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Friday, June 1, 2012

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 17 - Street Fighter (1994)

Street Fighter (1996; Universal Pictures)
Most people my age remember this one as being among the most disappointing films of their lifetimes (just behind the Star Wars Prequels).  Street Fighter defined a generation of video games and spawned dozens upon dozens of wannabes.  Therefore, it goes without saying that when they announced a major motion picture based on the popular game series most fans were pretty excited.  We were willing to forget all about Super Mario Bros and Double Dragon and think that maybe, just this once, Hollywood can make a good video game movie.  We were so very, very wrong.

Street Fighter follows a team of UN soldiers led by Guile (Van Damme) who travel to a secret fortress run by the evil M. Bison (Raul Julia) who has kidnapped a group of civilians and is holding them for ransom.  He has also kidnapped Guile’s friend Charlie.  Along with allies Cammy and T-Hawk they fight their way into the fortress.  Meanwhile a reporter played by Chun-Li (who is there to avenge her father’s murder) who is accompanied by her crew comprised of Balrog and E. Honda fight their way in.  MEANWHILE (Again) two cons-turned-arena-fighters Ken and Ryu are recruited by the Bison army but end up fighting their way to freedom.  Eventually they all team up against Bison, Vega, Dee Jay and Sagat.  Oh, and there’s this whole other subplot where Bison is holding this doctor named Dhalsim prisoner, forcing him to work on a steroids program.  Using the turbo-roids on Charlie, Dhalsim, under Bison’s order transforms him into Blanka (dumb.).

In fact, this whole movie is dumb.  Nothing here even comes close to the plot of the game and the characters are all over the place.  Essentially they tried to write in as many Street Fighter characters as they could and shoehorn them into too many lame subplots.  There are far too many plots to the point of almost being confusing while none of them are deep or interesting enough to justify any single primary plot to hold the whole mess together.  The action is also terrible, with fight scenes that are very short and badly edited.  Occasionally a character’s signature move is thrown in as fan service but when it is it is laughably executed and just plain silly looking.

The acting is bad too.  Sadly, this was Raul Julia’s final major film before his death.  I loved Julia as an actor and it’s truly sad to see his legacy end with this mess of a film.  He died a few months before the film’s release.  Van Damme is as bad as ever here, never once sounding sincere and rarely executing a single interesting fight up to and including the final showdown with Bison in the end.  The other stars are really just filler.  Everything feels thrown together and desperate.  Street Fighter is also one of the films that ended the video game movie craze for some time.  They would continue to come out, but not at the pace they once did... until Uwe Boll decided he would troll gamers until the day he dies.

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