Street Fighter

STREET FIGHTER was made in the early generation of video game adaptations. It was a film no one particularly cared for, but has high merits in terms of sheer camp.

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The film is based on the CAPCOM video game STREET FIGHTER II arguably the most beloved in the series. Unlike the film adaptation of SUPER MARIO BROS., the producers behind SF consciously kept it tied closely to its videogame routes. Sure there are live actors, but even they play their characters in a Saturday-morning cartoon kind of way. Raul Julia (in his last film before his death) plays the villian General M. Bison (whose scheme to take over the world apparently begins in Vietnam analog "Shadaloo") as egomanicaly as one can. Flatter, but perhaps more hilariously so, is Jean-Claude Van Damme's Col. Guile who's often incomprehensible accent contrasts seems to contrast with the American flag he has tatooed to his bicep.

The rest of the cast is likewise bogus, and the plot is so simplistic (stop Bison) that the film finds it necessary to throw in a lot of random subplots and contrivances before just getting on with the outright invasion (one particularly useless contrivance comes late in the film where Guile's United… er, excuse me, Allied Nations supervisor insist that the war has been "canceled" [huh?]. This drama lasts all of thirty seconds as Guile goes ahead and invades anyway… sooo what was the point, really?)

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Those detours aside, the film provides plenty of high camp, if low comedy. Realism is right out. But who's to complain? You'll never feel an iota of emotional attachment to the characters or situations, but it's not really required that you do to enjoy the film as it kind of bumbles about in the liminal space between action film and cartoon. The sets and costumes are big and colorful, the characters, if not involving, are at least consistant (keep an eye out for Zangief in particular), and the action is more or less entertaining (M. Bison stiffly swooping around on magnetic powered boots of flight is particularly amusing).

STREET FIGHTER is a film worth catching in the same way as MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, it's a cartoon brought to "life" while still very much being a cartoon… and it makes a great drinking game.

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