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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Movie Talk - The Street Fighter Franchise

 Oh man, it's this movie. At least they look the part... at the end of the movie.

No, I'm not talking about the movies starring Sonny Chiba. I've never seen them, but I do remember seeing the movies at a rental store. Today's post is going to be about the live-action Street Fighter movies. There's only two of them, so this shouldn't take long. They are also regarded as some of the worst video game movies and that means I might have a lot to say about them. Ugh... Anyway, I've played the Street Fighter games on the consoles I own or owned and I've seen some of the animated movies or series involving Street Fighter. For a while, I used to own the Street Fighter 15th Anniversary set on the PS2. Unfortunately, some nameless thug stole it and other things during my freshmen year in college.

Background
I don't remember when I saw the first Street Fighter movie. I know I rented it somewhere. It's one I really don't remember much about. During Christmas, my dad was watching it on Netflix (he's a Van Damme fan) and I watched the last 30 minutes. I decided I would steel myself and watch the whole thing yesterday. I then found out that the movie's not on there anymore...Yay? I guess I got enough to say about it without watching the whole thing. I only watched Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li once when it came out on DVD. I think once was more than enough. I'll let you know why below.

Street Fighter: The Movie aka "Street Fighter Meets G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero," "Another Moment Where Gamers Screamed Out In Terror," and "Jean-Claude Van Damme!?!!?! Really???"
In this movie, Col.Guile and other international forces have to contend with an evil leader of Shadaloo called M.Bison. That's pretty much the plot. Sprinkle in everybody from the SF games at the time (except for Fei Long) and you get this movie. I think I know why I haven't tried to seek this movie out. It's not really good for a few reasons. The acting's pretty below average, the story is not that good, and the fight scenes are pretty lousy. It's also not true to the storyline of the game. There's no tournament going on. Plus, Ken and Ryu, the main characters of the franchise, are only lousy side characters. With Van Damme being so big at the time, you can guess who the main character of the movie is going to be.
M.Bision: the best thing about the movie and the creator of the line "Of Course!"

With all of that being said, there is a part of me that kind of likes this movie. Maybe I have a fondness for crude, I don't know. When I was watching it, I was laughing my butt off. The movie is so bad it's hilarious at times. It's one that you really can't take seriously. Everything is just so over-the-top and campy. Raul Julia (in his final role) plays an awesome M.Bison. He's just so over-the-top it's funny. If you take this as a pure comedy based on Street Fighter, you might like it. If you're looking for something that is full of things like good story, grit, and nice fight scenes, you'll be disappointed.

Favorite Quotes:
Zanglief: Quick, someone change the channel!
.......
M.Bison: Of Course!
.......
Colonel William F. Guile: Troopers, I just received new orders. Our superiors say the war is cancelled. We can all go home. Bison is getting paid off for his crimes, and our friends who have died here will have died for nothing. But, we can all go home. Meanwhile, ideals like peace, freedom, and justice, they get packed up. But, we can all go home. Well, I'm not going home. I'm gonna get on my boat, and I'm going up river, and I'm going to kick that son of a bitch Bison's ass so hard that the next Bison wannabe is gonna feel it! Now, who wants to go home... and who wants to go with me?
........
Bison: What's the matter? You come to fight a madman, and instead find a god? Do you still refuse to accept my godhood? Keep your God! In fact, now may be a good time to pray to Him! For I beheld Satan as he came down from Heaven!


Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li aka "What the Crappin' Crap is This Crap?," "More Lana Lang Awesomeness," "Another Live-action Street Fighter Movie That Doesn't Have Ryu or Ken As Leads" and "The Stomach Bug Before Thanksgiving!"
I might be exaggerating a bit on that last nickname. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this movie is not good. It's not even in the "so bad, it's good" territory. I remember seeing stuff for this movie on IGN and even seeing a few clips from it. I wasn't that excited for it. I will say it was cool to see Kristen Kreuk in something again. I rented the movie and saw it once. As I said before, once was enough for me. The movie is basically the origin of Chun-Li. Her father gets kidnapped by M. Bison when she was young. As an adult, she heads back to Asia to get training from Liu Kang... I mean, Gen and to get her revenge on Bison.

I don't think it's the worst video game movie but it sure as heck ain't the best one either. It all just feels bland in a bad way. There's not much worth to it. The fight scenes are actually pretty dull. It also seemed like Chun-Li was able to beat characters like Vega (totally miscasted and misused!!) and Bison too easily. The casting isn't horrible, but it isn't good either. Chris Klein is in this... 'Nuff Said. The story is kind of okay, but it's another movie where Ken and Ryu aren't really around. The most popular characters in the franchise are not even in the movie. Ryu does get a mention at the end though.
Quick! Someone shoot her! Maybe the movie will end quicker!

Maybe I'm giving the movie too much grief. I did think Kristen Kreuk did okay as Chun-Li. It was also cool to see Robin Shou in another video game-based movie. Michael Clark Duncan wasn't a bad choice for Balrog. Neal McDonough was even pretty threatening as M.Bison... in that nice suit... with that beard... No, I must be vigilant. Overall, this movie ain't good. A lot of people, even me, give this movie grief for many good reasons. I'm not recommending this thing. If you want to check it out, enter at your own risk.

Favorite Quotes
... Yeah, I don't have any noteworthy ones. Sorry!

........................

As you can see, live-action movies have not been kind to Street Fighter. There is a little hope though with other media. In my opinion, the best Street Fighter movie is Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie. The animation is well done, the fight scenes are awesome, and it actually even fits with the games. I also have heard of live-action projects called Street Fighter: Legacy and Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist. I bet they have to be better than the live-action movies.

Well, I'm out. If they ever do another Street Fighter movie, there's probably a chance I'll rent it. I have one more movie based on a fighting game to cover and it's from my favorite fighting game franchise. I'll give you a hint: it's not Dead or Alive aka "Hot Ninjas Gone Wild!"

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