Street Fighter II The Animated Movie

This anime film from 1994 is based on the massively popular martial arts beat ’em up game Street Fighter II.  I gotta say, as a big fan of the video games and reminiscing about the film from when I was a kid – I was pretty damn excited to watch this again!

The movie obviously revolves around the Street Fighter universe, focusing on the global effects of Bison’s operations behind his group known as Shadow Law (in this particular dub).  Bison uses his ‘psychopower’ to brainwash elite fighters to fight for him whilst enhancing their abilities.  His main motive is to catch a fighter named Ryu, who caught Bison’s attention after defeating his top fighter, Sagat.

While Bison launches his search for Ryu, Interpole agent Chun Li and US Air Force Captain Guile start their investigation in order to destroy Shadowlaw.  Meanwhile Ryu roams around South East Asia while his trainingg partner Ken gets himself noticed by Bison.

Bison then captures Ken and brainwashes him to fight against Ryu, in order to recruit both men who are considered to be equally as talented.

This is how it’s done!

Forget the atrocious Van Damme take on Streetfighter, and the extremely average ‘Chun Li’ movie made in recent years – this is a movie so true to the franchise and tells it’s story with terrific pace and excitement!

Ryu's Hadouken

When this film was released the video game ‘Super Streetfighter II’ was the most recent addition to the franchise, so they’ve managed to include a fight with every character from this game.  There’s even a glimpse of Akuma in the background of one of the scenes in this film (keep an eye out 😉 ).  The character design is pretty much exact to the original and even the very moves they use a close to those available for use in the games.

While the story isn’t the greatest, this movie does dig into some of the past of the characters.  We are introduced to Ryu as he fights Sagat, giving him the famous chest scar he’s sported for years.  Ryu’s trainig background is explored further with Ken’s, as we are shown flashbacks of both men as young adults sparring and learning – even showing us how Ryu acquired the famous red headband he wears everywhere.

What’s truly interesting is contrast in personality type between Ryu & Ken.  

Ryu is truly the passive and peaceful fighter while Ken is the competitive and more aggressive of the two.  This furthered by the distinct visual difference between the two men (hair color, nationality, gi color, etc).  We see Ken constantly thinking about his match withRyu, wanting to see who is the best of the two while Ryu wanders the world fighting when necessary and helping those in need.

This contrast is what makes both of the characters interesting but also makes them a top team when they work together, as each of their strength’s assists the other’s weaknesses – this is what it boils down to when both men must work together fight Bison.

The Martial Arts and Action

In my opinion this has some of the best animated fighting I have ever seen.

While it’s true the ‘Hadouken’ and many other supernatural moves are all common place in this film, there is also good balance of authentic martial arts movements in the fight.  We see Karate punches and kicks being thrown by the Japanese trained Ryu and Ken, but also stylized stances and attacks by the other fighters and their styles – drawn to look quite technically accurate.

On top of that the fast adrenaline rushing pace of the fights is masterfully animated to bring as much excitement as any other fight film I’ve seen.  Backed up by a hard hitting soundtrack (on the US dub) each fight scene is not only brilliantly presented but has an added element of urgency and excitement is as the tone of the music creates an exciting atmosphere.

The fights are presented constantly as they try to showcase every character in action at least once, but all of them are done extremely well.  But the best fights are the ones which include Ryu, Ken or Bison with my favorite being the battle between Chun Li and Vega.  This home invasion style fight seems as vicious as any and is fought right up until each character’s very last breath.

Do I recommend it?

Hell yes!  This movie is not without it’s shortcomings but overall it’s strengths (in my opinion) far outweigh them.

The story is pretty thin but who cares? The fights are fantastic and the movie is full of action.  The link to the franchise is true to any fan’s hopes.  If you like Streetfighter, you MUST see this.

You can pick this up on Amazon if you want to see it 🙂

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