[Review] Street Fighter (1994 film)

A film based on Capcom’s Street Fighter II video game released on December 1994 featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Raul Julia as both main protagonist and main villain. Even until now, many of us still familiar with the name of Street Fighter especially with the recently released Street Fighter V video game in February 2016 which is less than two months ago. The American version of Street Fighter was a bit different back then because it tend to portrait Guile as the main protagonist instead of Ryuu. Perhaps Guille was more popular for American audience due to its American origin. Therefore, the main protagonist in this Street Fighter film is Guile and not Ryuu.

Back then, I actually was thinking that the main hero in Street Fighter was Guile. That was until I played Street Fighter Alpha 3 where I didn’t find Guile in the character list. Van Damme as Guile in this film doesn’t really impressed me. Perhaps its not entirely Van Damme’s fault, but more likely because the story concept in the film. Not only Van Damme though. All other characters are all over the places. I think I understand why. Born from a fighting game, the background of Street Fighters characters aren’t quite clear. Especially with the limited information we have at that time in early 1990s. We don’t have the specific idea what are the background of the characters and how they should be portrayed.

General M. Bison is the main villain here and he is portrayed by Raul Julia who was dead two months before the film released due to cancer. So, this film also served as Raul Julia’s final legacy and dedicated to his memory as well. Compared to the anime, Bison here is much weaker. Or perhaps Guile is just too strong in this film?

Other notable characters making their appearance here are Chun-Li, Ryuu, Ken, T. Hawk, Cammy, Honda, Balrog, Sagat, Vega, Dee Jay, Zangief, Dhalsim, and Blanka. I don’t really like how’s Ryuu and Ken portrayed here. They don’t really seem to be the good guy, especially when compared to their role in Street Fighters.

Despite coming from fighting game, the fighting scenes in this film is kinda lacking. Not quite feels like a martial arts. Maybe due to the limitation of film technology at that time? Or maybe the actors aren’t just quite up to it? Or perhaps the director does not really know how a fighting scene in Street Fighters should be? No Hadou-ken or Sonic Boom. Just common gun fight and fist fight. Kinda disappointing actually.

Speaking about visual effect, I can clearly see that this is an old film. The visual effect is not that good but still better than average film at that time. If you watched this film at that time, you might be amazed. Yes it looks outdated and limited. But I’d say it’s more because of the limitation of technology at that time.

In the end, I am going to say that the film is pretty decent. Yes it has so many disappointing things, especially if you had quite a lot of knowledge about Street Fighters. But overall it’s not all bad. The idea might sound too comical, but it’s not bad enough to called garbage. It’s decent every way and has nothing special to be offered.


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