The early/mid 90’s was an interesting time in movies as Hollywood took notice of the renewed video game craze and decided to make movies based on popular video games. Today’s movie is one such movie, taking advantage of one of the most popular games to come out of the 90’s, Street Fighter. I will be honest, as soon as I saw the trailer for this movie, I had a feeling this was going to be terrible. Then a few years ago, I decided to buy this terrible movie; a) because I was in a video game movie buying mood and b) because I am a glutton for punishment. So let’s deal with the punishment of today’s movie, Street Fighter.
The plot: In the Asian nation of Shadaloo, a civil war has broken out between the forces of the Allied Nations, and General M. Bison. As Chun-Li Zang reports on Bison’s kidnapping several relief workers and the soldiers that guarded them, Bison, who is watching the broadcast, is having the soldiers brought to him and challenging them to fight him, quickly killing them when they attack him. When Colonel William Guile arrives at the newly captured capital city and Chun-Li attempts to interview him, Guile proceeds to taunt Bison, prompting Bison to break into the television signal and speak with Guile. Guile has Sergeant Cammy attempt to trace the signal using Chun-Li’s news van, Bison tells Guile that he has 3 days to come up with the $20 billion ransom for the hostages or else he will kill them all, then disconnects the signal as Guile tells the workers and his friend Charlie that he is coming to rescue them. Bison approaches the last soldier, Carlos “Charlie” Blanka, and orders him to be taken down to the laboratory, where he has his captive scientist Dhalsim work to turn Charlie into the first of his genetically modified super soldiers. Later that night, Ken Masters and Ryu Hoshi pose as arms dealers in an attempt to con Viktor Sagat by selling him toy weapons but Sagat reveals that he is onto their scam. As punishment, Sagat has Ryu face off against his unbeaten champion cage fighter, Vega, with Ken fighting next, but before the fight can start, the warehouse is raided by Guile and his men, who arrest everyone for violating curfew. As Guile holds a meeting to plan their attack on Bison to free the hostages, it is interrupted by a Shadaloo assassin attempting to kill him. Since their trace was only able to narrow down Bison’s base to a general area of the country, Guile tries to figure out a way to locate Bison’s base when he notices a fight break out in the prison yard between Ken and Ryu vs Vega and several of Sagat’s men. Guile has Ken and Ryu brought to him and convinces them to help him in exchange for their freedom. As Sagat, Vega, Ken, Ryu, and several other prisoners are being transported out of their, Ken and Ryu stage a fight in order to secretly grab the keys to their shackles. After freeing themselves, they toss the keys to Sagat when he offers to get them out of the city, then Ryu and Vega jump out and hijack the truck to escape. Guile attempts to stop them but Ken had grabbed a gun from one of the guards and shoots Guile as they make their escape. After finishing her report on Guile’s death, Chun-Li, her cameraman Balrog, and her driver E. Honda, are checking the signal on her tracer when they get interference from another tracer, with the signal coming back to A.N. HQ. Chun-Li sneaks in to figure out what is going on and discovers that Guile had faked his death in order to get Ken and Ryu into Sagat’s good graces so they could be taken to Bison’s headquarters. Guile orders Chun-Li to be detained, as he is aware her interest in Bison is due to a personal vendetta, but Chun-Li manages to escape and meets up with Balrog and Honda at the thieves market. There, they masquerade as performers doing an acrobatic act while Bison and Sagat are completing their arms deal. Knowing that Ken and Ryu are secretly working with Guile, Chun-Li lures Ken into her tent and when Ryu follows, Honda and Balrog grab him and tie them up. Chun-Li tells them she plans to kill Bison and Sagat and gives them an opportunity to escape. When Ken and Ryu reenter the main tent, they find themselves in the middle of a stand-off between Bison and Sagat’s men, as Bison had attempted to pay Sagat in “Bison dollars”, which are worthless. To save themselves, Ken and Ryu are forced to inform Bison of Chun-Li’s plans, just as a pre-recorded announcement occurs and Honda pushes a truck full of explosives down the hill towards Sagat’s weapons and ammo. Bison orders an evacuation and everyone is saved, while Chun-Li, Honda, and Balrog are captured. When they arrive at Bison’s headquarters, he orders Zangief to show Ken and Ryu around and get them some clean clothes, Honda and Balrog are taken to the interrogation room, and Chun-Li is taken to Bison’s quarters. Guile, finally learning where Bison’s base is, plans his assault but the Deputy Secretary of the A.N. orders him to stand down, as they want to pay off the ransom, but Guile and his troops disobey the orders and continue to head out to attack Bison. Meanwhile, Ryu and Ken go to free Balrog and Honda, only to find that they had already freed themselves, and convince them they are trying to help them escape. The 4 go to rescue Chun-Li, who had attacked Bison and almost defeated him but the distraction of their arrival allows Bison to escape and knock them out with sleeping gas. As Guile, Cammy, and T. Hawk make their way to the headquarters in their stealth craft, Bison detects them and manages to blow up their ship but the three escape and head towards the base. Meanwhile, Dahlsim had attempted to save Blanka’s mind by altering the programming and when he is discovered, the guard attempts to kill him but their struggle accidentally releases Blanka, who quickly kills the guard. Guile sneaks down into the temple through a sewer entrance and enters the lab, where he is confronted by Blanka but the two recognize each other and Blanks stops fighting. Blanka asks Guile to help him and Guile is prepared to shoot him to put him out of his misery but Dahlsim stops him, saying he doesn’t have the right to kill him and he should be going after Bison instead. When the deadline passes and the ransom isn’t paid, Bison orders Blanka’s cage brought up so he can kill the hostages but when the cage opens, Guile emerges and quickly attacks Bison and his men. As he holds off Bison’s men, Guile tells Ken, Ryu, Chun-Li, and Balrog to go free the hostages while Honda begins fighting with Zangief. As Guile’s troops arrive to assist in the battle, Dee Jay, Bison’s computer technician, sneaks away while Sagat and Vega, seeking revenge, go after Ken and Ryu. Bison and Guile begin fighting each other, telling their respective troops to leave them. As the fighting continues, Ken decides to leave and save himself, saying he did the job that Guile wanted them to do but Ryu refuses to leave without helping the hostages. Dee Jay sneaks into Bison’s quarters and finds his emergency stash of money but quickly hides as Ken comes in, looking for the same thing. Ken grabs a statue but when he tries to find a way out on the monitors, he sees Ryu enter the gym, with Sagat and Vega entering behind him, and races off to help him. Ryu is double teamed by Vega and Sagat at first until Ken gets there, and Ryu faces off against Vega while Ken fights Sagat. The two friends are able to defeat their opponents and as they leave, Ken thanks Sagat, saying if he hadn’t of met him, he might have become just like him. Chun-Li, Balrog, Cammy, and T. Hawk free the prisoners and make their way out of the base, encountering Honda and Zangief on the way and tell him to leave as well. Zangief calls Honda a coward and sees Dee Jay attempting to flee only to learn that Zangief had been misled by Bison and that he is actually a bad guy so Zangief helps the others escape. Meanwhile, Bison and Guile continue to fight and Guile eventually manages to electrocute him, seemingly killing him. However the electricity activates Bison’s suit, which revives him and allows him to access conductive electro-magnetism, allowing him to fly across the room and attack Guile. As Bison prepares to administer the final blow, Guile kicks him and directs him into a monitor bank, causing it to crash to the ground while part of the roof falls on top of him due to the temple’s self destruct being activated. Guile heads down to the lab to get Blanka and Dahlsim out but they refuse to leave, with Blanka saying their is no place for him up there while Dahlsim wants to stay to atone for his part in what happened to Blanka. Dee Jay escapes with the money and is joined by Sagat, who breaks open the chest and laughs when he finds it is filled Bison dollars. Guile manages to make it out of the temple before it explodes, much to the relief of his friends, and the news reports about the fall of Bison’s army but unknown to everyone, a solar cell activates Bison’s suit and his hand is seen punching through the rubble, with a computer program loading up World Domination.
Street Fighter was highly panned by the critics, holding a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though it offers mild entertainment through campy one-liners and the overacting of the late Raul Julia, Street Fighter’s nonstop action sequences are not enough to make up for a predictable, uneven storyline.” The post credit scene of Bison’s hand emerging from the rubble was cut from the theaters, out of respect for Raul Julia (who died two months before the movie premiered) but was reinserted when it went to video. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was actually a success at the box office, earning $99.4 million off of a $33 million budget
Oh yeh, this was incredibly bad. Surprisingly, some of the acting wasn’t that bad, with Van Damme doing an ok job as Guile and Raul Julia, while not quite as intimidating as the character in the game, definitely made his last role memorable. The biggest problem was really how the characters differed from the video game version. The story was honestly a convoluted mess, with them trying to have too much going on to make this an effective movie. The fights and special effects were as weak as the story and really hurt the movie’s ability to be entertaining. Another movie to be added to the pile of disastrous video game movies.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5