The summer after I graduated high school, I ended up renting a lot of anime movies pretty much every day. It really was a rountine for most of the summer; wake up, head to the video store to rent a couple of animes, head off to work, get home, watch said movies, go to sleep, repeat. Now this is one of the anime movies I had rented during that period and I thought it was fantastic, definitely better than the live action movie. My brothers got it on VHS and I know we watched it several times back in the day and years later, I ended up buying it on DVD. Now let’s get right into today’s movie, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie.
The plot: On a dark, stormy night, a Japanese martial artist named Ryu is fighting Sagat, an undefeated Muay Thai champion, unaware that their fight is being observed and data is being collected on the two fighters. After a fierce battle, Ryu scars Sagat’s chest after hitting him with a Shoryuken and as an enraged Sagat charges at him, Ryu finishes the fight by hitting him with a Hadouken. A few years later, MI6 agent Cammy White attacks and kills a Justice Minister but is quickly captured by security. As they watch video of the incident, Interpol Agent Chun-Li explains that Cammy has been interrogated and has no memory of the last 3 years, leading them to believe that she had been brainwashed by Shadaloo. After showing pictures of three men (Sagat, Balrog, and Vega) who have already been recruited by Shadaloo, Chun-Li says that they are organizing a joint operation with the U.S. military in order to take down Shadaloo and it’s leader, M. Bison. Chun-Li heads to an Air Force base to speak with Captain Guile about the task force but he dismisses her, saying that he will destroy Bison on his own, angering Chun-Li. Meanwhile, Bison, Sagat, Balrog, and Vega arrive at the Shadaloo base in Thailand, Bison’s head scientist shows him their newest model of monitor cyborgs, which they use to collect fighter data. Bison asks if they have found Ryu let, as Bison wants him in his organization, but the scientist admits they haven’t, though scoffs that Ryu’s ability is really as high as their data suggests. Elsewhere, Ryu is training high in the mountains and as he trains, he thinks back to when he was first studying martial arts with his friend Ken Masters. Some time later, Ryu goes travelling to find tough martial artists to fight and ends up fighting Fei-Long in China. After beating Fei-Long, Ryu and Fei-Long are walking down the street and Fei-Long tells him that he recognizes his name now, and tells him about Sagat joining Shadaloo before the two men go their separate ways. In Seattle, Ken meets up with his girlfriend Eliza for lunch and ends up fighting T. Hawk later that evening, unaware that a monitor cyborg is observing their fight. Some time later, Ryu travels to India, where he accidentally causes a young girl to spill the milk she was taking to her mother so he gives her some money so she can buy some more milk. While there, Ryu observes a fight between a yoga master named Dahlsim and a sumo named E. Honda. A monitor cyborg is also observing the fight and Dahlsim gets the upper hand when he uses his mysticism to paralyze E. Honda but he suddenly senses Ryu’s power and gets distracted, allowing Honda to win the fight, while the monitor cyborg attempts to locate the fighter Dahlsim was talking about. After leaving the fight, Ryu sees the little girl running towards him when she is knocked down by a Shadaloo assassin, who had just killed a public speaker speaking out against Shadaloo. When security wounds the assassin, other Shadaloo agents kill the assassin and fire into the crowd to escape, causing Ryu to attack them and knock several of them out. Ryu then goes to check on the girl, who is ok and was bringing him his change but he tells her to keep it. After she is taken away in an ambulance, Honda approaches Ryu and offers him half of the money he won in his fight, saying that he would have lost if Ryu hadn’t of been there. Back at the Shadaloo base, Bison is shown video of Ken’s fight and the similarities that his fighting style has with Ryu’s. After learning that Ken and Ryu studied martial arts at the same school, he decides to go after Ken and convert him to his cause. Back in the U.S., Chun-Li again attempts to get Guile to join her, telling her that she wants Bison dead because he killed her father but she chooses to put her duty first and Guile finally agrees to help. The two travel to see Dee Jay, a fighter that Guile had heard about, and warn him about Shadaloo being after him, with Chun-Li kicking the head off of a monitor cyborg that was watching him, but they are unaware that a second cyborg was watching them from the roof of the club. Bison sees the video and decides to send Vega after Chun-Li, then calls Balrog in Las Vegas, who is promoting Bison’s interests there before watching a fight between the Russian wrestler Zangief and Blanca, the Brazilian man/beast. Vega attacks Chun-Li in her apartment and severely injures her with his blades but Chun-Li manages to beat him, kicking him through the wall of her apartment where he falls to his death. Guile arrives at the apartment and takes the injured Chun-Li to the hospital, then calls into Interpol to explain what happened. Interpol tells him of the monitor cyborg following Ken and Guile says that once he knows that Chun-Li is stable, he will head to Seattle to check on Ken. In Seattle, Ken is driving with Eliza and asks her to marry him and she tells him she will think about it. After dropping her off at her house, Ken leaves but he is soon confronted by Bison, who easily captures Ken and flies off, just as Guile arrives and finds Ken’s car. Returning to Interpol, Guile learns that they have found Ryu’s location and though there are monitor cyborgs are in the area, they don’t believe they have located him due to his constant movements so Guile heads out to find Ryu. Meanwhile, Bison begins subjecting Ken to his mind control process when he learns that Guile is heading to the Thai/Laos border and realizes that Guile has located Ryu. Bison decides to take Ken with him so that Ken and Ryu can have the battle they both want and Sagat pleads with Bison to let him face Ryu again but Bison refuses, telling Sagat that he needs to go to New York to deal with Cammy and Vega. After visiting Chun-Li, who is in a coma, Guile heads to see Ryu only to realize that Bison had followed him there. When Bison’s plane lands, Ryu is shocked to see Ken there with Bison and when he goes to confront him, Ken attacks him. Honda, who had been staying with Ryu, attempts to attack Bison but Bison dodges it and Honda ends up fighting with Balrog, and the two end up falling off the mountain. Meanwhile, Bison confronts Guile, who tries to attack him but is unable to land a single blow on Bison and Bison uses his psycho power to send Guile flying off the mountain. Ken and Ryu continue to fight, with Ken beating Ryu as he refuses to fight the brainwashed Ken and tries to free him from Bison’s control. As the fight progresses, Ken starts having flashbacks to his training and he eventually breaks free from Bison’s control, only for Bison to appear and toss Ken aside. Ryu tries to go help Ken but Bison stops him and the two begin fighting. Ken regains consciousness and finds his legs won’t support his weight. Crawling up the hill, he sees Bison’s plane and remembers what happened, then sees Bison and Ryu fighting and calls out to them but stumbles back down the hill. Ken channels his chi to heal his legs, then heads out to help Ryu fight Bison. The two work together and manage to beat Bison, using a double Hadouken to send Bison flying into his plane, causing it to explode while Honda arrives back up the mountain, carrying Balrog and Guile with him. At the same time, the U.S. and Interpol forces attack Shadaloo’s main base, destroying it. Guile returns to New York, where he receives a call from the hospital. Getting there, he finds Chun-Li covered with a sheet and, thinking that she is dead, tells her that he got their revenge but Chun-Li reveals that she was playing a trick on him and embraces him. Meanwhile, Ryu and Ken are talking to each other, saying that they have to settle their score the next time they see each other. Eliza picks Ken up and they offer Ryu a lift but he chooses to walk and heads off down the highway. As he is walking, a semi comes barreling towards him and when he turns to look, he sees Bison driving it so he leaps to attack him, unaware that a monitor cyborg is watching him.
This is a much better adaptation of the video game and definitely a fun movie to watch. The voice acting was pretty good and the dubbing matched up the lip movements pretty well, though some of the dialogue just sounded weird. The story was good, bringing up all of the various characters introduced in Street Fighter II, as well as the 4 new characters and showcasing them much like they are in the depicted in the video game. I also liked the brief appearance of Akuma in India, as he was a hidden character in the some of the later versions of Street Fighter II. The animation was very good and some of the back ground scenery, such as the mountains, were incredibly realistic looking. Definitely a better movie rendition of the video game and I think something like this should be how most video game movies should be done.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5