(aka "The Street Fighter" or "Gekitotsu! Satsujin ken" or "Sudden Attack: The Killing Fist")

 

directed by Ozawa Shigehiro
Japan 1974

 

There are two sorts of people in this world: Those who know Sonny Chiba as Hanzo from “Kill Bill” and those who know Sonny Chiba as Tsurugi Takuma from “Street Fighter”. Those who belong to the first group will read this review, those who belong to the other group have skipped it and are already ordered the Optimum box.

Sonny Chiba was born Maeda Sadao, January 23, 1939, in Fukuoka, Japan. And while his movements may appear strange to some, he is a very skilled martial arts expert, holding a fourth Dan in Kyokushinkai Karate, a first Dan in Judo, and being very skilled in Aikido, Ninjitsu, Kempo and Kendo. In his youth he was a master gymnast, almost making it to the Japanese Olympic team, but a back injury made him drop gymnastics and train karate under sensei Oyama Masatatsu.

In 1960 he was discovered by Toei and took the stage name Chiba Shinichi. The name Sonny came later after his appearance in a commercial for the Toyota Sunny. He was cast in action and martial arts films, and during the early seventies, Toei casted him as the Street Fighter, in order to cash in on martial arts frenzy, caused by the success of the Bruce Lee films.

In the late seventies, Chiba’s fame had reached the US and he began appearing in some abysmal US co-productions, like “Karate Kiba” (aka “Viva Chiba the Bodyguard”, 1978), which easily is one of the worst martial arts films ever made. However his legend never died and in the eighties he was casted in some decent films, and thanks to Quentin Tarantino, who considers Chiba to be the greatest actor ever to work in martial arts film, and thru films like “True Romance” and “Kill Bill”, a new craze began.

“Street Fighter” was a huge success and subsequently lead to a total of five films, only three of them true Street Fighter flicks: “Street Fighter” (1974), “The Return of Street Fighter” (1974), “Street Fighter’s Last Revenge” (1974), and the two associated flicks: “Sister Streetfighter” (1974) and “Karate Warriors” (1976).

All the films deal with the freelance fist Tsurugi Takuma and his adventures. In “Street Fighter”, Tsurugi is attempted hired by the yakuza to kidnap the heiress of a late billionaire, his demands are too high, so instead they try to kill him to conceal their scheme. Unsuccessfully. Instead Tsurugi turns towards the heiress and offers to protect her, and in turn take down the yakuza; or at least those who keeps on sending assassins after him and her.

The “Street Fighter” films are pure exploitation and Tsuragi is a definitive anti-hero, who does what he wants, to whom he wants, like attempts to rape the heiress he protects. The films have no moral, are basically non-stop action with a high body count, and are best watched in cheap theatres in double or triple bills. The fight choreography is very raw and actually leaning towards the realism of street fighting, and as such is very far away from the technical symbolic martial arts of Bruce Lee. Another element which differs is the approach to violence, here extremely gory and exploitive, even using the now legendary x-ray inserts of bones and skulls breaking.

Today the Street Fighter flicks are considered masterpieces of Japanese exploitation cinema and Sonny Chiba himself ranks as the greatest karate action hero ever.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 2, 1974

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DVD Comparison:

Brentwood (10 Faces of Sonny Chiba Box) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Optimum (The Street Fighter Box Set) - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for all the Screen Caps!

(Brentwood (10 Faces of Sonny Chiba Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Optimum (The Street Fighter Box Set) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

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Distribution

Brentwood

Region 0 - NTSC

Optimum
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:30:35 1:27:08 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.29:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.42 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.37:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.77 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Brentwood (10 Faces of Sonny Chiba Box)

 

Bitrate:

 

Optimum (The Street Fighter Box Set)

 

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono English dub, 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono Chinese dub

2.0 Dolby Digital Mono Japanese

Subtitles None English, Dutch, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Brentwood

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 2.29:1

Edition Details:
• Looney Tunes: Have you got any castles (6:11)
• Street Fighter, Legend of the Eight Samurai,
• Return of the Street Fighter, Chiba the Bodyguard,
• Street Fighter's Last Revenge, Shogun's Ninja,
• Sister Street Fighter, Dragon Princess,
• Samurai Reincarnation, Karate Warriors
• Number of discs: 5

DVD Release Date: June 25, 2002
Keep case

Chapters 6

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.37:1

Edition Details:
• Stills gallery
• Trailer (2:52)
• Other releases
• Biography
• Street Fighter
• Return of the Street Fighter
• Street Fighter's Last Revenge
• Number of discs: 3

 

DVD Release Date: January 24, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 16

 

 

 

 

Comments Native resolution of the Brentwood DVD is 720px, but as there are black bars left and right, the film frame takes up aprx 705px. Black bars were removed and frame resized to 700px. In order to compare, the Optimum frame of 1016px was resized to 700px.

Both are DVD5 editions, but there is a world in difference.

BRENTWOOD
The Brentwood suffer from edge enhancements, heavy ghosting (even during normal movement), its very bright and lacks detail.

It is dubbed into English (and Chinese) and the dub is simply awful. All the characters have gotten English names, like Takuma (Chiba) now is Terry, and translation is very "liberal". It also has an English title sequence created by Jack Shoulder ("The Hidden").

OPTIMUM
The Optimum is based on a digitally remastered source of the recently restored original version, showing next to none signs of artefacts. It is significantly darker, but has great details and contrast, and while it also has ghosting, it seems only to be during fast movement.

It comes with the original Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital mono track, which also has been remastered. There is no noise and dialogue is clear.

Both editions is the uncut version of the film, complete with gore and the famous X-ray inserts.

 - Henrik Sylow

 

 





DVD Menus

(
Brentwood (10 Faces of Sonny Chiba Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Optimum (The Street Fighter Box Set) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Brentwood (10 Faces of Sonny Chiba Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum (The Street Fighter Box Set) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)
Captures resized to 700px width from 1016px original (Optimum)

 

 


(Brentwood (10 Faces of Sonny Chiba Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum (The Street Fighter Box Set) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Brentwood (10 Faces of Sonny Chiba Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum (The Street Fighter Box Set) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Brentwood (10 Faces of Sonny Chiba Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum (The Street Fighter Box Set) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Brentwood (10 Faces of Sonny Chiba Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum (The Street Fighter Box Set) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Brentwood (10 Faces of Sonny Chiba Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum (The Street Fighter Box Set) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Brentwood (10 Faces of Sonny Chiba Box) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Optimum (The Street Fighter Box Set) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


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Report Card:

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Sound:

Optimum

Extras: Optimum
Menu: Optimum

 
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Distribution

Brentwood

Region 0 - NTSC

Optimum
Region 2 - PAL

 

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