Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 15th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1974 (Both Films)
Director: Kazuhiko Yamaguchi (Both Films)
Cast: Etsuko Shihomi, Hiroshi Miyauchi, Sanae Obori, Kenji Ohba, Tatsuya Nanjo, Sonny Chiba, Emi Hayakawa, Harry Kondo, Asao Uchida, Masashi Ishibashi, Hideo Murota
BluRay Released: January 8th, 2008
Approximate Running Times: 87 minutes (Sister Streetfighter), 117 minutes (Sister Streetfighter 2)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Japanese, Dolby Digital Mono Japanese, Dolby Digital Mono English
BluRay Release: BCI Eclipse/Ronin Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 0
Retail Price: $22.98
As a teenager Shihomi was a huge fan of Sonny Chiba’s and after writing him a few times she was invited to join his elite Japan Action Club. Shihomi was of the few women in the Japan Action Clubs ranks and she quickly rose to the top and became one of the best known. Shihomi made her feature film debut opposite Sonny Chiba in 1973’s Bodyguard Kiba and she also had a supporting role in Chiba’s The Street Fighter. In 1974 she would star in the Street Fighter spin off Sister Street Fighter and she would go on to star in the 2 sequels.
In addition to being a gymnast and martial artist Shihomi was risk taker who liked to live on the edge. She liked to leap from his places and for the promotion of Samurai Reincarnation where she jumped from one building to the next to the delight of her on looking fans. As the martial arts craze died down by the early 1980’s Shihomi shifted towards more period films and dramatic TV work. Since 1986 Shihomi has been missing in action from the movie scene and no one has filled that huge void she has left. One would have to look to Hong Kong cinema to find Shihomi’s contemporaries that could match her grace, beauty, and brutality.
Sister Street Fighter: Koryu Lee’s (Etsuko Shihomi) brother is an undercover police agent in Hong Kong who is investigating the smuggling of heroine into Hong Kong. He went to Japan where he quickly infiltrated the drug ring before disappearing. He hasn’t been heard from since and their other contact a woman with a red rose tattoo has also gone missing. Frustrated with the police’s lack of progress Koryu goes to Japan to look for her brother.
Sister Street is a sequel in name only as it has nothing to do with the Sonny Chiba series. Sonny Chiba even has a small cameo as a character named Sonny Kawasaka. Sister Street fighter was directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi who would go on to direct the next two sequels. Besides the Sister Street Fighter films Kazuhiko Yamaguchi is also known for directing Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess and a trilogy of films with Sonny Chiba Karate Bullfighter, Karate Bearfighter and Karate for Life. The screenplay for Sister Street Fighter was co-written by maverick filmmaker Norifumi Suzuki who has directed several genre classics like Girl Boss Guerilla, Sex and Fury, Terrifying Girls’ High School: Lynch Law Classroom, Convent of the Sacred Beast, The Killing Machine and Star of David: Beauty Hunting.
Martial arts films have been known to try to outdo the previous box office hit and since this series is loosely based on the Sonny Chiba Street Fighter series it might come as no surprise that Sister Street Fighter is sleazier, bloodier, crazier and just down right more violent then any of Chiba’s Street Fighter films. Koryu Lee is played by Sonny Chiba Chiba protégé Etsuko Shihomi who unlike her previous film roles gets plenty of screen time and her incredible martial arts skills are used to the fullest. What is most impressive about Sue Shiomi’s skills in Sister Street Fighter is the fact that she wasn’t even eighteen years old when she completed the film. Sonny Chiba has very little screen time, but that doesn’t matter because Etsuko Shihomi is the star of this thrill ride. One of the heavies Hammerhead Masashi Ishibashi also appeared in The Street Fighter and The Return of The Street Fighter as Junjo. This movie is all about action. If you are looking for back story of character development you won’t find it here. Fast paced and well choreographed martial arts dominate this film.
Sister Street Fighter – Hanging by a Thread: A dying man hands Koryu Lee (Etsuko Shihomi) his eye as he gasps for his last breath. His eye happens to a fake glass eye that has hidden micro film in it that expose the culprits of diamond smuggling ring. Around the same time Birei a daughter of a wealthy man goes missing and Koryu a friend of the family is brought in to investigate. She quickly discovers that Birei is being held hostage with several other girls by the same diamond smugglers that were on the micro film. The diamond thieves are using the girls to transport the diamonds by hiding them in the girls’ behinds.
Sister Street Fighter – Hanging by a Thread was made just a few months after its predecessor Sister Street Fighter and many of its key personal like director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi and screenwriter Norifumi Suzuki would come back for this squeal. Once again the opening credits are done with style as we are shown Etsuko Shihomi showcasing her ability with various different weapons in front of several mirrors. The films score likes its predecessor mixes the eclectic with classic compositions. The action is brought up a notch as Etsuko Shihomi cerates some of her greatest moves ever committed to screen. The ever resourceful Etsuko Shihomi totally steals the show in what has to be her finest performance of her career.
Frequently cast as a heavy Masashi Ishibashi who also starred in the previous Sister Street Fighter as Hammerhead returns for this one as one of three assassin brothers. There is also a wide variety of villains and each one comes with their own unique fighting style. There is several instances like the films high flying finale that are reminiscent of the first Sister Street Fighter film. Despite rehashing some of the ideas from its predecessor Sister Street Fighter – Hanging by a Thread stands out as another solid entry in this series and it has enough strengths that I would have a tough time choosing the first Sister Street Fighter over Sister Street Fighter – Hanging by a Thread as the best film in the Sister Street Fighter series.
Both Killing Sister Street Fighter and Sister Street Fighter 2 have been previously released on DVD by Ronin Entertainment via their Sister Street Fighter collection. This Hi Def re-release of these two titles improves over their previous releases drawbacks. The transfers’ for both of these titles looks sharper and slightly more colorful then they did in the box set release from Ronin Entertainment. The biggest improvement for these two films is that they look brighter than the previous release that looked to dark in several scenes. Overall the differences between this release and previous Sister Street Fighter release are most definitely noticeable. Both films are presented in a 1080 Progressive.
Both films come with three audio options Japanese and English. Both films come with a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix and mono in Japanese and a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Extras for this double feature are limited to trailers for the Sister Street Fighter films. Sister Street Fighter gets a much needed upgrade via Ronin Entertainments Hi Def double feature which is priced at a reasonably low price, Highly Recommend.