Welcome to the Vinegar Syndrome Staff Picks section, where we highlight our favorite releases from the many other fine labels releasing films on home video. This section, which will be updated semi regularly, features an array of crucial genre films, which no home library should be without.
After the massive success of The Street Fighter, the Toei Company 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. Still a teenager at the time, Etsuko Shihomi exploded onscreen in her first leading role and created a new character type: a tough fighter who was fierce, fearless, good-hearted, and decidedly non-sexualized, a departure from Toei’s typical formula.
In 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 evil 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) helmed by original Street Fighter director Shigehiro Ozawa appearing in 1976.
Genre entertainment of the highest order, the Sister Street Fighter films are a wild ride through some of the best exploitation cinema Japan produced in the 1970s. Funky and over-the-top, filled with wall-to-wall action, and featuring some of the craziest villains ever depicted onscreen, the series embodies female power in a male-dominated genre and is a magnificent showcase for the physical presence and martial arts skills of its lead star.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of all four films
- 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 maguchi, 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