It almost sounds like a bad joke. I mean, can you name one movie based on a video game that truly captured everything that made that game loved enough that people would want to see a film based on it? And with Capcom’s popular Street Fighter franchise, the joke just seems worse. We’ve had two Hollywood films come out that completely missed the point of the game (I prefer the one with JCVD as Guile over the chick from Smallville as Chun-Li), and then there’s the ridiculous Future Cops from Hong Kong, which makes the Hollywood films look like Oscar caliber . But then, we get a film that manages to capture everything of the games, and be awesome.
Released in Japan in August of 1994 by Toei, animated by Group TAC, released in English by Manga Entertainment, directed by Gisaburo Sugii, with action choreography by pro-fighters Kazuyoshi Ishii and Andy Hug, this is the definitive good video game movie. I mean, this film can do very little wrong.
Excited yet? You should be.
After a thrilling opening fight between Ryu and Sagat, where we get to see how the legendary scar was given to the Muay Thai giant, we then jump into the plot. There are essentially four major plot lines:
– The organization Shadowloo is attempting to take control of the world through arms-dealing and drug-trafficking. Among their plans is using brainwashed martial artists as assassins. And M. Bison has his eyes on one choice candidate: Ryu.
– Interpol agent Chun-Li teams up with Air Force Captain Guile, both of whom want revenge on Bison, but must put their issues on hold to stop Shadowloo. Part of that is finding any of the potential brainwash targets they’re after.
– Ken Masters is in a relationship with his girl Eliza, but still wants to settle the question of who is better, him or his old training partner Ryu.
– Ryu travels around Asia, knowing very little of what’s going on with everyone else as he continues furthering his skill, unaware that he stands at the center of everything.
All the other characters from Super Street Fighter II appear during everyone’s stories, and they all get a chance to show off.
The main reason you want to see this film is because of the fights, and they are glorious. Amazingly choreographed, you almost forget that it’s an animated film. With matches happening between Ryu and Fei Long, Chun-Li and Vega, and the showstopping final battle between the team of Ryu and Ken against Bison, this is what you want from a Street Fighter movie. Also, for those of you who want to see it, this film does have a shower scene with Chun-Li. Yeah, this is not for young children, by the way.
There are some things that draw this down, but only a little. The English dub is irritating as all hell. They amp up the swearing (probably to make sure parents know not to let their kids watch this), and the acting in English is just average. And then they removed all the awesome music to put grunge rock in. So yeah, not as good as the Japanese language track.
The other minor complaint that everyone will have is that if your favorite character isn’t the four villains, Ryu, Ken, Guile or Chun-Li, you may not be happy. Characters like T. Hawk and Dee Jay are one scene wonders, and even the ones who return later don’t do as much as they could. Still, at least they all show up and show why they’re awesome during this film.
While Hollywood continues to screw up most game adaptions, it’s nice to know Japan will always have our backs for good game films.
|Awesome animated action and one of the few game movies that knows what you need to make a good film adaption.||English dub and soundtrack not as good, quite a few characters appear for just one scene.|