you even want people to call you Golgo 13 if you’re normally called Duke Togo? Just stick with the one awesome name, in my opinion. Don’t hog ’em.

This is a great role for Chiba because he’s just full of larger than life swagger. He wears flashy suits and sunglasses, he has boxes of weapons delivered to him at his hotel, he satisfies women, he’s the very best at killing people and outsmarting everybody. He’s Shaft times James Bond but sort of the bad guy, which makes him kind of cooler than either one. And director Yukio Noda (BRONSON LEE, CHAMPION) shamelessly drapes it in the stylistic cliches of the time. A good thing.

An opening about Hong Kong police responding to a murder moves to a small boat off Miami where a white man named Rocky Brown is expecting to meet the legendary assassin Golgo 13. He’s worried because he doesn’t see any boats around, when suddenly Golgo climbs right out of the water onto the boat with scuba gear. Two other white men watch on a telescope from a hotel balcony, discussing who he is, explaining him to us. Suddenly Golgo pulls out a rifle – is he gonna betray this guy that wants to hire him? No, he fires at the hotel, taking out both of the exposition guys. (read the rest of this shit…)

Sushi Girl

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

tn_sushigirlI know they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but a movie is not a book and a cover is not always the same art as a poster so I sometimes feel okay writing off a movie because of its poster. And these days when a movie has kind of a quasi-retro poster with a sort-of-old-school-ish illustration and attempted ’70s font, I assume it’s just some bullshit by somebody who liked GRINDHOUSE like I did and thinks if they know about old movies they can make a movie like that even if they don’t have the chops. But some of you said I had to watch SUSHI GIRL, so I gave it a shot. I forgive you.
(read the rest of this shit…)

The Street Fighter

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

This is Sonny Chiba’s most famous movie, the one that made him an international star, and the one that Christian-Slater-as-Tarantino-stand-in went on about in TRUE ROMANCE. And as a vehicle to show how awesome Sonny Chiba is, it’s great. As a movie though I would argue that it’s not necessarily his best.

Maybe it wasn’t the greatest idea in the world to re-watch it right after enjoying the KARATE BULL FIGHTER trilogy. This one has alot of the same elements. Fights in dojos, dirty fighting on the streets, war time flashbacks, the tragic death of a goofy sidekick. But I don’t think the story is quite as good. It starts out very promising with Sonny’s character Terry Tsugura going into a prison disguised as a priest to bust a guy out. I mean, you know that’s gonna get good. But after that it’s pretty meandering and confusing for a while as he discusses things with various factions and people try to hire him and what not. (I should point out that I haven’t found it in a subtitled version, only dubbed, and that probaly doesn’t help.) (read the rest of this shit…)

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

This third picture in the FAST AND THE FURIOUS trilogy saga is pretty different and at first doesn’t even seem to be connected to the other ones. I never saw Academy Award nominee for best director John Singleton’s 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, but I know Paul Walker returned and Vin Diesel didn’t. And I believe Tyrese showed up. This time around we lose everybody and start over with a new character played by Lucas Black (the kid from SLING BLADE who I last saw in a small role in JARHEAD).

The first section of the movie, which is also the best section, is all about Lucas Black getting into macho confrontations with dudes and then having a race. In the opening he’s leaving school, getting into his junker car when he exchanges words with a rich asshole jock dickhead (HOME IMPROVEMENT’s Zachary Ty Bryan, still wearing a letterman’s jacket at 24). You can already tell this is gonna be a worthwhile movie when it starts playing western style music and showing closeups of their faces as they stare each other down. They’re about to get in a wrench fight when the jock’s girlfriend suggests a peaceful solution: a fast and/or furious race. Lucas Black says, “I only race for pink slips,” (he doesn’t mention whether or not he lives life a quarter mile at a time) but since the HOME IMPROVEMENT guy’s Viper is worth $80,000, the bet is not agreed upon. So the girlfriend suggests herself as the prize. So you know the western music was not lying about this movie being awesome. (read the rest of this shit…)

Karate Bear Fighter

Monday, June 26th, 2006

The second in Sonny Chiba’s Oyama trilogy is even better than the first one. First of all, no rape scene. Second of all, he becomes more of a classical badass who gets to show off different facets of his badass powers. There’s alot of scenes where he’s in a situation that would make most people nervous – like when a powerful gangster tries to hire him – and he just gives off a Just Don’t Give A Fuck vibe, sometimes even munching on food instead of paying attention to people (always a favorite of mine since Dirty Harry foiled a robbery while eating a hot dog).

Oyama takes the job with the gangster, which is a great chance for him to wear shades, a white suit and a long white coat over his shoulder, and scare everybody without saying a word. (read the rest of this shit…)

Karate for Life

Monday, June 26th, 2006

The third and final entry in the Oyama trilogy starts out in pretty much the most badass way possible. A narrator explains that at this point in his life, Oyama liked to go around to different dojos and make challenges to prove the power of his karate.

So he struts into this dojo wearing his karate clothes, but also with his white gangster coat draped over his shoulders for extra style points. When the students ask who the hell he is he explains that he’s come to challenge their sensei.

I think this sensei is the same guy he’s been feuding with all throughout the series. At any rate, the guy pretty much tells Oyama that he’s an asshole for going around picking fights, because that’s against the whole idea of karate. And it’s a good point. Still, the sensei agrees to a fight, sort of. He’ll fight Oyama, but first Oyama will have to fight 100 of his students. Ha ha ha. (read the rest of this shit…)