The Street Fighter (激突！殺人拳): a highly skilled martial-artist is betrayed by mobsters, so he offers up his protection to their next target. What knocked me out is that the centre of this exploitative, ultra-violent, B-movie there’s a layered, intricate, badass, mercenary anti-hero – a great performance from Chiba, who does his complex character justice. There’s a whole lot of playing on the mystique of Karate (techniques, block breaking showboating, large-scale training etc), and more generally the exotic east. The fights and clever stunts are all mighty-fine from the opening through to the ‘boss fights’, and knockout ending: although most are accompanied by some peculiar primal/pneumatic sounds and facial expressions on Chiba’s part. The story’s simple but effective and contains some surprisingly dark and seedy aspects – assassins, mafia, firing squads, prostitution – pretty hard stuff for this era. The direction is also top-rate: stylish and flashy when it needs to be, and no-nonsense handling of the action scenes. Put it all together and this is quite simple a masterpiece in Kung-Fu cinema – blood, guts and tons of action that still feels both shocking and brutal 40 years on. The Street Fighter is an absolute must-see for all fans of action cinema.