Of Lasers and Sombreros

Protesters descend on a political meeting in the opening scene of The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge. Each shouts a prescient plea to protect the environment, while a corrupt politician signs an order letting a chemical company do as they wish. Of course, this decision involves money. Everything in Street Fighter’s Last Revenge does.

While confusing and twisting, all those involved in this greedy enterprise will meet their end. Raw capitalism began to weigh on a dwindling economy during Japan’s ‘70s. All those looking for a payout in exchange for favors – and those double-crossing others – end up with a bloody death. Or, even a cruel death. Sort-of-hero Takuma (Sonny Chiba) cremates one guy alive. Ouch. From the Street Fighter series, this is the most direct attack on then current Japanese economic perils. Add in the environmental concerns as Japan reached a zenith of industrialization and this movie finds its social pulse.

This third film takes some liberties with the series, except for the violence of course; plenty of blood is spilled. Now Takuma acts like Bond. That wasn’t uncommon for Japanese cinema at the time. Infusing pieces of western cinema was seen as a way to draw patrons. Even Godzilla brought Bond elements into the fray.

Street Fighter’s Last Revenge celebrates a touch of independence from the other two films

Takuma lives in a high-tech apartment, where his phone acts as a switch to open a nifty lair, stuffed with face masks and classy suits. He spent the money gained from his previous adventures well. Unlike Bond though, Takuma lacks the moral clarity of Ian Fleming’s spy. For Takuma’s part, he’s a misogynistic jerk, using women for their bodies. Street Fighter’s Last Revenge features plenty of nudity, with female girl-boss star Reiko Ike spending a good chunk of this movie topless. It’s crude material, as was the Street Fighter norm.

It’s still wacky too. With Bond in tow, one of the villains, for some bizarre reason wearing a sombrero, uses a laser beam weapon. Takuma uses Mission: Impossible-like masks (the TV series leaving US airwaves only a year before), and looks sharp in a formal suit. Street Fighter’s Last Revenge celebrates a touch of independence from the other two films, arguably for the worse, but at least explores a method to push the series somewhere new.

The inherent flaw here is the routine boredom. Less in on action than it is seedy meetings with corporate types and political figures, Street Fighter’s Last Revenge meanders along. Violence is the reprieve, and the shock of seeing someone’s head bust open in a gush of blood subsides. Maybe laser beams and sombreros were the future. But this was the farewell as the series already spun-off into the energized Sister Street Fighter. That was probably for the best.

sonny chiba image


Two versions of the movie reside on the disc. There’s a shorter US cut (losing four minutes, with some editing revisions added too) and the longer Japanese edition. Note the latter inserts additional footage in SD. Those scenes look awful, even worse than expected with heavy noise reduction and no apparent color correction. But…

… the Japanese original displays cleaner and sharper imagery. Not to take anything from the English edition – with only heavier grain (and notably clean encoding) – but the source material looks outstanding. At its peak, this looks the best of the three films in this set. Clarity is peaked, from what looks like a better, higher-grade film stock than prior.

Minimal levels of damage stick around. That’s mostly a few specks of dirt or some occasional scratches. Nothing worse shows up, leaving room for exceptional fidelity. Some of the dock scenery during the finale is superlative, some top-end ‘70s era material. The same goes for many close-ups and their exquisite definition.

Brilliant color also shows up. A major fight near the end takes place during a torrential rain with characters wearing rain coats in a variety of bright primaries. They stand out from the night sky and weather, vivid as possible. It’s debatable if reds go too far, with a small bleed, if not too severe. The trade-off is worth it.


Both native and international cuts use DTS-HD. Again, the winner is the Japanese version. While analog and slightly dated (obviously), the awesome theme music strains only little. Dialog clarity offers some precision.

Muffled is the kindest term for the dub. Music sits too low, sounding squished against the overly bright dialog. For a truer-to-form grindhouse offering though, this is the preference.


Trailers for both editions. That’s it.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Street Fighter's Last Revenge
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Wild and different, The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge is on its last legs, but finds a pulse in attacking Japan’s local corruption.

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