This week I was able to borrow a copy of Street Fighter: The Movie from a friend at work. It had been decades since I had seen this movie and I remember liking it. Again that was in 1994 and I was all of 13 years old, so my perspective may be skewed. Recently I watched the Mortal Kombat movie on Netflix and was pretty underwhelmed at that flick. I also remember seeing that movie in the theaters and liking it. This gave me little hope that I would enjoy a rewatch of the Van Damme action packed classic.
But guess what? I actually did enjoy rediscovering this much maligned video game adaptation. It's actually a pretty decent action flick, if you know what you're getting into. Yes it is cheesy, yes the acting is iffy, but here are a few reasons why I had fun watching Street Fighter: The Movie!
1. The action sequences were surprisingly well done!
With a movie based on a fighting game you would expect it to be full of great action sequences...and it is! The fights between Vega/Sagat & Ken/Ryu and the final fight between Guile & Bison are just a few of the cool sequences in this flick. In addition to a huge smattering of fighting the movie balanced some comedy in there to make it a fun journey through Shadaloo in the name of freedom!
2. Raul Julia is fantastic as a villain
The dialogue Julia spits out is absolutely insane and the facial expressions he exudes could only have been done by him. Some of the casting in this flick are suspect, but the crew really nailed it when they hired Raul for his last performance before he passed. The above clip where Chun Li pours her heart out over her deceased father is played off wickedly by Julia as he responds with the best FREAKIN BRILLIANT line in the entire film. "For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday."
3. The Characters were made to look like their counterparts
Most people gripe that the characters in movies based on beloved franchises never really look like the source material (ex. Masters of the Universe). But the people who worked on Street Fighter: The Movie did their due diligence and had each character look as close to the game version as possible without being too over the top. The one exception would be Dhalsim, he looks nothing like he did in the game, but in the movie makers defense it would be pretty hard to pull off the look of a skinny, bald yogi who shoots fire from his face back in '94! Also, I give them credit for trying to make Blanka look imposing, but he comes off looking like a demented Battle Trolls doll!
4. It gave us this absurdly awesome music video!
The soundtrack to Street Fighter: The Movie by Priority Records had some big names on it including Ice Cube, NAS, LL Cool J and The Pharcyde. None of their songs got music videos, but this tight collaboration between MC Hammer & Dion Sanders did and it is magnificent! The video for "Straight To My Feet" features cameos by many of the actors in the film, most notable are the scenes where Jean-Claude Van Damme himself dances alongside Hammer! Great stuff in here! The album sold over 500,000 units and topped out at #135 on the Billboard 200 list.
5. It left me wanting more!
After the destruction of Bison's headquarters the good guys celebrate...maybe a little too soon! In a post credits scene I just found out about, the hand of Bison pushes through the rubble and rises triumphantly to set his computer back to "World Domination" mode! What had me excited was the blue glow coming from Bison. This reminded me of his special moves in the game where his fists would glow before landing in an unsuspecting opponents face. Could he have been doused by some of the chemicals and gained super-natural powers? Director Steven deSouza said he left out these elements in the first movie, but was open to exploring them in the sequel. Maybe if the movie had made more money ($33,423,521 domestic total), we would have had a super powered sequel? I guess, sadly, we will never know! All we can do is play out these "What If?" scenarios in the Street Fighter: The Movie video game by Capcom.