Roaring Fire is everything wonderful and perfect and wild and needed in movies. It truly is the very thing that keeps my brains moving, that makes me keep loving film, that says to me that there will always be something new to discover and I ask you, please start your own search for the movies that will blow your mind and share them with the world.
Director and co-writer Norifumi Suzuki also made School of the Holy Beast, a Japanese nunsploitation movie which makes my mind scream in the most perfect joy sounds that can’t be translated into sound, ten of the Torakku Yarō movies and The Great Chase, which is a lot like this movie in that it’s a delight.
Just as we watch the mob execute Toru Hinoharu (Hiroyuki Sanada) in Hong Kong, we also discover that he has a twin, a Texas cowboy named Joji Hibiki (also played by Sanada), who learns that his father is dying and that he was kidnapped eighteen years ago and must come back to Japan to meet his sister and twin brother, who we just watched get shot.
Joji is in Japan for just a few hours when his monkey Peter — yes, the hero has a pet primate — pulls off a girl’s bikini top and that leads to Joji fighting Spartacus, who is Abdullah the Butcher, and at this point, there’s no way I could dislike this wild film. As these things happen, the battle gives the two some mutual respect and as Joji has just had his wallet stolen, he’s soon off on an adventure to find it.
After his uncle Ikeda Hinokaru (Mikio Narita) finds him, our hero meets his sister Chihiro (Etsuko Shihomi, Sister Street Fighter) who can use sound and wind to fight like Zatoichi. He also meets a ventriloquist named Mr. Magic (Sonny Chiba) who uses his puppet to inform Joji not to trust his uncle who soon proves that he’s evil by sending an American boxer and a staff fighter to smash him after he overhears his plans.
Man, this movie feels like the best video game you never played, with German soldier-dressing evil women with whips sending our hero into gas-filled chambers that drive men insane before being defeated by a well-thrown monkey, ninja gangs, bad guys bad enough to shoot heroic women up with heroin, numerous heroic sacrifices and an ending chase that takes up the entire last third of the movie, with Joji not stopping, walking through gunfire, multiple martial arts experts and end boss after boss before throwing a tomahawk at a helicopter, punching a diamond through a man’s eye and then learning how magic can defeat handcuffs.
New Line Cinema released this movie in the United States in May 1982 and changed Hiroyuki Sanada’s name to Duke Sanada. I wish I had seen this when I was ten years old because I would have literally lost my entire ability to speak, walk and display emotions.
You may never want to watch another movie after you see this. It’s that good.
You can watch this on YouTube.