Street Fighter stars Van Damme as Col. Guile, S.H.I.E.L.D agent Melinda May as Chun-li, Gomez Addams as M. Bison, Kylie Minogue as Cammy, Hawaiian E. Honda and a host of other equally ridiculous characters. Guile and his squadron must stop Bison who is holding people hostage for $20 billion dollars so he can take over the world.
Full disclosure, this won’t be a typical review but more of a comical rant on the silliness of this movie. I love Street Fighter and have been playing their games since I was a child, from the arcade up until PS4. They have also made a few good anime movies, mangas, and a short lived tv series. When this movie dropped in 1994 I was in the 4th grade and ecstatic to see my favorite video game brought to life. That was the first time I experienced disappointment in a movie but it certainly wouldn’t be the last. As most adults learn, time heals all wounds and my disdain for Street Fighter has turned into a wonderful enjoyment of how bad it is. I want to share that enjoyment with all of you for the laughably goofy, misconception of Street Fighter by writer and director Steven E. de Souza.
The film starts off with Ming-Na Wen as reporter Chun-li doing a newscast on the current hostage situation and she gets an impromptu interview with Belgian Col. Guile. Guile is an American military Colonel and JCVD plays him as American as he possibly can, with the worst imaginable accent….because Van Damme is Belgian. Speaking of accents, the ADR is so bad and there are scenes where it doesn’t sync up completely. For those who don’t know, ADR is Automated Dialog Replacement; essentially actors will go to a recording studio and redo their lines over their scenes while the movie is playing because the sound quality was poor during production. ADR is more commonly used than most moviegoers may realize but in bad movies the ADR is noticeable and lends to the poor quality of the film.
The subplot about Guile’s kidnapped military friend is terrible and is meant to make the audience understand his motivations but is outright silly. Bison uses Guile’s friend to turn him into a super soldier that will assist him taking over the world and that’s how we are introduced to the character of Blanka. Blanka does nothing of importance in the movie and if his scenes were removed, Street Fighter would not be effected in any way.
E. Honda and Balrog are introduced as partners with Chun-li for the news and they are a total departure from the game characters. E. Honda is a Hawaiian sumo wrestler in this even though he is from Japan in the game and Balrog is still a black man and former boxer but he’s a hero…..what? In the game and other media platforms Balrog works for M. Bison as an enforcer after he was banned from professional boxing. The ban came after he accidentally killed someone in the ring but it was bound to happen because Balrog was known for severely injuring his opponents and fighting dirty. The guy is obsessed with money and will do anything to obtain large amounts of it including working for Shadaloo and M. Bison, even though he cares nothing for his employers cause. E. Honda is a good guy who loves sumo wrestling and wishes to show everyone that sumo’s are among the greatest warriors in the world. Yet, in the Street Fighter movie they are just a couple of guys working with Chun-li for the news because M. Bison somehow ruined their careers and now they want revenge. I don’t know how working undercover for the news was supposed to get them closer to Bison and it’s never explained. This plan leads to one of the most inexplicable scenes in the movie that makes exactly no sense as to how it came about.
Chun-li sneaks into the base of Guile’s and discovers that he is not dead. Let me give you a quick backstory as to why Guile was thought to be dead; don’t worry, it is a quick and dumb scene in the movie. Ryu and Ken try to sale fake guns to Sagat who is an arms dealer and they get discovered. Sagat then forces them to fight him and Vega but Guile bursts in with a tank and arrests everyone. They are brought to a prison on Guile’s base where a fight ensues and Guile sees that Ryu and Ken are great fighters. He enlists both fighters to his cause and they stage a prison break to get them in Sagat’s good graces and closer to Bison. During the prison break Ken shoots Guile but he was using an exploding blood pack to play it all off. Did I forget anything? Chun-li places a tracker on the escape vehicle and oh yea, Ken and Ryu are con men in this movie. They serve no real purpose other than to show their faces because they are amongst the most popular characters in the games history, but con men? Whatever. Anyway, Chun-li finds Guile alive and he orders Cammy and T. Hawk to arrest her. I forgot T. Hawk is in this movie with the worst dialogue out of anyone, even Zangief and that’s saying a lot. So Chun-li manages to escape out of the window and then we cut to the very next scene…..THE VERY NEXT SCENE, where Honda, Balrog and Li are performing for Bison, Sagat, Vega, Ryu, Ken, and Bison’s and Sagat’s henchmen. how? HOW????? I will begrudgingly accept finding the location because of the tracker but how were they able to get in front of these men? Where were their costumes? How did they convince anyone that they were entertainers? Why was this plan never discussed in any scene before this? WHAT THE F#*! IS GOING ON HERE?
But wait, there’s more! After discovering Bison’s secret location, Guile makes a plan and the troops prepare for war. As he makes his speech to the troops Guile is interrupted by an official for the A.N.(Allied Nations) the group funding their military efforts. His message to Guile is to stop because they will negotiate with Bison and pay him his $20 billion dollars. Of course the colonel is not happy about this and pushes the official who in turn demands Guile to call off the troops and consider himself fired. That leads to this rousing speech which is no doubt the inspiration for Bill Pullman’s inspiring speech to his troops in 1996’s Independence Day.
Van Damme’s speech in that scene comes from the stuff legends are made of and you will find yourself hard pressed to find better acting anywhere……said no one, ever.
Let’s talk about the fight scenes in the final act and how poorly executed they were. First I have to talk about Ryu’s bootleg Hadouken and Ken’s bootleg Shoryuken uppercut. Universal didn’t have enough time or money to insert a CGI blue flash of light but we got the sound and some pure ol’ bulls!#*. Ken’s half-assed uppercut was embarrassing, he didn’t jump into it. That wasn’t the Shoryuken, that was the “you goin to jail now!” uppercut performed by the bus driver in the infamous youtube video where he hit a passenger. That uppercut looked like the one from Mortal Kombat on the bridge stage where you punch your opponents onto the spikes below. Don’t believe me? watch it:
The fight between Guile and Bison was boring and JCVD does his infamous jumping split kick; as usual. He does that kick in every movie and I feel the need to put together a montage of Van Damme doing the split kick just to show how much I’m not exaggerating. Watching Raul Julia in a fighting scene was difficult because he doesn’t fit the role in any way and Julia is not an action movie type. Clunky and awkward comes to mind when thinking about their scene and you can tell the producers saved all their special effects budget for the final showdown. A showdown that disappointed and was a sad send off to a good actors final theatrical release. Julia passed away 2 months before the release of Street Fighter.
Before I go I must give a special shout out to the scientist Dhalsim, Guile’s military friend Carlos Blanka aka Charlie(not to be confused with Charlie Nash who the character is really supposed to be based on), and everyone’s favorite Caribbean Shadaloo tech guy, Dee Jay.
I’m done talking about this movie it was awful and awfully hilarious and that’s not a good mixture for a movie. Also let’s not forget these unforgettable poses the characters strike at the very end of the movie. Good job ladies and gentlemen, “You Win!”
I give Street Fighter a 3 out of 10!
Come back next week and find out the movie I gave a 0 out of 0! I’ll give you a hint, it’s Mario Bros. the movie.