“Sister Street Fighter Collection”
Special Edition Collector’s Set
The Toei Company had such tremendous success with “The Street Fighter” series that they decided to build a new karate series around a female lead. and cast a young actress who had appeared in a cameo role alongside her mentor Sonny Chiba. That was Etsuko Shihomi who was still a teen. When she appeared onscreen in her first leading role, she created a new character type: “a tough fighter who was fierce, fearless, good-hearted, and decidedly non-sexualized.”
In the first of the series, 1974’s “Sister Street Fighter”, Shihomi is the half-Chinese, half-Japanese Li Koryu, who travels to Yokohama to investigate the disappearance of her brother, an undercover cop. Li discovers a smuggling ring run by a drug lord with his own personal army of deadly fighters and must penetrate his lair with the help of a fellow karate master (played by Chiba). Shihomi and director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi (Wolf Guy) made two additional films based on the same character over the next year, “Sister Street Fighter: Hanging By A Thread” and “Return Of The Sister Street Fighter”, with a final unrelated follow-up (“Sister Street Fighter: Fifth Level Fist”) which was to be directed by original “Street Fighter” director Shigehiro Ozawa appearing in 1976.
This is exploitation cinema at its best. The films are funky and over-the-top and filled with action featuring some of the craziest villains ever seen onscreen. The series embodies female power in a male-dominated genre and is a wonderful showcase for the physical presence and martial arts skills of its lead star.
Shihomi goes to find her missing brother, an undercover agent kidnapped by drug smugglers. She begins to nose around and incurs the anger of the main dope fiend and his henchmen who smuggle heroin to the rest of the world in wigs. Her uncle rats her out, thanks to a convenient rape of his daughter, and she is thought dead, but comes back in time to find her brother and defeat the army of villains, with the chauvinist help of Sonny Chiba.
Shihomi is excellent here. She is cute and can kick any man around. The film’s showcase the talents of Shihomi and camp (but I doubt that they realized it). The films take themselves perfectly seriously, although there is little more a pastiche of elements swiped from contemporary Hong Kong films. The fights get more and more brutal as the movie goes forward. This movies will appeal to those looking for surreal, cheesy fun. “Sister Street Fighter” gives us good martial arts films that are stylish, with good cinematography, and well-choreographed fight scenes.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
High Definition digital transfers of all four films
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations
Original uncompressed Japanese mono audio
Original English dubbed audio for Sister Street Fighter
New optional English subtitle translation for all four films
English SDH subtitles for the English dub for Sister Street Fighter
New video interviews with actor Shinichi Sonny Chiba, director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, and screenwriter Masahiro Kakefuda
Original Japanese theatrical trailers for all four films
Original U.S. theatrical trailer for Sister Street Fighter, plus original English opening titles to the film
Original German theatrical trailer for Sister Street Fighter, plus original German opening titles to the film
Stills and poster gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Kungfubob O Brien
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated booklet featuring writing on the series by Patrick Macias and a new essay on the U.S. release of Toei s karate films by Chris Poggiali