The Street Fighter Collection                    review by Bobby Blakey

Over the years Shout Factory has been releasing a wide variety of cult classic films through their varying brands with the Shout Select one being the most eclectic. The latest is the cult classic Street Fighter trilogy starring Sonny Chiba. Now Shout is bringing all three films together in The Street Fighter Collection.

 

Street Fighter follows Terry Tsurugi, a mercenary who has been hired by both the yakuza and the mafia to kidnap a wealthy heiress, but when he isn’t paid, a violent clash will ensue. This 1974 flick has an insanely big cult following and as a lover for all things martial arts failed realize I hadn’t seen the whole thing. I can see why it is such a fan favorite and it’s not for the great martial arts fighting by any means. At the time of its release it was no doubt something new to behold and Sonny Chiba’s over the top persona is a blast to watch. The over the top acting and crazed sloppy fights are a blast to watch in the best worst way possible. The story is all over the place and only serves to set up a new fight in anyway it can and at times makes very little sense. With all its flaws and ridiculous moments I loved every minute of it.

 

In the follow up, Return Of The Street Fighter, Tsurugi is hired by the mob to kill two informants, but when he realizes one is an old friend, he refuses, and now he is the one being hunted. This one takes everything insane about the first one and just amps it up to an even more ridiculous nature. The fight quality is about the same and a ton of fun to watch with even more blood spewing for no apparent reason. Chiba’s performance is just as ridiculous but so strange that you can’t help but love it. As with the first film it’s all over the place and often times makes very little sense, but that is most of its charm.

 

The final chapter of the collection, The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge follows

Tsurugi who is double crossed by the Ôwada clan and takes off with something they leading to him being chased by a group of deadly assassins. This last chapter of the series is probably the worst of the bunch in both a good and bad way. This time around they upped the stakes with more over the top assassins and characters. Chiba’s character is silly enough and brings more of the same bizarre charm to the role, but the new additions are all over the place. In the end this entire series is filled with sloppy brilliant fight scenes and over the top acting and action that I loved every minute of.

 

I had to do some research to see if Chib had any martial arts training as I thought I had remembered and he had earned black belts in multiple disciplines of Japanese martial arts and studied Kyokushinkai Karate under World Karate Grandmaster, Masatatsu "Mas" Oyama which makes it even more baffling. In addition to all three films this collection features bonus content including still gallery, trailers, new interviews with both Sonny Chiba and filmmaker Jack Sholder as well as a 2K scans of the original film elements.

 

For more information head over to www.shoutfactory.com

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