Lady Street Fighter has gained some cult love over the years, but often for not the right reasons. It’s a truly terrible picture—just about as bad as The Room. However, if you like that film, you may find some so-bad-it’s-good virtues in this one.
James Bryan, who is probably best known for Don’t Go in the Woods, directed Lady Street Fighter. Bryan was far more successful as a sound editor for much bigger fare, such as A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, My Cousin Vinny and The Dark Half.
The most notable thing about Lady Street Fighter is the performance from Renee Harmon, in which she delivers something between Tommy Wiseau and Tura Satana. It’s the main reason to watch the film, and it’s certainly something to experience. The plot is basically a Pam Grier-style movie where Harmon is this badass chick whose sister is tortured and murdered by some L.A. gangsters. She flies in from a vaguely Eastern European country to get her revenge on them.
The rest of the film is a total sleazefest, and not in a fun way. It’s completely incomprehensible, but it has an insane toga party scene, abuse of celery, and a pimp and an FBI agent who both want information from the lady streetfighter—who, incidentally, never kicks off with a moment of kung fu in the entire movie. It was shot under the equally generic title Deadly Games, then retitled to capitalize on the kung fu craze of the ’70s, but then didn’t come out till 1981, when that trend was dying down. According to IMDb, it premiered in Louisville, Kentucky.
The disc from 101 Films also includes the sequel, Revenge of the Lady Street Fighter, which is mainly just an even more ineptly edited version of the first film with some newly shot scenes thrown in. The first film includes a commentary track with director James Bryan and the American Genre Film Archive team, plus a bunch of trailers and the liner notes for the releases by Annie Choi of Bleeding Skull.