Ahhh, a Saturday morning and I find myself watching a martial arts movie. That is really a flashback to my childhood, though the movies would usually come on in the afternoons, as I obviously needed to watch my Saturday morning cartoons first. Anyways, today’s movie is the first of two sequels to The Street Fighter and luckily for me, it happened to be a part of the Martial Arts box set. So let’s see what happens to Terry Tsurugi with today’s movie, Return Of The Street Fighter.
The plot: Terry Tsurugi is hired by Isamu Otaguro to kill two of his former business associates, one of whom is being held and questioned by the police. Terry speeds through town and fights the officers attempting to arrest him in order to get arrrested and taken to police headquarters. As he is being taken to his cell, Terry hears the man being questioned in the interrogation room and breaks free from his captors and smashes his way into the room. Once there, he takes out the guards and kills the witness, then fights off some more cops before making his escape out the window, where he gets into a car and drives off. As he drives, his assistant, Kitty, unlocks the handcuffs for him and then asks about when he will take out the next target. The next day, Shichiro Yamagami, the police inspector in charge of the case, asks to be allowed to go after Terry but when he is turned down, he resigns. As he is leaving, the police get word that the man’s partner, who is also the second man Terry is to kill, has been spotted and they go to pick him up. The man is hiding in a movie theater while waiting for a flight to take him to Australia. When he sees the police looking for him, he tries to run but ends up running into Terry. Terry tries to stop him from leaving and the man ends up throwing the bag he is carrying at Terry so he can pull out a gun but ends up getting into a shootout with the police, while Terry escapes with the bag. Sometime later, Kitty takes the bag to Otaguro, where it is revealed to contain a priceless statue. At Masaoka’s dojo, Yamagami goes to speak with Kendo Masaoka and tells him what he knows of Otaguro’s martial arts academy and it’s ties to the Yakuza. He also asks Masaoka about Terry and Masaoka tells him that Terry is a skilled fighter and that they had fought once a few years ago. Masaoka goes to speak with Otaguro, saying he knows what is being said and if the rumors are true, that he should stop what he is planning and return the money but Otaguro gets angry and tells him to leave, summoning some of his stronger fighters to try and intimidate him. Meanwhile, Yamagami heads over the the building architect to ask him some questions about Otagura’s proposed building but the architect refuses to answer at first until Yamagami beats all of the security that had come to escort him out of the building. Elsewhere, Terry is working out in his gym with Kitty when they receive a secret message on an 8-track, telling them to head to a nearby subway station. Once there, a man gives them a key to a locker and when Terry opens it, he finds a suitcase of money from Otaguro and a note saying to kill Masaoka. Terry rips up the note and takes the money back to Otaguro, telling him he refuses to kill Masaoka, and after he leaves, Otaguro orders his men to kill Terry. Terry heads up to a snow covered mountain with Kitty and when she asks why he refused the job, he tells her he couldn’t kill Masaoka as he is the only person he can really trust. After riding a ski lift to the top of the mountain, Terry comes under attack from two of Otaguro’s assassins and manages to kill them. As he relaxes at a spa, Terry comes under attack again from a group of men but manages to beat them all, then places their unconscious bodies in a sauna and turns it on high while locking them inside. Back at his dojo, Masaoko is speaking with one of the men that runs another of his dojo and learns that Otaguro is forging his name to solicit donations for his organization. Terry returns to his hotel, where he ends up picking up a woman in the elevator. As they lay in bed together, the woman reaches into her purse to pull out a collapsible baton and tries to attack Terry only for him to easily disarm and beat her. Suddenly, the woman’s escort, an Arabian martial arts champion, breaks through the door and attacks Terry but Terry beats him and questions him, learning that the Mafia had sent him, before finally killing him. Kitty pleads with him not to go but Terry heads out to deal with Otaguro when he is confronted by Junjo, whom he had believed to have killed. Junjo, speaking through use of a voice box, tells Terry that he survived and the Mafia performed an operation to save his life in exchange for killing him and he eagerly agreed to it. Terry and Junjo fight and as Terry tries to fend off one of the sai that Junjo throws at him, he ends up falling off a building, crashing to the ground below, and Kitty cries over the body, pleading for him not to be dead before dragging the body away. The next day, Masaoka, Yamagami, and the heads of several other martial arts organizations, confront Otaguri about his crimes and his connections to the Mafia. A defeated Otaguri goes to see Don Costello and apologizes for what happened only for Costello to kill him, saying he will take over the operations. Costello sends some of his men to ambush Masaoka and the others as they have a celebratory dinner and shoot and kill most of them but Masaoka survives and manages to take out the men that had come to finish the job. Elsewhere, Kitty is tending to Terry’s injuries and is happy to see that he isn’t dead and pleads with him to keep fighting. Terry blacks out, where he dreams about when his father was executed for being a traitor and hears his father’s voice telling him to keep fighting and let nobody beat him. As he is eating and resting, Terry indicates that he knows Kitty was working for the Mafia the whole time and she admits that she betrayed them because she fell in love with him. She then tells him that Yamagami was killed and Masaoka injured and Terry makes plans to deal with the Mafia. As he heads out, Kitty is grabbed by the Mafia while she is walking and is tortured. When Terry arrives at Otaguri’s building, he finds Kitty lying on the stairs, and she warns him to run but he finds himself surrounded by Costello and his men. Costello tells Terry his plans for controlling the area, then kills Kitty but before he can kill Terry, Junjo stops him, saying he and Terry have to settle things. Terry lays Kitty’s body on a nearby table, using the time to slip two hidden blades into his hands, and as he faces off against Junjo, Terry throws the blades, killing one of the Mafia men while the other goes in Costello’s eye. Terry then begins attacking the men, making his way towards Costello, who is trying to escape. Terry eventually takes out all of the attackers, though he is wounded in the process, until the only people left are Junjo and Costello. As they continue to fight near an electrical transformer, Terry knocks Junjo into the leads, electrocuting him, then continues chasing after Costello. The two end up on the roof of a passing tanker truck and Costello pleads for his life but Terry strikes him, knocking him onto the hood of the truck, causing the driver to crash into the support for an overpass while Terry jumps to safety and watches as it explodes into flames.
Not as extreme with the violence but this was still a pretty good movie. Sonny Chiba did a good job in his role and I feel like he actually had a lot more character development with this movie than he did in the first one. I also liked Masafumi Suzuki returning as Masaoka but felt like Masashi (Milton) Ishibashi’s return as Junjo was a little anti-climatic. The story was pretty good, with Terry still working as a mercenary but showing a little more honor in how he handles his contracts. There were a lot more fights in this movie than in the previous and they were pretty well choreographed (such as the fight in the spa) but the violence was toned down some, such as leaving out the x-ray scenes of various broken bones and some of the more violent death scenes. However, they did decide to leave in one of the funniest scenes I have seen in a serious martial arts movie. When Terry was facing the assassins on the mountain top, he punched one of them in the back of the head and….welll…
Needless to say, this had me cracking up for how ridiculous it was. That aside, this is a fun movie to watch and a great way to indulge in some mindless action cinema.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5