Lady Street Fighter - Lady Street Fighter(Blu Ray) [101 Films - 2022]
Lady Street Fighter is a prime slice of badly made action fare, which transcends the genre to create moments of both unintentional humour and entrancing surrealism- with touches of numbly wonky & oddly sexless sleaze. The film was made back in the mid-1970’s, but didn’t get released until the early 80’s on VHS. And here we have a UK release of the picture via 101 Films, as part of the labels new AGFA (American Genre Film Archive) series- taking in a 2k scan, commentary track and a bonus film Revenge of Lady Streetfighter- the never-released sequel to Lady Street Fighter.
Lady Street Fighter( aka Woman In Anger) was directed by James Bryan- who has nineteen feature-length credits to his name between the 1970s and 2010s. These went sexploitation roughie The Dirtiest Game (1970), softcore drama I love You, I Love You Not (1974), cheapie backwoods slasher Don’t Go In The Woods (1981), classic bad action film The Executioner, Part II (1984), comedy sci-fi sexploitation Sex Aliens(1986), and Italian cannibal film meets The Shining Jungle Trap(2016).
The film focuses on Linda Allen (Renee Harmon) who flies back into LA, after her sister is tortured to death by mobsters. We get to see this ‘torture’ is the pre-credits, and in theory, it should be shocking- as we see the naked sister strapped to a table her arms stretched out, having water torture in a starkly lit room- but it’s cut together so badly, in a confused manner with unfitting the mood music- so it comes across more puzzling/ jarring. As we get into the film, we get ham-fisted & badly captured action, like awkward car park fights, undramatic badly lit car chases, sloppily choreograph shot-out & shoddy squib explosions. Around this we have lengthy & largely uninteresting dialogue scenes with characters we barely understand who they are, overlong strip shows footage of bored & unsexy dances with a backdrop of musical monotony, and confusion cutting editing.
Ms Harmon is on the ropier side of middle age and is often difficult to understand due to her awkward and clunky eastern European accent- and she truly is both a terrible actor and action star. The surrounding cast goes from being barely able to string together lines, to so hammy it hurts. The music is very repetitive, though at points oddly entrancing. And while the film only runs at one hour & the sixteen minutes mark, it does feel a lot longer due to the pacing/ odd cutting- but if you enjoy bad movie gold you find much to cherish with Lady Street Fighter.
Moving onto this new blu ray release 101 Films release of the film, and basically, we get identical to the US release from a year or so back. So, we get a 2k scan from the original 35mm print- this looks good enough for what is basically a 70’s made film released in the ’80s. On the extra’s front we get a commentary track from director James Bryan and the AGFA team- and this as you expect a nicely chatty affair. They start off by discussing Trace Carradine, who in reality has nothing to do with the famous Carradine acting family/ was just invented to try and hype the film. Bryan talks about how/ when he first met led actress/ uncredited scriptwriter/ producer Renee Harmon- relating amusing stories to her, like how she took her husband car for doing a flip stunt without his permission. Moving on they talk about how one of the films lead stripper got involved in the project, and her gangster connections. Talk about the film's production- confirming the film was largely shot in March of 1975, and how it finally got released. Later on, they discuss James Bryan working in different genres/ different periods of B movie making, and how he’s always wanted to make bad films that were entertaining. Discussing how video changed independent films in the 70’s/’80s, and how it impacted the director. They talk about Stephen Thrower's chapters in Nightmare USA regarding both the director & Ms Harmon, and general entertaining chat- so a worth a play track.
The other bonus here is 1990’s Revenge of Lady Street Fighter. This runs just shy of the hour and a half mark and is basically the first film recut with a short wrap-around story regarding Linda Allen’s niece (Ruth Peebles) being kidnapped by government officials, then a series of shifting looking talk heads appearing to relate big chunks of the first film. It’s very much in the mould of Boogeyman II, where director Ulli Lommel basically replayed the original Boogeyman- with little or no finesse. I guess if I'd not just recently seen Lady Street Fighter, this may have been an amusing novelty- but as it stands it was rather of a slog to get through….though I may revisit it when the original film fades from memory- but in no way is it a competent or good sequel, with the wrap-around have a very cheap looking 80’s feel.
It’s great to see the American Genre Film Archive series getting released in the Uk, and I’m very keen to check out the next releases in this series. Simply put if you enjoy bad action films and have not seen Lady Street Fighter – this is a must!Roger Batty