By Drew Parton
This week, upon request, I watched the video game movie Street Fighter, the 1994 masterpiece starring Gomez Addams (Raul Julia) and Jean-Claude Van Damme (Jean-Claude Van Damme).
The back of the box claims that “STREET FIGHTER has the perfect combination of elements to put the magic back into Saturday matinees.” I‘m trusting you, Joseph B. Mauceri, of World of Fandom Magazine.
Don’t you fucking let me down.
Based upon the classic arcade game, Street Fighter, the film centers around shoving in as many references to the game and giving JCVD as many opportunities to do splits as possible.
The movie is about General M. Bison (Raul Julia, who LITERALLY cannot stop chewing the scenery), warlord of made-up country Shandaloo, and his plot to rule the world. Only a group of top-notch street fighters cobbled together by Allied Nations Colonel Guile (Van-Damme) can rescue Bison’s hostages.
The film was financially a hit, but universally panned by critics and fans of the video game. Upon further inspection, I found out that for all of Raul Julia’s hamminess as Bison, he was actually nominated for a Saturn award.
The film is also written and directed by Steven E. De Souza, writer of Commando and Diehard and renowned inventor of the Sousaphone.
Because the original game had a paper-thin excuse of a plot, Souza had to add a whole lot to the story to actually make it a movie.
The problem is, everything he added sucked.
Let’s just start with the characters:
Guile: Okay, so this one is sort of close. Courageous leader, commando, blonde hair. Aside from Van Damme’s accent it’s pretty close.
Sagat: Okay… Sagat’s a crime lord instead of a street fighter now… but at least he’s played by Wes Studi, so we know he can act.
Vega: okay… Vega’s no longer white and blonde, he’s a spanaird. Who doesn’t talk. Or use his trademark mask or claws. Now we’re really starting to stray…
Chun-Li: Okay, this is sort of close. A journalist seeking to avenge the death of her father instead of an undercover INTERPOL agent seeking to avenge the death of her father. Sure.
Ryu and Ken: Well, everyone apparently cannot read (or tries not to), so Ryu’s now pronounced “RAI-YU.” Except, oddly enough, by Guile. While Jean-Claude Van Damme pronounces every other word in the english lexicon wrong, he still manages to mumble out the proper “REE-YU”. Oh, yeah, and instead of entering a tournament to test their training, they’re two con-men who get drafted by Guile in exchange for a pardon.
Zangief: Zangief is no where near his video game counterpart, he’s an idiot Bison minion who thinks he’s fighting for the good guys against the AN tyranny. He’s stupid and narmy but a little lovable and provides some much-needed comic relief.
Dhalism: Okay, so instead of a pacifist who enters the Street Fighter tournament to raise money for his dying village, he’s a geneticist who is captured by Bison to create super-soldiers, which brings me to…
Blanka: Well, originally Blanka was a boy named Jimmy who was the sole survivor of a plane crash in the jungle. He grew up in the jungle and was shocked by electric eels, changing his physique, skin tone, and gave him electric powers (It was a video game in the 1980’s). In the movie, he’s a super-soldier created by Bison and Dhalism.
Yeah, fuck this movie.
The other Minor characters (Honda, Cammy, And Balrog I won’t even mention, they’re Street Fighter characters in name only).
Now that we’re down with that, can we just take a second to talk about the greatest speech in movie history?
As Colonel Guile is preparing to assault Bison’s fortress, an envoy from the AN tells him that they have agreed to pay Bison’s ransom of $20 Billion:
Phonetic transcript included:
True purse, I just received new hoarders. Hour superiors say the war is canceelled. We can all go horm. Byyson is getting ped off for his crimes, and hour friends who half- died here will half -died fuh nothing. But, we can all go horm. Meanwhale, ideas like peas, freedom, enjustice, they get pecked up. But, we can all go horm.
Well, I’m not going horm. I’m gonna get on my boooot, and I’m going up river, and I’m going to kick that sun of a beach Bison’s ass so HORD that the next Bison wallabe is gonna feel it! Now, who wants to go horm… and who wants to go with me?
Despite being the hammiest and cheesiest thing since Cordon bleu, you gotta admire Raul Julia for his performance in this film. See, at this time, Julia had severe terminal stomach cancer, and this would be his last performance, seeing and knowing the end was coming, Julia asked his children to pick which role he should take. And for that we get this beautifully masterful gem:
So at least one person enjoyed this movie.
I do have to say, it is pretty neat to finally see everybody in their video-game costumes for the climax of the movie. And I suppose the martial arts action is pretty neat. But a slaughterhouse has less ham in it. And Helen Keller could deliver more convincing dialogue.
And she never even acted.
Overall, the movie is absolutely terrible. But it’s great, shitty, schlocky fun. I’d recommend pairing this movie with the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie
(Starring Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and the equally hammy Dennis Hopper) and making a night of terrible video game movies (see also: Resident Evil Review).
I don’t know what I’ll be reviewing next week so I’ll leave it up to you guys to suggest another movie.
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