Written and Directed by Steven E. de Souza
The Allied Nations forces (because apparently the UN was unavailable) must stop dictator M Bison and free hostages that he is ransoming for $20 billion before time runs out.
I do not think this movie was ever intended to be a good movie. Rather it was intended to be a movie that was so bad it was good. At least that is the impression I am left with. The costumes are cheap. The sets are somewhat better. And the acting is generally not that good. Couple that with a story that does not know if it wants to be a goof or a serious take and you have a film of questionable quality.
There were definitely some budgetary corners cut here. I am particularly thinking of one moment towards the film’s climax. Does it cost that much extra money to film a guy standing up and looking out into the distance and intercut in the actors at a slightly different location? I am not calling for a completely different spot. Just like three feet to the left and imply it is much further away. If you’re squatted down and in front of a 3 foot high wall and a guard or some other military personnel is standing close to the edge of that wall unless they’re looking straight up they will notice you.
The fight scenes are rather slow. They seem measured and it makes them dull. This is based on a fighting game and I would think there would be more energy to them. And given that Van Damme is in it as Colonel Guile you might think we would get some speed here at least at one point.
Street Fighter does get the look of the characters correct. I am talking they look as if they stepped right out of the video game. I dare say it is too close to the game. Whether it be a comic book movie or a video game adoption I want my characters to look like that which inspired them but 100% translation from page to movie screen or video game to movie screen is not always possible or desirable. Sometimes you must tweak the look here or there or put a little bit of money into the costume. They went bare bones in the cost department here. It was cheap fabric mostly made into cheaper looking outfits.
Wisely this movie decides to play it mostly silly. It really is the only option as evidenced by the end product. It doesn’t have the production values it needs nor does it have a good director nor does it have a quality script so to cover all those deficits it goes for the silly or the goofy and those choices help elevate it into a watchable film. I guess they knew it was going to be garbage and then decided to make it the best garbage that they could.
Raul Julia was a phenomenal actor. He was one of those that was just always good. He made his moments in this film better than the rest of the movie. Street Fighter has one of my favorite villain moments in any movie. Chun-Li (Ming-Na Wen) is expounding on why she is seeking vengeance on Bison (Julia) and his response is so utterly dismissive and cold. “But for me it was Tuesday.” That is some great villainy right there.
Raul Julia was just so good in this. While the movie itself is a delightful mess and overall not a good swan song for anybody, he played his part with his usual amount of gusto and passion and amazing skill. He was truly one of the great actors who was only just on the edge of the true greatness he could have achieved. I think if he had lived, he probably would’ve been regarded in a similar manner as Samuel L. Jackson. Samuel L. Jackson is seen as a very good actor but he’s also a very good actor they can do very good in commercial films as well as the more highbrow stuff. Julia was getting there but I do not he had not quite hit that point yet. His death was a genuine loss.
On a side not, is it just me or does Jean-Claude Van Damme look like he is unfocused at times? There are a few moments on screen I swear he looks like he is trying to get it together. I am not talking as the character. I am talking about him personally. His mind seemed to snap back to reality as they were filming. I have read he was on a lot of cocaine when making this.
The acting is generally pretty bad in this aside from Raul Julia. Ming-Na Wen is pretty solid and the Andrew Bryniarski as Zangief is not bad either. Ming-Na Wen plays it appropriately up until the closing scene which I guess is supposed to indicate that she has become the love interest of Colonel Guile? Chun Li is a reporter who’s been hunting Bison and long story short Colonel Guile suggests finally giving her that interview she’s been after, but this is obviously an innuendo meant to imply a date. They barely interacted and her implied reaction to his charms is awkward.
Zangief is the right level of blissfully ignorant throughout the movie. He’s the comic relief and his line towards the beginning when the fiery truck is barreling towards the camp “Quick! Change the channel” is still hilarious.
Street Fighter has a certain charm even though it is very flawed. It is an entertaining if not a mindless film that will put a smile on your face and you will find enjoyable. I do not highly recommend this movie, but I say give it a watch at least once.