Film Length: 102 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1),
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English, SDH, French, Spanish
The Movie – 1 1/2 out of 5
“Why are you making me watch this?”
Yes, that’s actually a quote from the movie and was my actual thought when I was watching this film. To be honest, I don’t even know where to start. But I’ll try…
Based (very loosely, might I add) on the early 1990’s Capcom video game, “Street Fighter II”, “Street Fighter” stars Raul Julia (sadly, in one of his final roles) as General M. Bison, a mad dictator hell bent on world domination who, during a civil war in Shadaloo, Southeast Asia, attempts to hold the world hostage for a twenty billion ransom and three days to pay up or he will kill the “Allied Nations” (the movie’s version of the United Nations) hostages, which he keeps locked under the floor in his evil fortress. Leading an “elite team of street fighters” to destroy the mad General is Colonel William F. Guile (laughably played by none other than Jean-Claude Van Damme (Bloodsport, Timecop) with a bad blonde dye job) who also has a personal vendetta against Bison because he has kidnapped Guile’s friend Carlos Blanka (Robert Mammone, The Great Raid) who, for some inexplicable reason Bison forces a kidnapped scientist to turn into some kind of mutant (that looks like a skinny, retarded “Hulk” with a bad hair cut). Obviously the reason he’s doing this is because there is a “Blanka” creature character in the video game and writer / director Steven E. de Souza I guess had to figure out a way to shoe horn him into the story. Coming along for the ride to put an end to Bison’s attempt at World Domination is all of your favorite characters from the “Street Fighter” video game franchise including Chun-Li (Ming-Na, “ER”), Ken (Damien Chapa, Money Talks), Ryu (Byron Mann, Red Corner) and Lieutenant Cammy (pop star Kylie Minogue). The only similarity between this movie and the game it’s based on is while the actors do resemble their video game counterparts, that’s where the similarities end. When you have a movie called “Street Fighter” you might want to consider including some actual street fighting in the movie (especially when you have Van Damme’s name above the title.) Unfortunately, this is just one of the myriad of problems with this ridiculous film.
Although Jean-Claude Van Damme gets top billing here, make no mistake, he is just one part of the ensemble cast and not only doesn’t get the screen time you expect in a Van Damme action film, and outside of a little gun play earlier in the movie, Van Damme doesn’t really do any fighting until an hour an eighteen minutes into the flick (although he roundhouse kicks a computer at the 1:04 mark). Even when you do get to the butt-kicking scenes, they are poorly choreographed and lack the kind of brutal ass whooping that one might hope for. I love Van Damme movies (I'm proud to say I own every one of them on DVD). I understand that there is a certain amount of expectations when it comes to “quality” in regards to a Van Damme flick. But even by those standards, this one is at the bottom of the list for me. As far as the rest of the legendary Street Fighter characters go, they too do very little fighting until the third act, and even when they do, much of it is played for laughs that misfire terribly.
That’s another huge problem with this film. Writer and director Steven E. de Souza (who makes his directorial debut here and hasn’t directed a movie since), who has written some of best modern day action films including Die Hard and 48 Hours has made a terrible decision to try to inject comedy into the material. The problem is that just about every attempt for laughs misses its mark. The movie suffers from a terrible identity crisis. It doesn’t know if it wants to be an action movie or a comedy, and as a result misses on both counts. The best scenes in the movie are unintentionally funny and turn out to be the movie’s only saving grace. Trust me when I tell you that Street Fighter is a great movie for the MST3K crowd and is ripe for ridicule. Other than that, I can’t recommend any other reason to watch this film and is why I gave it the extra “½” in my scoring.
The Video – 4 1/2 out of 5
Using my Sony BDP-S350 Blu-Ray / DVD player and my Sanyo PLV-1080 HD projector (HDMI v. 1.3b, 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 420p, full 1920 x 1080 resolution, 10,000:1 contrast), kicking this standard definition transfer up to 1080P, I watched Street Fighter on my 120" Da-Lite Home Theater Screen. This is definitely a marked improvement over the 1999 “Collector’s Edition”, which was a non-anamorphic transfer, that was littered with artifacts, edge enhancement and a whole lotta noise. This “Extreme Edition” features a beautiful, all new transfer struck from an HD master (presumably the same they used to make the Blu-Ray) and is exceptionally sharp and detailed with very little apparent noise and edge enhancement. The use of color in this film benefited from this new transfer as well. General M. Bison and his henchmen decked out in bright red (in ridiculous, over the top costumes that rival on those in the movie Judge Dredd, mind you), while Gulie and his team were in bright blue. Like it’s Blu-Ray counterpart, the colors here popped off the screen with very accurate flesh tones. Some of the more dimly lit scenes exposed some grain in the image and scenes that were in slow motion exposed dirt and debris on the print. Comparing this to the original “Collector’s Edition” DVD that Universal released ten or so years ago, it’s like night and day. Nice job here.
The Audio / Sound – 3 out of 5
I played the audio through my Yamaha RX-V663 amp (665 Watts w/ up to 7.1 Surround, Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital + and DTS HD Master Audio) and the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was a slight improvement over the ten year old “Collector’s Edition” DVD and quite similar to its Blu-Ray counterpart. Like the Blu-Ray, much of the action came from the center three channels, with the rear channels only perking up during explosions, gunfire and Graeme Revell’s score. Low Frequency Effects seemed to only kick in during the score as well and mildly punctuated the action. Dialogue was crisp, free and clear of distortion. Overall, I found the presentation to be slightly above average, given the limitations of it being a fifteen year old film, with the Blu-Ray’s DTS-HD 5.1 audio scoring slightly higher.
The Extra's – 5 out of 5
Feature Commentary with director Steven E. de Souza.
Street Fighter IV Game Trailer (1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 3:08) – Extended trailer for the new video game that appears to seamlessly combine Anime with great video game fighting action. Looks way better than the Street Fighter movie reviewed here.
Street Fighter IV Game Teaser (1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, :36) – Teaser trailer for the new video game of the same extended trailer above.
Street Fighter IV Anime Trailer (1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 3:12) – Trailer for a new Anime movie that again, looks way better than the Street Fighter movie reviewed here.
The Making of Street Fighter (1.33:1 Full Frame, 5:55) – Ported over from the original Collector’s Edition, this featurette is nothing more than EPK leftovers. Mildly entertaining at best.
Outtakes - (1.33:1 Full Frame, 3:08) – Ported over from the original Collector’s Edition.
Deleted Scene 1 - (2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic, :56) – Ming-Na and company attempt to infiltrate Bison’s lair.
Deleted Scene 2 - (2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic, 1:13) – Mildly amusing scene with Ming-Na & Kylie Minogue in a brief fight scene.
Storyboard Sequences (1.33:1 (illustrations) and 2.35:1 Anamorphic) “Boardroom” shows :16 seconds of illustrations followed by a clip the final scene (:36) in the movie. “Prison Break” shows :22 seconds of illustrations followed by a clip of the final scene (1:35) in the movie.
Video Game Sequences (1.85:1, Non Anamorphic) Clip of “Super Street Fighter” (:33) and “Street Fighter: The Movie Game” (:46) which uses the likenesses of Van Damme and Raul Julia in the game.
Cyberwalk (1.33:1 Full Frame). “Recruiting Center” shows the images created for the computers in the film that you can page through. “Crisis in Shadaloo” (3;46) is the complete “news” report shown in the film with actress Ming-Na as “Chun-Li”, the reporter.
Archives – “Publicity Stills” from the movie that you can page through, “Arcade Movie Game Trailer” (1.33:1 Full Frame, :50) is the trailer for the game based on the movie (that was based on the game), “Concept Drawings by Nikita Natz” (1.33:1 Full Frame) are images you can page through, “On The Street Fighter Set” (1.33:1 Full Frame) are publicity stills you can page through, “Ad Campaigns” (1.33:1 Full Frame) are posters, title treatments and marketing materials that you can page through, “Trading Cards” (1.33:1 Full Frame) are images of the Upper Deck trading cards made for the movie that you can page through and “Toys and Tie Ins” (1.33:1 Full Frame) are images from the Hasbro made toys that you can page through.
NOTE: Just about all of the features that were included on the 1999 “Collector’s Edition” DVD have been ported over to this “Extreme Edition” except for the original “Teaser Trailer”, “Theatrical Trailer” and “3 TV Spots”. The only difference between the two versions is the addition of the game and anime trailers and the new anamorphic transfer.
Make no mistakes, Street Fighter is not a good movie unless you know going in that you are watching it just to laugh at it. If you own the older “Collector’s Edition” (and really like this movie) the new transfer alone is worth the upgrade (you can get rid of your old disc knowing that all of the special features (except for the trailers) have been included here), however, overall, If you don’t own Street Fighter yet, I can only recommend this for Jean-Claude Van Damme completists only.
If you want to watch a good Van Damme movie, I highly recommend Replicant, it by far his best acting and action work in his career.
Overall Score – 2 out of 5
I had to give an extra point with all of those special features!
Release Date: February 10, 2009
My DVD Collection: DVD Profiler, by Invelos Software, Inc.