Hell Punch

The culmination of two previous Sister Street Fighter grindhouse kung-fu epics liberally borrows from its predecessors. Return of the Sister Street Fighter digs into all aspects of Japanese criminal enterprise: sex trafficking, drugs, and valuables.

Return of the Sister Street Fighter is the same movie. A bit shuffled, but the same. The elements won’t lie. A kidnapping -again – sends star Etsuko Shiomi from Hong Kong to Japan – again. The villain imports gold from Taiwan to make his fortune (that was diamonds in Hanging by a Thread). There’s a scene in a strip club for the sake of nudity as Shiomi sells flowers, a shot-for-shot replica of the prior movie.

Shiomi ends up hung upside down; there’s a fake out fall into water; a bad guy turns to Shiomi’s side; a phone call sets up a trap; the seedy villain uses Shiomi’s target for sex; Return of the Sister Street Fighter doesn’t offer an original idea anywhere in its script.

That said, it’s copying a goofy, wild formula. Giving Return of the Sister Street Fighter a pass for putting an Asian man in black face (with an obvious, cardboard shield in hand) isn’t all possible, yet that passes quickly. From there, Return of Sister Street Fighter displays scene after scene of mayhem. While not as violently imaginative, the plethora of blood squibs and phony kills carry their charms.

Return of Sister Street Fighter displays scene after scene of mayhem

There’s no reason for this series to change. By bringing the criminal elements together, Return of Sister Street Fighter ambitiously – and colorfully – sinks deep into the country’s then problematic swell of opportunistic illegal trades. While utterly artificial in the action, there’s earnestness in depicting a drug addict pleading for her next hit. Tears flow as a woman is raped. By casting a young girl, the impact of the lawlessness spreads to another generation.

Of course, little time is spent on social reflection. Shiomi runs into one assailant then to another (it’s remarkable how easy she is to find). The bevy of battles here contain the usual flourishes, if flat compared to Sister Street Fighter’s prior scrums.

Energy comes from the killers themselves – never smart enough to attack together – a wild array of western tropes, martial arts goons, and one Bruce Lee knock-off. Even the kingpin is an oddity, a supposed cripple with an electrified, golden hand. He picks his favorite thug by impaling a moth resting on an overhead lamp. When the knife falls, the selection is made. That’s the logic at play, which is to say, there isn’t much at all. But saying that comes from a place of love.


Beautiful in color, the saturation gives an immediate presence to this sequel. Shiomi spends the opening credits (as per series tradition) performing a kata against solid-colored backgrounds. They look great. Once into Return of the Sister Street Fighter, costume variety and overly bright sets keep the imagery moving.

High contrast makes for an appealing aesthetic, with no real signs of dimming from age. Shiomi’s friend wears a white suit in the early scenes, sun glistening from those clothes. Return of Sister Street Fighter rarely utilizes the seedier scenery of before, but when featured, image density reaches appreciable depth.

The source print suffers minimal damage. A speck here or there is hardly worth noting. Arrow’s work in compressing the grain structure (when paired on the same disc with two other films) is marvelous. There’s no sense of this being digital. Film-based qualities stick out.


Thin, flat, and scratchy define this PCM mono track. Japanese-language only, dialog hisses as it passes through the speakers. Nothing is lost, so much as stuck in a fog of age.

Most of the score slips into the background, murky and reedy. There’s no support for bass, and highs barely hold together. Return of the Sister Street Fighter sounds every bit the grindhouse flick it is.


A select isolated score runs for 10-minutes, with notably excellent fidelity compared to the movie.

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Return of the Sister Street Fighter
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A highlight reel of its predecessors, Return of the Sister Street Fighter isn’t one for original ideas, but it’s still a goofy blast of fun.

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