There have been so many movies I have considered talking about, due to how amazingly bad they are. However, it really isn’t interesting to read only about how bad something is. This is why I only talk about the best kind of movies, movies that are the perfect blend of total awfulness and total awesomeness.
This brings us to the topic at hand: "Street Fighter" the movie. I have always loved this movie, but was never quite sure of a few things. Is the movie supposed to be like this on purpose, or was it simply a wonderful accident that it turned out so terribly? Do the majority of the people who like this movie enjoy it because they think it is a legitimately good movie, or because it is an astoundingly entertaining bad movie? And, somewhat tastelessly, but it must be addressed, is Raul Julia buried in the M. Bison uniform? These are questions that need to be answered. And since most people can’t be bothered to devote the free time needed to answer these questions, I guess I will be the one to do it.
As far as the story behind the movie, it’s based on the video game Street Fighter 2. It was a fun game with good graphics for the time, where the basic premise is two opponents beat the hell out of each other. It was strange that the name of the movie itself wasn’t Street Fighter 2, since the original game Street Fighter was awful and no one liked it. I guess if the movie was given the out of nowhere “2” suffix, it would have seemed like a blatant rip off of Leonard Part 6; except, of course, for the fact that Leonard Part 6 is missing one important factor that Street Fighter has. That factor being, of course, the previously mentioned total awesomeness.
I really don’t want to give any more of an introduction, because I want to jump right into action.
The story starts out in the made up country of Shadaloo. It is in the middle of a civil war, with General M. Bison on one side, and something else on the other side.
As you can tell from the art based on the video game, the casting of Raul Julia as Bison is nothing short of genius.
A reporter named Chun Li is talking about the battle between Bison and the Allied Nations army, which I assume is like the European Union for poor people. Bison has taken sixty people hostage, both civilians and from the army. His demand for their release is twenty billion dollars. What? If you’re asking for something like that for only sixty people, you might as well load the executing guns right away, because there is no way in hell any government is going to pay $20 billion for sixty people. They might spend $20 billion to kill sixty people, but definitely not to save them.
The leader of the Allied Nations (AN) army, Colonel (pronounced “kernel,” not “colon-al” as I originally thought it was,) Guile arrives on the scene Chun Li is reporting from. Guile refuses to comment about the war, but decides to address Bison instead. Keep in mind, this part actually happens; it was scripted, filmed, released to the public, and everything. Facing the camera, Guile says, “I know you like to look at yourself on television, you sick son of a bitch, so take a look at THIS, HI YAH!” Then he makes a karate chop arm muscle pose. ON INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION.
Also, since Guile is played by everyone’s favorite All American, Jean Claude Van Damme, none of his lines are spoken clearly. “Son of a bitch” becomes “sunuffbeach.” And so on.
Guile also decides to totally screw up his friend Carlos Blanka’s life by yelling that they were “coming to save Charlie.” So, of course, Bison figures out who Charlie is and decides to make him the subject of a genetic experiment. Good grief.
We then go on to meet the next of the main characters, Ryu and Ken. They arrive in a giant warehouse type building, where some hardcore street fighting is going on. Except it’s indoors, not in the street. Also, it’s in a cage. We then go on to meet the next of the main characters, Ryu and Ken. They arrive in a giant warehouse type building, where some hardcore cage fighting is going on.
They are going to meet Sagat, who is in charge of a local gun running organization. They are doing this, because they are selling guns to Sagat, which makes sense. That is a good reason for someone to meet with a gun runner. See, this movie has a great plot. Ryu and Ken were trying to screw over Sagat; however Sagat pulled the ol’ switcheroo and screwed them over. The ol’ switcheroo meaning Ken and Ryu get jumped by a gang. They are able to beat up the gang, and seem ready to make their escape. However, they are surprised when the gang subdues them with some guns that the gun runner Sagat had lying around.
Back in Bison’s fortress, we learn that Charlie is currently undergoing some mind warping, courtesy of some Clockwork Orange-esque video watching. They are trying to turn him into the perfect soldier, first by showing him looped clips of random violence. I guess that is supposed to screw up his mind, to make him want to kill. I’ve never tried it, so I don’t know if that actually works. They are then going to mutate him, using some Kool Aid looking liquids, which are actually DNA Mutagens and Anabolic Plasma. Don’t ask me how I know what they are, it’s a secret.
Back at the fighting warehouse, Sagat is making Ryu fight the local champion, Vega. Vega would be a pretty badass fighter, since he wears a mask, has long metal claws on one of his hands, and has a giant snake tattoo. The badass factor is somewhat dimmed by the fact that Vega appears to be either a flaming homosexual, an extremely effeminate straight man, or a buff woman. Vega, incidentally, was always my favorite character in the video game. This might have been the first in a long line of effeminate people that I am interested in, including Davey Havok and Morrissey.
The fight is interrupted by Guile driving a tank into the warehouse. This also serves as a good analogy of the subtleness of Van Damme’s acting ability. He arrests everyone in the warehouse, which results, as arrests sometimes do, with everyone in jail.
Sagat has wasted no time taking charge of the prison. And judging by the way they are standing together, he also has wasted no time making Vega his prison boyfriend. Ken and Ryu get jumped again, this time by literally every single prisoner, except Sagat. They also manage to beat up every single prisoner, except Sagat.
Guile gets the idea to infiltrate Sagat’s organization, in order to follow Sagat to Bison. He solicits Ken and Ryu to help him out, but they don’t want anything to do with it. Ryu asks to leave, and Guile replies with a big grin that the only way they are leaving is over his dead body. Ryu and Ken then give each other one of those confused sitcom "Whaaaa?" stares, and the scene awkwardly ends.
The next day, while being transported, Ryu and Ken initiate a prison break by hijacking the prison truck. Sagat and Vega come along for the ride, along with some of the movie’s extras. Guile attempts to stop the prison break, but Ken shoots him. Chun Li, who is allowed to be on the scene for some reason, plants a homing device on the getaway truck, in hopes of catching it later. She then reports the tragic news that Guile has died. Bison sees this, and gets all emotional about it, saying how he wanted to meet Guile on the battlefield. He also bugs his eyes out a lot, and sticks his ears out as well. Although the ears are more of a biological thing than acting; I can’t tell about the eyes.
After noticing that the getaway truck has two homing devices planted on it, Chun Li and her other token minority news team, E. Honda and Balrog, get suspicious. So Chun Li does what anyone would do in her situation, she breaks into the AN headquarters. After sneaking inside, she makes her way to the morgue, and tries to cop a feel off of Guile’s corpse. Guile sits up, makes an awful joke, and reveals to Chun Li what had happened. He had recruited Ken and Ryu, and staged the whole getaway and shooting, with the help of some prop blood packs to simulate his bullet wounds.
Guile then attempts to arrest Chun Li, but she escapes and goes with her team to find Bison. They arrive at Bison’s camp, somehow learn how to put on a magic show, somehow introduce themselves to Bison, and then put on said magic show. Chun Li’s plans go awry when she sees Ken and Ryu, and realize that she can’t blow up the camp with them inside it. Oh yeah, Chun Li plans to blow up the camp.
While Chun Li is off trying to get Ken and Ryu out of there, Bison and Sagat talk business. When Sagat opens the briefcase that contains his payment, he is less than pleased. That is because he is being paid in Bison dollars, which is something of a more liquid form of Disney Dollars. Sagat starts arguing with Bison, which leads to the crowd being split into two sides, Bison’s and Sagat’s, ready to fight. They stand there, ready to go at each other, until they hear noise coming from a closet. This noise is a prerecorded video of Chun Li explaining to Bison that his weapons are about to get blown up. Because when you are destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars of merchandise belonging to someone who could have you and anyone that looks like you (and in Chun Li’s case, that’s a lot of people,) murdered, you want to give him a video of yourself declaring that you did it. And if you are going to do that, you might want to, you know, leave first.
During this part, another legitimately funny line is given by Bison’s Russian henchman Zangief. When they are watching the video of the explosive truck coming towards their camp, Zangief yells, “Quick, change the channel!” At least the writer of the movie knew one recipe for guaranteed laughs: stupid foreign people.
So, Chun Li and her team are taken prisoner, thanks partly to the fact that Ken ratted them out. They all leave the camp, and go to Bison’s fortress. Apparently Bison and Sagat have kissed and made up, possibly literally, which would explain why Vega appears to be in such a bad mood.
From there, we move to the AN headquarters, where the army is planning an attack on the fortress. The plan is to drive a single boat “with the latest in stealth technology” to sneak in. This scene is extra awesome because the only two people who have dialogue in it are Guile and someone named Charlie, neither of who can speak any sort of clear English. Guile of course has the Van Damme effect going, where what he speaks sounds like the English language going through the Ronco Food Dehydrator, then soaked in bourbon, then being spit out. Charlie, on the other hand, has no problematic accent, he just really seems to not be able to remember his lines.
When the army is about to leave, Guile is told by a government agent that the attack is off. The government is planning on paying off Bison. Huh. I guess I was wrong about that. Anyway, Guile doesn’t seem too happy about giving up on the attack, and letting Bison get away with it. He then steps up to the podium, which is always a recipe for excellence with Van Damme, and goes on to deliver the most emotionally charged, inspirational speech ever. It’s true.
So, the attack is back on.
Back in Bison’s fortress, Ken and Ryu are given their trademark red and white outfits by Zangief. We then learn why Chun Li hates Bison so much. She gives a ten minute story about how when Bison was just a petty drug dealer, he and his gang were driven out of Chun Li’s town by her father and a bunch of farmers. On the way out of town, Bison shot Chun Li’s father.
After this dramatic speech, Bison begins one of the more excellent bits of dialogue in the movie:
Chun Li: (long, emotional story)
Bison: “I’m sorry, I don’t remember any of it.”
Chun Li: (very shocked) “You don’t remember?”
Bison: “For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me… it was Tuesday.”
E. Honda and Balrog are able to escape from their cell, and jump Ken and Ryu. This doesn’t bother them too much, since they’ve been getting jumped the whole movie. But I guess that is to be expected when you appear in a movie with the word “fighter” in it. However, they reconcile pretty quickly, and decide it’s time to start the climax of the movie.
Bison and Chun Li keep talking, until Chun Li breaks out of her handcuffs and then begins beating the crap out of Bison. She gets distracted when the four guys come running in, and Bison is able to escape to some secret chamber. He then gasses the five of them, and bugs his eyes out extra far in celebration.
By now, the experiments done to Charlie have made him unrecognizable. He is now huge, with green skin and a giant mane of orange hair. This is the version of Blanka that is familiar to those that have played the game, except for the fact that in the game he looked cool, but looks ridiculously stupid in the movie. The head doctor working on Blanka, whose name is Dhalism, finally decides to man up and halt the experiment. Then, instead of feeding him images of violence and war, he switches the feed to show Blanka images of weddings, dolphins, and babies. Apparently Dhalsim is trying to turn Blanka into the strongest unwed thirty five year old woman ever.
We then go to the river, where Guile is knocking out the radars, so the rest of the boats can attack. That is, until Bison starts releasing mines into the water, thanks to the help of his Street Fighter II arcade joystick. Guile realizes the situation isn’t looking too good, so he decides they should abandon ship. No one in Bison’s fortress notices this, so when the boat blows up, they all think they died. This results in a vulgar lack of subtlety by Bison, who shouts “Game over!”
One of Bison’s henchmen discovers what Dhalsim is up to, and attacks him. This results in one of my favorite movie lines ever. The goon says to Dhalsim, “So you think you’re smart, eh? Let’s see how smart you are when you’re not breathing!” Dhalsim gets knocked around, and winds up getting the mutagens spilled on him. Blanka then escapes, and tosses the henchman around.
After breaking in, Guile gets attacked by Blanka. Guile somehow recognizes him, and convinces him that he is his friend. Blanka asks Guile to help him, and Guile says he will. So, naturally, Guile picks up his gun and is about to shoot Blanka in the head. Gee, thanks for the help, jackass. Guile doesn’t get to finish “helping” Blanka, because Dhalsim interrupts him.
Since Bison never received his $20 billion, he is going to execute his hostages. However, instead of executing them normally, he is going to have “his creation” Blanka do it. But when Blanka’s chamber is raised, it isn’t Blanka who comes out of it, it is Guile. Actually, let me be more specific. It is Guile, who comes out doing flying karate kicks at Bison.
As soon as this happens, the Street Fighter really hits the fan. Bison’s guards, who look like the love children of the Imperial Guards from Star Wars and HISS Drivers from GI Joe, start firing everywhere. Bison commands them to shoot the hostages, but they are thwarted by Guile’s closing of the hostages’ prison door.
All of the important prisoners, the ones who have already had speaking lines in the movie, escape, and start to fight the HISS Guards. Everyone either punches or kicks at other people, or they shoot at other people. That sentence covers about twenty minutes of screen time.
Eventually, the two sides come to a standstill, and their respective leaders begin trash talking each other. I discovered that the trash talk lines that are used in the video game sound cool only when used within the context of a video game. When the lines are spoken by human beings, they sound ridiculous.
Another poor video game to movie translations is the characters’ special moves. Guile starts doing flash kicks, which are essentially kicks in a back flip, Ryu is throwing fireballs, and Bison is doing a horizontal flying attack. In the game, all of these moves are impressive and deadly. In real life, they look kind of odd. Ryu’s fireball, besides being completely random in the context of the movie, looks more like he’s taking a flash picture with his hands than shooting anything out. When attempting to take a screen cap of his fireball, I discovered that the special effects were even more special than I had thought. Instead of using ANY type of computer animation for the fireball, all that happens is the entire screen goes white. That’s it. This is his fireball, frame by frame:
Bison’s flying attack in the game moves quickly, which makes it a good attack. In the movie, he sort of hovers towards Guile; the speed at which Bison flies would give Guile enough time to go online to a video game web site and read up on how to win the fight. And Guile’s flash kick is, well actually it’s pretty cool. So we’ll leave that one alone.
Meanwhile, Ken and Ryu proceed to kick Vega and Sagat’s asses mercilessly.
During Guile and Bison’s battle, Bison starts doing all kind of random things. He starts flying everywhere, with his glowing boots. He also shoots lightning out of his hand, in either a nod to the Emperor from Star Wars or a complete rip off of it. When Bison does another one of his “flying at the speed of public transportation” attacks at Guile, he winds up getting spin kicked in the face. This results in Bison flying into a group of TV screens and blowing up. Guile, of course is ready with another Van Damme gem, “Bison, you’re off the air.”
By the way, Honda and Zangief have been fighting. Honda stops fighting to help get the hostages out, which leaves Zangief to talk to another one of Bison’s goons, the Jamaican Dee Jay. Zangief yells at Dee Jay for running away, to which Dee Jay explains that Bison is actually a complete jerk. Dee Jay tries to explain that Bison had been paying him a ton of money to stick around, but now that Bison was gone, so was he. To this, Zangief replies, “You got… paid?” I told you, he’s awesome.
While this is going on, the army is trying to help the hostages escape before the building blows up. Oh yeah, when Bison blew up, it screwed something up which means everything is going to blow up soon. Anyway, the emergency exit gate is rapidly closing, and it becomes apparent that the army and the hostages aren’t going to make it out on time. That is, until Zangief comes and saves the day, by holding the door open for them.
Guile tries to rescue Blanka and Dhalsim, but they aren’t going anywhere. Blanka doesn’t want to go back to society looking like a freak, which is understandable. Dhalsim is going to stay with Blanka, as some sort of self-inflicted punishment upon himself. Guile questions this, since Dhalsim said he didn’t do anything to hurt Blanka, and that it was Bison’s forces that did it. To this, Dhalsim replies “If good men do nothing, that is evil enough.” Awwwww. That’s one Oscar Wilde - type refrigerator magnet quote right there
Outside the fortress, everyone has gathered to escape the explosion. Everyone, that is, except for Guile. When the fortress explodes, everyone gets concerned, since Guile is their ride home.
Sagat and Dee Jay have made their way outside, carting a giant crate full of money. However, when they open the crate, they discover it is full of Bison dollars. That’ll teach you to think crime pays. Sagat can’t even sell them on eBay to collectors of memorabilia from the movie, since there are probably only three of them.
Then, back at the army’s gathering point, Guile has returned! YAY! He gets mad props from all his main men and women, and delivers a few more jokes that are more painful than crotch punches.
Then suddenly, the fortress explodes, which prompts all of the characters to jump up and do their victory pose from the video game. I know I’ve mentioned other examples of this, and I KNOW I shouldn’t have to point it out in this instance, but this is just another tragic example of the video game translating poorly to live action.
So, there you have it: Street Fighter the movie. That wasn’t so bad, was it? No, it wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was great. Despite the fact that everything associated with it is awful, the movie stands strong. I have already discussed the intricacies of the game based on the movie, way over there.
When I was looking online for merchandise based on the movie besides the game and the action figures, I found some eBay auctions for the video game. I knew the game came out in the arcade, but I forgot which consoles it came out for. Apparently, it came out for the Sega Saturn. This has to be something of a tough sell. First of all, I can’t imagine the demand for the game itself to be too great, even with all of the kitsch demand. More importantly, who the hell owns a Saturn? It sold about a hundred units when it was first introduced, and I would assume the majority of those have stopped working by now.
There were also GI Joe figures made based on the movie. There were also ones made that were based on the game, and not the movie, so I don’t really know what’s going on with that. The only other cool merchandise I found was a trading card set, with a full ninety cards. It was $10 on eBay, and normally that would be a slam dunk purchase for me, but something told me not to buy it. I feel that if I bought it, and made someone else lose, that I would be acting very selfish. I know that if I bought it, I wouldn’t use it to wallpaper my room, and that would be wrong. So, hopefully someone more deserving will win that auction.
My advice to everyone is to go to their local Best Buy and pick this up on DVD for $5.99. Or you can also go on Amazon and buy it for $10, which is what I recommend doing. If you pay four dollars and one cent more for it, it means you will get that much more out of the movie. Of course, I’d probably also recommend dying your skin green and your hair orange, so take what you will from my advice.
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