Street Fighter is the 90’s all rolled up into one obnoxiously colorful, over-acting package and I love it!
Yes, it has little to nothing to do with Street Fighter 2, the video game that spawned the film, and pokes fun at the game world’s cannon, but if you love the 90’s for all its camp this is a must-have for your collection.
It is a no-brainer that Raul Julia steals the show, and is the real reason to pop this movie in. The rule of Ham is in full effect here: “Any adequately delightful actor chewing up the scenery to a high enough degree can save even the worst movie.”
Julia, who takes a big bite out of each scene, chose the movie for his kids. He puts everything he has into the role of the villainous M. Bison, and his has more or less has become an iconic performance.
He even studied real-life dictators to get into character. The speech where he defends himself and makes himself out to be a “good guy” is fantastic. And who can forget the best line in the movie, delivered with such perfection: “For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life but for me, it was a Tuesday.” Ouch!
Julia steals the show, but everyone is having a lot of fun in their roles. Andrew Bryniarski, who plays Zangief (the giant Russian), low-key tries to steal the show with some of the best one-liners in the film.
The film is silly, nonsensical fun, and borderline dumb, but fun. Writer/director Steven de Souza has the film was meant to be funny. He went in with the intent to make it campy, even recording the commentary track for the DVD before the movie hit theaters.
Those who have followed the games for a long time will enjoy how everyone starts in random clothing and, as the film goes on, gradually dons the attire of their videogame counter parts. If you look at the backgrounds of the sets, you can even spot re-creations of the backgrounds from the game, such as Bison’s stage with the giant bell, and Sagat’s lair, with the large laying Buddha statue.
Everyone’s special moves are on display, with Jean-Claude Van Damme doing an impressive rendition of Guile’s Flash Kick. The finale is a group shot of all the characters doing their victory poses together, which is an exact replication of the victory screen when completing Street Fighter 2’s arcade mode.
Current films are too self-aware to dive headfirst into ridiculousness like this one, which swan dives right into the deep end.
So, why the nostalgia trip, you may ask? This Friday, March 9, would have been Raul Julia’s 78th birthday. Unfortunately, he passed away two weeks after completing the movie. What better way to honor his career than popping in the movie and having some friends over for a “bad movie night.”