Universal // 1994 // 102 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 10th, 2009
Are you man enough to fight with me?
Just in time for the mega-hyped release of Capcom's Street Fighter IV comes the sorriest chapter in the franchise. Well next-to-sorriest. The game based on this movie sucked even worse.
The diabolical M. Bison (Raul Julia, The Addams Family) is on the march. He is poised to take over the world and it appears that no one can stop him. Except for the AN ("Allied Nations" or something) led by the trash-talking Colonel Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme, Universal Soldier) and his awesome stealth boat. Teaming up with Guile to take down Bison is enterprising broadcast reporter Chun Li, con artists Ken and Ryu and some other assorted Street Fighter characters shoe-horned into the script.
Then there's punching and kicking and loud noise and some guy in green body paint and a red wig and Raul Julia shouts a lot and floats around in his magic boots and someone give me a dragon punch to the throat now for the love of all that is holy.
In the dubious annals of video-game-inspired moviemaking, Street Fighter definitely occupies the top tier, rivaling dry heaves like Super Mario Brothers, Double Dragon, and Mortal Kombat Annihilation in cheesiness and incoherence.
Seriously, where do you start with this thing? When it was released, I was a high-schooler in the grips of Street Fighter II mania and my friends and I were geared to see -- well, we didn't really know what we were hoping for but by the time we walked out of the Riverside Mall Cinema 8 we knew that what we had just watched was not it. Let's start off with the good, or rather, the stuff that's not painfully embarrassing:
1. Van Damme, with the help of wires no doubt, pulls off a couple of flash kicks (backwards flips with a leg extended). Definitely the highlight.
2. The girl who plays Cammy wore a tight shirt and I remember that was kind of appealing for a bunch of horny male teenagers.
3. Um, the dude who was Zangief was tall and had a Mohawk.
4. I'm out.
1. Sure, the game may not have a substantial mythology to work from, but the story the writers glued together here is a joke. Basically a guy who speaks next to no English leads a bunch of clowns in baby blue berets against a man who yells out his lines as if his testicles were on fire.
2. During the transition from video game to film, the characters are murdered. Balrog is a camera operator? E. Honda is a TV producer? Ken and Ryu are Nerf dealers?
3. And then there's Blanka. How do you incorporate a green monster from Brazil who can electrify himself into a live-action movie? You don't! You stick an idiot in a hyperbolic chamber and crazy glue a Virtual Boy no his face and show him looping clips from the History Channel's World's Scariest Dictators and magically emerges as one of those Geico cavemen covered in green paint.
4. The empty shout-outs to the fans: that six-button arcade stick Bison uses control his defenses, the worthless fireball and dragon punch and how the characters inexplicably end up in their video game costumes by the end of the film.
If however Street Fighter appeals to the hopelessly nostalgic eighth-grader inside you, you'll be pleased to know that Universal has delivered a solid high-def release. In the most important aspect, the picture quality, the transfer is a winner. Despite the film's age, the 2.35:1 widescreen is steadfast in its clarity. Details are strong and the color pops; you'll just drink up the blazing blue of those berets. The upgrade is noticeable. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master surround mix is effective in blasting out the cacophonous racket.
The extras of substance are recycled from previous release; in the audio commentary, director Steven de Souza notes the Laserdisc that you're watching. In addition, there are some disposable deleted scenes, including a nonsensical fight sequence between Cammy and Chun Li, outtakes, a making-of featurette, storyboards, promo spots and probably the worst extra ever in the history of digital entertainment, video game footage of Street Fighter II and the game based on the movie, apparently played by monkeys. The hi-def features are all trailers for Street Fighter IV.
The movie's a noisy, corny mess, but it looks and sounds great on Blu-ray!
No. You are not man enough to fight with me.
Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 1994
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Deleted Scenes
* Video Game Footage
* Street Fighter IV Preview