Starring: Jean Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia
Directed by: Steven E. de Souza
Written by: Steven E. de Souza
Release Date: 1994
Runtime: 102 minutes
As most of you already know, the Street Fighter movie is based on the Street Fighter 2 series (as opposed to the significantly shittier Street Fighter game). The thing is, in the game, fighters from all over the world have entered a competition held by M. Bison to see who the greatest fighter is, with each fighter having their own agenda other than winning some trophy. The makers of the movie took a few creative liberties, scrapping the whole tournament idea, and instead making it about a small war-torn nation that, in the dictatorial iron grip of M. Bison, has become the site of an international incident.
Jean Claude Van Damme plays Colonel Guile, who is in command of the Allied Nation’s (think United Nations) forces that have been sent in to take down M. Bison. Most of the characters from Super Street Fighter 2 (at the time, this was the latest Street Fighter 2 game.) made it into the movie. Obviously, not all of the character’s origins work into the new plot of the movie, so more liberties were taken. For instance, E. Honda and Balrog are a news crew for Chun Li, who is a news reporter. Ryu and Ken are con artists, and Dhalsim is now a bio-genetic scientist who never actually fights.
Van Damme’s huge bicep is emblazoned with Old Glory in case you didn’t already know that he was American, which gives him a greater capacity for kicking ass than any of those other puny nations. This is despite the fact that there’s no way Van Damme’s accent is from anywhere near the United States..
As is the case in most action movies from the 80’s and early 90’s, Street Fighter is full of conservative propaganda. In this movie’s case, the propaganda has an anti-United Nations flavor, with emphasis on the idea that the US military can do no wrong, and those who would use non-explosive methods to attain peace are really just playing into the hands of evil dictators. Or maybe I’m just reading a little too much into it. After all, I thought Gremlins 2 was really just a veiled indictment of Fidel Castro’s Cuban Communist Regime.
Movie Quality: From what I’ve seen, making a movie with Jean Claude Van Damme that does not completely suck is extremely difficult (Bloodsport aside). At least after watching Street Fighter, those other Van Damme movies seem halfway decent by comparison.
Faithfulness to the Game: Although there is a whole new plot, a number of moves from the game have been brought over to the movie. These moves include Guile’s Sonic Kick (sans the sonic part), Blanka’s electricity powers, a M. Bison’s flying attack, E. Honda’s Hundred-Hand Slap (minus about 90-95 slaps), and Ryu’s Fireball. That is, if you consider a flash of light to be the same as a fireball, then yeah, it’s in there.