Oh yes, I went there…
…to the hilariously horrendous 1994 live action Street Fighter movie, starring a blond Van Damme!
Based on the video game Street Fighter II (apparently), we follow Kernel Guile, the quintessential American soldier (played by a guy with a thick accent named Jean Claude) who is out destroy his powerful nemesis Bison.
Of course, along the way he busts up an illegal operation and arrests two guys – Ryu and Ken, who are trying to do the dodgy on a Crime Lord named Sagat and his top fighter Vega. Guile uses these two as a way to infiltrate Bison’s crew while being carefully watchd by a reporter named Chun Li and her two assistants – E Honda and Balrog – former fighters shamed by the activities of Bison.
Eventually everyone gets caught up in one place. A fights break out everywhere and Guile does the Van Damme thing and kicks his way to victory and mediocrity all within roughly 90 minutes.
True to the Game?
Ok, some of the characters are there in name, and sure they’re visually similar to the video game versions but it all seems too wrapped up, keeping them in groups and making it less expansive. Each fighter is from a different country but in this they band into groups and it just doesn’t seem to match up and narrows the whole universe down.
This movie flows like a really cheesy 90’s action flick. Without the franchise name and a lead like Van Damme, it wouldn’t have even been noticed in the first place – except now it’s noticeably shamed! The humor is like that you’d find in a kids cartoon – a little too obvious and it just doesn’t support the action.
There’s light at the end of the tunnel though, I did enjoy watching this movie and laughing at the horrendous plot devices and moments that made this movie a major flop. Some of the actors aren’t necessarily bad, I just think the whole film had bad direction and was a little to obvious in certain aspects of the story telling.
Some nice action would have made this film passable…
The Action & Martial Arts
Yeah, the action is pretty shite.
I don’t think any of the actors were martial artists despite playing martial arts characters. It seems a lot of emphasis was placed on the physiques of many, but when they actually shaped up all illusion of fighting skill was lost. Everyone looked severely unnatural with their poses let alone their movements.
But what about Jean Claude Van Damme? He throws a few good kicks…. as always – but that’s the problem.
The character of Guile disappears into the stereotypical Van Damme character – doing way to many kicks but looking pretty unnatural in other aspects of his fights. While Van Damme has some good flicks behind him, none of the good was used and nothing unique or original was introduced.
But as I said earlier, the physiques were noticeable as Van Damme looked bigger and beefier than ever – maybe it affected his performance? I don’t know.
The final word…
It’s a big mess this movie, but a colorful one! It worth having a laugh at it’s weaknesses and the over emphasis on Guile being the hero. It’s so hard to take seriously because it seems a little rushed. Not a classic but it’s one I’ll always remember!
Want to see some real Street Fighter II inspired action? Check out the anime instead.