Much of the appeal of Chiba's movies lies with his sneering approach to the ancient arts, where he is far more comfortable sadistically beating a bad guy to a bloody pulp than he is with finding inner peace. This trilogy-closer has upped his mean streak, and made things a hell of a long weirder. The Streetfighter was excellent, Return of the Streetfighter was passable, and The Streetfighter's Last Revenge comes across as a bunch of scenes discarded from the previous movies for being too bonkers. Not only is Tsurugi a near-unstoppable punch, kick and throw machine, but he now dons Mission: Impossible-esque face masks to disguise his identity, and at one point bears vampire fangs for unexplained reasons. There's also a villain even James Bond would chuckle at: A mafia hitman who dresses like a mariachi with a giant sombrero and shoots invisible laser beams out of his hands.
The plot itself is incredibly simple. Tsurugi is hired to rescue Go Owada (Akira Shioji) from a police riot in exchange for a hefty payment. When he goes to collect his loot, he is handed a bag of cut-up newspaper and is attacked by the Owada family's men. Furious, he decides to take revenge on the gangsters. There's also a stolen tape and a master foe in Kunagami (Koji Wada). Noticeably less violent than the previous entries, this third feature shares more in common with a spy film than the martial arts genre. As a result, it's less fun, and only manages to pique the interest when at its most idiosyncratic and just plain daft. It's also nice to see exploitation icon Reiko Ike in a supporting role as Chiba's wannabe sidekick. But ultimately, Last Revenge stutters through a threadbare story, failing to deliver the sort of gory chopsocky that made the original so wonderful. Clearly the weakest of the trilogy.
Directed by: Shigehiro Ozawa
Starring: Sonny Chiba, Reiko Ike, Etsuko Shiomi, Yutaka Nakamura