The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Street Fighter II: The Movie

Title: Street Fighter II: The Movie
Genre: Action
Company: Group TAC
Format: Movie; 101 minutes.
Dates: 6 Aug 1994

Synopsis: The world is under global threat by Shadowlaw, a secret organization headed by the malevolent M. Bison, who is bent on global domination. To further expand his reign of terror, he headhunts the strongest street fighters from all over the world. Ryu, a very powerful and elusive wandering martial arts expert, has caught M. Bison’s attention. To lure Ryu, Bison abducts Ryu’s best friend and fellow martial arts partner, Ken. Also in pursuit of M. Bison are Major Guile from the U.S. Air Force and Chun-Li from Interpol, both of whom have a vendetta against Bison.

The Highlights
Aesthetic quality: Impressive visuals but choice of background music is questionable.
Nostalgic value: Invaluable for those who played the original game.
Camp value: Great, for better or worse.
Character development: Not to be expected in this movie.
Plot development: Not to be expected in this movie, too.

Arcade games formed a bulk of my childhood, and Street Fighter was one of the most popular titles back in the day. The game was nothing groundbreaking, or even that great as a fighting series, but it was one of the first of its kind and has spawned generations of 2D fighting game titles since its debut. Hence, given its massive popularity, it came as no big surprise that it eventually got its own full-length animated movie. It also came as no big surprise ― at least to me ― that the movie has poor writing and character development, seeing as how there are hardly any game-adapted anime titles that are half-decent even to this day.

Considering that Street Fighter II is almost two decades old, the visuals are very impressive. Crisp artwork and fluid animation renders the movie a pleasurable visual experience; the excellent animation is vividly demonstrated through its namesake street-fighting sequences. Unfortunately, when it comes to aesthetics, that’s as far as the positives go. The music is a letdown: the choice of background music is inappropriate and, most of the time, plain cheesy. Either that, or some scenes are too muted for moments that are supposedly dynamic; more specifically, muted background music renders adrenalin-pumping fighting sequences terribly underwhelming.

If there is one thing that Street Fighter II can be remembered for by many ― for better or worse ― is its camp value. All the male characters are Fist of the North Star-like manly heroes with zero facial expressions, and heavily armed with corny one-liners and steroid-pumped muscles. All of them have barely half a personality, and all they do throughout the story is exchange some trash-talk and then let their fists do the rest of the work. Moreso for the paper-thin story: it’s pretty obvious that plot plays no important role in this movie at all, and all we need to know is how to tell apart who are the good and bad guys. That, and of course, how the characters emulate their signature moves from the gaming platform to the big screen.

I remember watching Street Fighter II back when I was a little impressionable kid, and indeed, rewatching it now is a walk down nostalgia lane. And that is perhaps what this movie is all about: sheer nostalgic value. Even the campiness ― especially the timelessly over-the-top “Name that Move” scenes ― is something many can relate to if they have played the original game. On a technical level, however, it is all-round terrible and the only thing decent to look forward to is the visuals. As for me, for all its cheesiness, it serves as a short and cheap entertaining rollercoaster ride … once I silenced my inner reviewer self that screams how this movie should be buried for good.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: AC

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