The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge


This information may horrify many of you who feel that foreign film absolutely have to watched in their native language while your eyes snap from the action to the subtitles like some sort of super-charged game of pong, but thus far, I have been reviewing the Street Fighter trilogy in its dubbed form. Now before you storm the place with pitchforks, hear out my reasoning: the reason I knew about these films in the first place was due to the endless adoration afforded to it by one Quentin Tarantino and so I reasoned I would watch the dubbed versions to retain the full, robust grindhousey flavour that he so obviously enjoyed.
However, when it came to the third entry of the series, The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge, I’d heard reliable info that the orginal language version was the way to go as the American version not only moved whole scenes around, but some of that sweet, gratuitous violence the series was famous for had been censored. Well, it turns out I shouldn’t have been so precious as I could have been viewing it in fucking Swahili and it wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference to the fact that this is by far the least of the trilogy.


Takuma Tsurugi (or Terry Tsugury if you’re opting for going dubbing), is up to his old tricks, brutally caving in the orbital bones of anyone standing between him and his fee after hes been hired to do a typically anti-social job. We join up with him in the midst of a riot as he attempts to punch a crook out of police custody for the mob and bring back a Majors case containing a mysterious tape, however, after completing his job with the aid of his brand new talent of disguising himself with Mission: Impossible style face masks (?) and some good old blunt force trauma, he is double crossed once again.
You’d think that after two films of the Mob unsuccessfully trying to rub out Tsurugi because he knows too much, they would steer well clear of the deranged bastard, but instead they once again find themselves scouting for more assassins because their first choice found out that the tape contains a recipe for synthetic heroin. The weird thing is, Tsurugi doesn’t actually give a shit about any of that – it’s not like the mass murdering goon is going to go to the police – but does take umbrage with being handed a case full of newspaper instead of money and he once again runs the gauntlet of hopeful thugs and gaudy maniacs as they spring out of the woodwork to kill him.
However, matters are complicated fuerher by the ridiculously seductive Aya of the Owada crime family, who constantly beds Tsurugi in order to gain the upper hand and Kunigami, a wild card you uses something called the Lightning Kill Punch, who not only want the tape for himself, but may actually a more skilled fighter than our black-clad hero himself!
Throats are stamped into puree, hearts are ruptured by iron-like fingers and the plot makes as much sense as a Benadryl-powered fever dream as the franchise splutters to a close after flying off the rails completely.


The first Street Fighter movie was a lean, mean, face-breaking machine that gave us a truly ruthless anti-hero to follow in the form of Sonny Chiba’s morally vacant thug who’s raison d’etre is to fuck or fight his way through every situation. Described perfectly in Tarantino’s screenplay for True Romance as “ain’t so much a good guy as he is a bad motherfucker”, unfortunately this third-go-round crosses the line between being a bad motherfucker and simply being just bad.
While the second movie, Return Of The Streetfighter, lightened up Chiba’s character substantially, it didn’t do it at the expense of the wall to wall fights that ran nearly constantly throughout the running time, however, The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge decided to inexplicably turn itself from a playfully vicious kung-fu flick into almost a goofy parody of itself that throws everything off like a particularly spirited judo throw.
First, we’re supposed to buy that Tsurugi, aside from being able to whup any man he meets, is now also a master of disguise and has a selection of rubber masks that allows him to sneak into any situation like a thrift shop Ethan Hunt. As tough as this is to reconcile, things are made worse by the fact the the Mob knows he could be anyone at any moment – and yet still looks shocked when a seemingly innocuous traffic cop suddenly pulls his face off and starts crunching ribcages.


Elsewhere, the cut-price spy movie shtick stretches to the villains too as the movie presents us with possibly one of the worst henchmen I have ever seen in the laughable form of Frankie Black. Despite being a mass murdering Mafioso from Chicago, Black hilariously chooses to wear a full Mariachi costume for reasons that avoid everyone – including the costuming apartment, I’m guessing – and goes on Japanese variety shows, despite being a wanted criminal, to show off his magical powers of being able to shear chains in half with his mind. Of course, it’s later revealed that he has a laser generator hidden in his Three Amigoes-style get up, but surely that raises yet more questions than it answers that – alas – will never be told as Frank and his baffling secrets are roasted alive in a cremation oven in a funeral parlour; it’s how he would have wanted to go…
Now, I realise that mocking a movie for being silly is somewhat sanctimonious when previous entries have featured a dude getting punched in the back of the head so hard his eyes bulge out like ping pong balls, but the tone shift is still incredibly jarring – especially when our newly minted master of disguise chooses to duck out on a date by pretending to be Dracula. No, I’m not kidding. Dangerously approaching the camp of Adam West’s Batman at all times, the shift in tone all but erodes every bit of cool the series had amassed to that point – although some of those anti-hero credentials still manage to soak through.
“Go put on your make-up and start husband hunting!” is Tsurugi’s sensitive advice to a female assasin who suddenly switches sides and he still breaks out the odd burst of uber-gore every now and then, especially when he crushes a man’s throat under his heel until the poor swine is almost decapitated.


However, the occasional deranged laugh and an admittedly cool final fight aside, The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge proves to be a massive disappointment when compared to its flexing, snarling predecessors that no amount of nudity, death blows or laser shooting Mariachis from Chigago can fix.


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