Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 13th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1982
Alternate Title: Hoero! Tekken
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen
Director: Norifumi Suzuki
Writers: Shinsuke Inoue, Masakazu Shimura, Norifumi Suzuki
Cast: Hiroyuki Sanada, Sonny Chiba, Etsuko Shihomi, Mikio Narita, Abdullah the Butcher, Seizo Fukumoto, Masashi Ishibashi
Synopsis: On his death bed the man who raised Joji reveals that he is not his real father and that Joji’s real parents died tragically in a plane crash. Shortly thereafter Joji goes to Japan is search of his sister and his twin brother Toru. Joji’s quickly finds his sister Chihiro who is now blind and lives with their uncle. Joji one evening accidently over hears his uncle who has ties to the criminal underworld discussing his various illegal operations. Joji ‘s eavesdropping is discovered by his uncle who offers him a chance to join the organization. Joji promptly turns his uncle’s offer down which immediately puts his life in danger.
Roaring Fire was directed by renegade filmmaker Norifumi Suzuki who diverse filmography includes several sexually charged exploitation classics like Star of David: Beauty Hunting, School of the Holy Beast, Terrifying Girls’ High School: Lynch Law Classroom, Sex and Fury, Girl Boss Revenge, Girl Boss Guerilla and Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee’s Counterattack. Norifumi Suzuki worked with Sonny Chiba six times The Killing Machine, The Track Guy’s Bravery, Shogun’s Ninja, Roaring Fire, Kabamaru the Ninja and Kotaro to the Rescue.
The plot for Roaring Fire is not to straight forward with everything coming together and making sense by the final curtain. Despite some of the plot’s shortcomings it does more than make for with its numerous high flying martial arts sequences most featuring Hiroyuki Sanada. One of the films’ most memorable fighting scenes involves a character named Samson played by Abdullah the Butcher a former professional wrestler. Abdullah the Butcher imposing size makes for some very interest fights.
Roaring Fire is not just all action and no fun. The film features many wonderful comedic moments like a scene were Hiroyuki Sanada as Joji returns to his family home. There is a groups of girls wearing bikini’s who now like there and during a confrontation with them he accidentally rips off a few of their tops. Possible the most outrageous moment in Roaring Fire is when Joji is being chased by some ninja’s who are not that skillful.
Visually Norifumi Suzuki once again puts together another solid exploitation film. Sonny Chiba appears in the film as a ventriloquist/magician who later reveals that he is an undercover Interpol agent. Sonny Chiba’s performance while not a leading role it is still more sizable than some films were he just appears in one or two scenes. The star of Roaring Fire is Hiroyuki Sanada who really shines in this film. The fighting scenes in Roaring Fire rank among Hiroyuki Sanada’s are some of his best. Etsuko Shihomi is cast in the role of Joji’s sister Chihiro. Etsuko Shihomi’s still has the grace and dynamic fighting skills of all her male foes even though she is blind. She uses the sound around her to defend herself against all attackers. One of the most disturbing moments in Roaring Fire is when the bad guys turn music thus disrupting Chihiro’s ability to hear them coming at her.
Seizo Fukumoto’s is mesmerizing as of Joji’s demented uncle who will stop at nothing from obtaining a diamond that will help him pay for the drugs he sells. Besides selling drugs Joji’s uncle also has a Nazi fetish. One of his hench-women tries to kill Joji and Reika by unleashing Auschwitz like gases upon them. These parts of the film add shock value and nothing more. A few familiar faces from other Sonny Chiba films appear in Roaring Fire. Masashi Ishibashi who most martial arts fans remember as Junjo from The first two Streetfighter films and Mikio Narita (Message from Space). Ultimately Roaring Fire is a thrilling martial arts film that makes up for its weak plot with its superb action sequences.
Note: Roaring Fire is scheduled for a DVD release from Toei in Japan (region 2) on November 21st, 2008.