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Monday, January 18, 2016

TV Talk - Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist

I think it’s time to step back into the world of Street Fighter. It seems like it’s been going well for the franchise with the recent games being well-received. Capcom even did a crossover with Tekken and I think I have that one. I’m not sure. When it comes to film, Street Fighter failed twice with the 90’s movie and the Legend of Chun Li. I looked at those two a couple of years ago. Thankfully, I think someone up there said, “That’s it! I’m making a good live-action SF thing actually work this time!” I think that’s how we ultimately got Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist.

Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist was actually directed by Joey Anash, a stuntman and actor. He was the guy Jason Bourne punched with a book (great fight, by the way) in The Bourne Ultimatum. He and others got together to create a short film called Street Fighter: Legacy. Capcom saw this and ultimately granted the team the rights to do a web series in 2012. It took a while to complete, but the series eventually came out in May of 2014. I was supposed to go the gym the day it aired and I when I saw that it was online, you can pretty much guess what happened. I was originally going to review this last year, but then I saw that Machinima didn’t have the series on there anymore. Luckily, I did find the DVD for this at Wal-Mart sometime ago and have viewed it again.

Assassin’s Fist does something that no other live-action SF media has done: actually include Ken and Ryu as main characters! I’ll gripe on this later but I do have to say it. The series looks at what Ryu and Ken in their final training years with their master, Goken. We see them develop into the fighters they eventually become. We even see them have some fun. During their training, their master starts to teach them the right way in using the powerful art of “Satsui no Hado.” At the same time, Goken is worried since the misuse of the art could corrupt them like his brother, Gouki. We also end up seeing what actually happened to Gouki who we eventually know as Akuma.


PROS

As I said before, this is definitely the best live-action thing based on Street Fighter out there. It does what the other attempts didn’t do: stick to the source material. It does its best to represent the game from the looks right down to the fighting styles. It may look silly at times (I’ll get to that in the Cons), but it works for the majority of the time. Besides, who watches a Street Fighter series/movie without everything that makes the franchise cool? You end up getting the live-action movies we got back then. It was also cool to see Ryu and Ken finally get their due. They are the faces of the franchise, so I don’t get why Hollywood sidelined them in the earlier installments.  

The story is good for the most part. It’s Ryu’s and Ken’s origin. We also get their master’s background and Gouki’s background in detail. They tried their best to make all of the weird stuff surrounding the Dark Hadou sound interesting. It was pretty cool to see. I liked Ken, Ryu, and their master throughout the series. You see them at the good times as well as the dark times. Gouki was pretty interesting especially when he turns into an Akuma. I also thought that old crazy fisherman was hilarious. The acting is also pretty decent for a low-budget series like this.
Oh yeah!

 There aren’t that many fight scenes here. What few there are were pretty good. Most of the main guys were stuntmen themselves. I also like how they incorporated certain moves in like the Hadoken, the Shrouyoken, and that Helicopter kick… I don’t know what they’re saying there, okay? Instead of trying to ground them, the just flat-out did the stuff and it was cool. I thought it was also cool that they set it in the 1980’s since that was when the original game was released. The callbacks to the music were pretty cool and got the blood pumping.


CONS

I liked this series, but it did have some shortcomings. While I liked that they stuck to the source material on a lot of stuff, they probably should have changed it up a bit in a couple aspects. The most notable thing is Akuma’s ultimate look.  He does look ridiculous with that red hair. By the way, that’s the director playing Akuma. He did fit the look, but I do think they could have changed it up a bit. I also thought Ryu felt a little bland at points. It could have been the way he was written or the actor who did do a fine job. I also didn’t like some of the slo-mo techniques with the fight scenes.

There is a part of me that wishes that there were a couple of more fight scenes here. I get that the team was trying to tell a pretty deep story, but there were a couple of times where it did get a little dull. This is just a nitpick though because I liked the story. What isn’t a nitpick is the ending. While it sort of ends with Ryu and Ken going on their journey, I’m talking about Goken’s and Akuma’s final showdown. We don’t see it. We get build-up to it and it ends on a dang cliffhanger. I guess it’s supposed to be for later, but I don’t know. Other than that stuff, this was good.

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Overall, this was pretty good. If you are a long-time Street Fighter fan, then definitely check this out. It has a leg up on a lot of video-game series and movies. I even have to say that it beats Mortal Kombat: Legacy in a few places. The story’s good, the characters are likable, and the fight scenes work. I heard that this team is gearing up for another series, so I hope they can keep up the good work and continue to get better. Well, I’m outta here. Peace, God Bless, and “Hadoken!”

Yeah, I had the power back in college... not so much now.

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