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aka - Street Fighter
USA 1975
Directed by
Walter Hill
90 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Hard Times

Down to his last six dollars, Chaney (Charles Bronson) rides into New Orleans in a car of a freight train and stumbles across a bare knuckle boxing match organised by the smooth-talking Speed (James Coburn). Chaney offers Speed his fists and so a business partnership and friendship of sorts is formed.

Whilst it is quite a different film, in spirit Walter Hill’s debut feature owes a good deal to The Sting (1972) in its evocation of small-time gamblers and knockabouts in Depression-era America, not to mention the pairing of two male characters, albeit of lesser celebrity stature than George Roy (no relation that I know of) Hill’s film.

As an action film, by today’s standards it is decidedly tame but the pairing of Bronson and Coburn works well. Bronson was quite a pioneer of the “hard man” character which has its root in John Wayne screen persona – a free wheelin' loner of few words, handy with his fists and with little time for the sentimental ways of dames - and he is very effective here, managing to get through the film with very few lines of dialogue. Opposite him Coburn is equally strong as the garrulous charmer who can’t keep out of trouble. Bronson's wife, Jill Ireland, plays Lucy, an improbably attractive working girl in a romantic sub-plot that ekes outs the meagre narrative.

To his credit Hill plays the slight story straight down the line and the fight sequences are well-realized although from a production design point of view as a recreation of 1930s America the film is far from convincing.

DVD Extras:Theatrical Trailer; Talent Profiles

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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