My Name is Terry Sugury. But some people call me... The Street Fighter
Who's Sonny Chiba?
He is, bar none, the greatest actor working in martial arts movies ever.
--Quentin Tarantino, True Romance screenplay.
Sonny Chiba's The Street Fighter is quite possibly the greatest movie of all time.
Now I realize that that's a phrase I use a lot, especially regarding movies where there's a lot of one person kicking other people in the face, but The Street Fighter is utterly transcendent in its violence. The only word that comes to mind is "glorious." It's not just about kicking people in the face. It's about how Sonny Chiba is the baddest motherfucker of all time, and how he can hit a man so hard that it alters the physical laws of the universe.
Also, you can get it in DVD--which doesn't even bother to offer subtitles, which would rob you of the amazing dub--for like six bucks, and there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't. I mean, look at that poster and tell me it doesn't shatter your mind into a thousand tiny pieces.
Sonny Chiba stars as Terry Sugury, a criminal so badass that within the first fifteen minutes, he's killed a guy in prison, thrown another guy out of a window, and then sold that guy's sister into slavery without breaking a sweat. I have to say, it's pretty shocking to see the protagonist of the movie murder someone and then sell their drugged-up next of kin to a brothel, but it pretty much establishes right off that he's what you might call an anti-hero.
What follows is pretty much an hour and a half of constant Sonny Chiba ass-beating, with the following highlights:
1. At one point, Terry not only beats a guy up, but throws him up against a wall and punches him so hard that every one of his teeth falls out. Seriously. One hit, and the guy spits out what appears to be an entire mouthful of white chicklets.
2. Two gangsters drop Terry's car off a bridge with him in it, which only has the effect of making Terry mad. So mad, in fact, that as one guy tries to get up out of a mud pit after being kicked in the face, Terry jumps into the air and hits him so hard that we see an x-ray shot of his fist colliding with the man's skull. The dude then spits out at least a half-pint of blood and promptly dies. It is the single greatest thing ever put on film. During my first viewing of the movie, I had to rewind and watch those five seconds six times, and it never gets any less awesome. Less than two minutes later, he pokes a man's eyes out.
3. After Terry hit the guy so hard it knocked the world into another visual spectrum for two seconds, I was pretty sure I'd seen it all. I mean, where do you go from that? Well, if you're Sonny Chiba, you shoot a scene wherein the hero of your movie rips a man's junk off with his bare hands.
And that's not even getting into the part where he fights the fat sensei with the three-fingered ham-fist.
Just take it from Uncle Chris: