Grindhouse Double Feature - Episode Three : King Boxer and The Street Fighter
King Boxer (aka the Five Fingers of Death Aka the Invincible Boxer)
Shaw Brother's Kung Fu classic. Released by Warner Brothers in March of 1973, it was the first Hong Kong martial arts import to gain international success, beginning the kung fu explosion of the 1970's. Paving the way for for Bruce Lee's success with Enter the Dragon. Five Finger's developed an immediate cult following in the U.S. The film sampled the theme from the television series Ironside played during several of its fight scenes, which Quentin Tarantino referenced by repeating it's same use in his Kill Bill films.
Asian martial arts star Lo Lieh stars as a young martial arts student, Chi-hao. When I rival school, with the help of hired assassins, threatens to take over; his master sends him to study with a superior master, to learn the "Iron Palm technique, in order to defeat the opposing school in an upcoming tournament. Well choreographed action set pieces combine with more melodramatic story elements of loyalty, betrayal, revenge, and redemption, giving it a more universal appeal beyond that of just simply kung fu fans.
Dragon Dynasty has recently released a newly remaster widescreen transfer to DVD, under it's original title, King Boxer. However, to it's many diehard fans it will always be know under the more exploitative title, "Five Finger of Death", given to it by Warner Brothers.
The Street Fighter
After the worldwide success of Enter the Dragon, there was a scramble among studios to find the next Bruce Lee. Shinichi "Sony" Chiba was already well known in Japan, having starred in several action movies, comedies, dramas, as well as numerous television shows. Chiba stars as Terry Tsuguri in the english dubbed version; Takuma Tsurugi in the original Japanese language.Tsuguri is a martial arts mercenary for hire. As the movie begins Tsurugi is rescuing a condemned man, Tateki Shikenbaru, from prison. However, the man's brother and sister make the mistake of reneging on payment, ending in tragedy for them, causing their brother to see revenge. Meanwhile, when Terry turns down the Yakuza attempt to hire him to kidnap the daughter of a recently deceased oil tycoon and instead vows to be her protector becoming a one-man army against the mob.
Well known for its graphic violence, Street Fighter was the first film to receive an X-rating solely for violence. The most controversial scene being one in which Tsurugi castrates a rapist with his bare hands. Reportedly this along with few other scenes earned it the X-rating. 16 minutes were cut from the film in order to obtain an R-rating. It went on to spawn two sequels, Return of The Street Fighter and The Street Fighter's Fighter's Last Revenge. It also inspired a spin-off, Sister Street Fighter, which its self earned a series of sequels.
Street Fighter received a small amount of mainstream exposure in the early 90's in the movie True Romance, which features the two lead characters spending time watching a Street Fighter marathon. This small tribute is once again owed to Quentin Tarantino who penned the original script for True Romance.
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