October Film Fright Fest: Street Fighter

by: “Tiger” Oliver

There are some movies that are scary, then there are movies that are bad. Then, there are movies that are so bad, they’re scary.

Then, there’s Jean-Claude Van Damme’s 1994 cult-classic, Street Fighter.

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When I was a kid, I was appalled at how far from the video game series this was. Now that I’m grown up (and actually know most of the background behind the Street Fighter II characters), I was actually able to finish this movie without going insane. But barely.

Here’s the rundown of the movie: Colonel William Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is leading a multinational military force along side Cammy (Kylie Minogue) against General M. Bison (Raul Julia) in the fictional Asian country of Shadaloo. His vendetta is personal, however, as his friend, Carlos “Charlie” Blanca, was kidnapped along with several non-combat and combat personnel of the Allied Nations’ forces. Bison, if not paid $20 billion in three days, will kill the hostages.

Meanwhile, journalist Chun-Li Zang, whose father was killed by Bison 20 years before the movie takes place, is after the one who murdered her father. By her side is E. Honda and Balrog, a sumo-wrestler and boxer whose reputations and careers were ruined by Bison.

While that’s going on, Sagat, the leader of the country’s crime syndicate, meets up with gun-runners Ken Masters & Ryu Hoshi, with the latter facing Sagat’s business associate, Vega, in a steel cage fight – right before Guile’s forces break up the underground operation as a violation of curfew.

So, kiddies, be thankful you don’t live with William Guile, he will definitely do more than ground your rear-end for not being home before 10 p.m.

Anyways, getting back on topic, Guile recruits Ken and Ryu to infiltrate M. Bison’s operation, unaware that Chun-Li’s group is doing the same thing.

And while THAT is going on, Dr. Dhalsim, kidnapped along with the hostages, is being forced to turn Charlie into a super-soldier for M. Bison via biological and psychological transformations.

In the meantime, Ken & Ryu botch Chun-Li’s attempt to bomb M. Bison’s weapons sky-high, leading the journalist’s group to be put into prison and the hustlers into Bison’s operation, but after all five break free and storm M. Bison’s private chambers (all-the-while gaining costumes that look more like their video game counterparts’) , they all get knocked out by gas. And, somewhere in there, Dee Jay and Zangief are introduced.

Guile starts a military offensive with Cammy and T. Hawk, in which he sneaks in an infiltrates the base, finding that Charlie has turned into the green-skinned Blanca. All this leads up to a final fight scene between Guile and M. Bison in which Guile kills Bison, Bison resurrects, and has his electromagnetic technology backfire as he gets kicked into his huge television monitors after attempting a fifth-or-sixth straight Psycho Crusher, nuking him like a multi-national drive-thru hamburger.

In the end, the whole base blows up, Dee Jay and Sagat run away with worthless “Bison Dollars”, and Blanca & Dhalsim die in the blast. The rest are outside without Guile, who tried to escape the blast but walked out of the smoke. Even Zangief joins them after he helps the hostages and the crew escape the explosion. But, wait, what the hell happened to Vega?!

Anywho, everyone does their video game victory pose and the logo hits the screen. That’s the end.

Now, in my opinion, the plot was undermined by two things. The first is the sheer grandness in which the film-makers tried to make the movie, especially with trying to fit in all of the characters from Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II.This led to the major plot hole of whatever happened to Vega between the Ryu/Ken-Sagat/Vega fight scene.

The second is that, with all the plots and sub-plots going on, it’s like watching a play that’s been produced by a fifth grader with ADD and ADHD on a three-day caffeine bender.

Another major problem I have is the separation from the canon Street Fighter storylines. Ryu and Ken being hustlers? Sagat being nothing but a mob-boss? Dhalsim being a doctor, albeit still a pacifist? M. Bison being a philosophical madman instead of just being a madman? I’m sorry, but the film-makers should have stuck closer to canon instead of this.

That being said, this has some very good acting, at least on Raul Julia’s part. Even with such a cheesy movie, he delivered one of the best performances, one that makes you wonder why the hell they paired him up with Van Damme. Now, nothing against the action film guru, but why not get an American to play an American? Or, at least give him the ridiculously huge hair that his video game counterpart had. Anyways, Raul Julia’s last film may have been corny, but he played his role with all of his heart, and that’s what I love to see in any movie.

One of the other few things I loved about this movie was all the video game references. From the barrel in the tent scene having “Capcom” on its lid and various moves from the video games brought to life to the various background references and the warning message late in the self-destruct scene which (I believe) was taken from the anti-drug screenshot on the arcade game.

Did all these save the movie from being a bust in theaters? Surprisingly so. In fact, this movie made back its budget several times over, despite some bad criticism. Even more surprising, this movie is considered way better than Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.

While not as horrible as Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter will make any video game purist rage with the fury of a thousand hadoukens.

Honestly, this is kind of like one of those B-rated movies: while not as scary or as horrible as other movies, it’s still at least worth a watch.

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One Response to “October Film Fright Fest: Street Fighter”

  1. the actress that portrayed Chun Li is super beautiful, she really fits the role ‘;,


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