Women Over the Influence Vol II: Grindhouse
Sister Street Fighter
Opens Nov 20, 2020
After the massive success of THE STREET FIGHTER, Japanese studio Toei built a new karate series around a female lead, casting a young actress who'd appeared in a cameo alongside her mentor Sonny Chiba in the origin film.
Still a teenager at the time, Etsuko Shihomi exploded onscreen and created a new character type: a tough fighter who was fierce, fearless, good-hearted, and decidedly non-sexualised — a departure from Toei's typical formula.
Shihomi is the half-Chinese, half-Japanese Li Koryu, who travels to Yokohama to investigate the disappearance of her undercover cop brother. Li discovers a smuggling ring run by a drug lord with his own personal army of deadly fighters, and must penetrate his evil lair with the help of a fellow karate master (Sonny Chiba).
Genre entertainment of the highest order, the Sister Street Fighter films are a wild ride through some of the best exploitation cinema Japan produced in the 1970s. Funky and over-the-top, filled with wall-to-wall action, and featuring some of the craziest villains ever depicted onscreen, the series embodies female power in a male-dominated genre and is a magnificent showcase for the physical presence and martial arts skills of its lead star.
Restoration courtesy of Arrow Films and the American Genre Film Archive.