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Street Fighter: The Movie

posted by B on 7/05/01


Pose! THE END!

It was something I took great pride in, dammit, and they slow-motion spin-kicked it straight to Hell.

A lengthy introduction.

When decades end and turn over, people tend to expect big things. All of my friends were born in the seventies, and got to grow up having the joyous cultural revelations of the early 80's (like the Dukes of Hazzard) burned like a Boss Hogg cigar into their minds. I was born sixteen days into the 80's, so my frame of reference starts coming into focus somewhere between the arcade game "Karate Champ" and the rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Between my cheesy martial arts pop culture icons the nostalgic's wet dream came to an end, I was beginning to realize that everything in my life was revolving around them.

The time between 1989 and 1991 still remains a blur to me, lost in a cloud of middle school angst and Fresh Prince albums, but the bookends to that era shine through with pixelated 16-bit color brightness - the Jean-Claude Van Damme classic "Bloodsport" and the most revolutionary arcade game since Burgertime introduced walking Hot Dogs, Street Fighter II. They were cartoon violence personified. From elastic Hindu guys to knees that come so far from connecting that they wouldn't feasibly make air hit the skin causing bloody nose explosions, Bloodsport and Street Fighter were and remain really wonderful memories of childhood. After all, how many times after sex have I stood up in the bed pumping my fists, while my sexy Asian girlfriend chants "CHONG LI CHONG LI CHONG LI?" First I break her hymen...now, I break you!

In fact, Street Fighter and Bloodsport have more in common than my twisted sexual misadventures. Saying they were "important to popular culture" is an understatement. Sure, we had lame fighting games before Street Fighter II (including Street Fighter 1, or, if I'm being personally ironic, Street Fighter !!!1) and sure, we had melodramatic American martial arts movies before Bloodsport (anyone remember seeing American Ninja 2: The Confrontation? Of course not, you killed yourself back in 87). It was the release of these projects that caused the revolution in their respective genres, spawning mostly, and when I say mostly I'm saying "only," wannabes and rip-offs that even the world's most frequent Blockbuster Video patron has trouble sitting through them. The best of these being:

Best Street Fighter wannabe - World Heroes

Ever wanted to make Hulk Hogan beat up a Nazi Inspector Gadget? Now you can. Neo Geo's eye-socket breaking World Heroes answers the question you and your family have been agonizing over: Could Bruce Lee beat up a caveman?

Best Bloodsport wannabe - Kickboxer 3: The Art of War

Combining all the elements of Van Damme's worst movies, Kickboxer 3 follows young Cody Lambert as he beats up his wife routinely but plays Mr. Nice Guy when J.T. wants to start up his stupid fucking Wayne's World rip-off cable access show. Way to prioritize, Code-Man! Shyeah! Yes way, Ted! LOL!!!1


Images ...heh heh... "borrowed" from our new friends at X-E

I could always pick and choose what movies to watch, but after a while the arcade scene really started to change. It really hit me when I sauntered in one day to beat some poor kid to death on the old Karate Champ machine and saw two lines from the back of the arcade and out into the mall. One for each joystick. Quarters being slammed and propped up against the screen to hold places. Teenagers, swearing about God knows what and casting an evil, possibly urine filled eye at Karate Champ. Winning at Karate Champ is NOTHING...winning at Street Fighter takes SKILL! They've got hidden special moves! They've all got at least thirty different moves! Combo glitches! There's a sumo guy and I think you can see his nuts when he does his victory pose! It's the best thing since sliced Jesus!

A few weeks later they trashed the old Karate Champ machine. So it was my mission.

I was going to destroy Street Fighter.

My cousin worked at the arcade so I would spend countless hours there, perfecting every combo, mastering every special move, observing every sumo nut until I felt I was ready to take on the world. That's when the path of rage started. With Chun Li, this timid eleven year-old with a gleam in his eye and too many Swiss Miss cake rolls in his belly single-handedly punked every local Danville video game player the fuck out. She was fast, she was quick, she could jump high and make the teenagers go "FUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCKKKK" to an eleven year old every time they got the head-stomp. Knowing the caliber of humanity in Danville Virginia they probably would've said a lot worse to me if I'd continued. Y'see, I gave up Street Fighter prematurely the next year because of my interest in a canal in a female mammal that leads from the uterus to the external orifice of the genital canal. Plus, I figured it was a good idea to get away from a video games and stop pretending I was a girl for a while.

When I came to and realized that the girl in my freshman Spanish class wouldn't date me because I wasn't a black guy or saving any of the dances (much less the LAST one), I rediscovered Street Fighter, in the most gloriously hopeful and ambitious ways possible: It was 1994, and we were finally going to see Street Fighter the movie.

It was a pipe dream...what better than an action movie based on the World Warrior? You take the game's simple plot: Eight of the world's top fighters compete in a tournament for the title of champion. The tournament is sponsored by the mysterious dictator M. Bison, and features fighters from around the world. You've got it all, the perky Chinese girl, the loner, his rival the egotistical American, the Army guy, a Hindu guy who stretches and breathes fire, an angry Russian wrestler, a sumo from Japan, and an electrified ape man from "The Jungle" in Brazil. I don't have to be the first to tell you that adding an electrified ape man to ANY movie would make it better. Wouldn't you have felt more remorse for the death of Charles Foster Kane if he was grunting and doing backflips? Of course you would, especially if he was played by Rob Schneider. That guy just cracks me up. YOU CAN DO IT! ROFL

To make things even better, the movie was going to star Jean-Claude Van Damme, the hero of my favorite melodramatic American martial arts movie not featuring Eric Roberts, "Bloodsport." The bookends to my first decadal changeover had finally met. About twenty minutes after I heard the news about Van Damme, I was firing up my copy of Final Fantasy 2 for the SNES when the reality hit me. Van Damme? Who's he gonna play? The guy can barely speak English for Christ's sakes. Sure, he can do a split on two chairs, but the guy can't say "hello" without making it into eight syllables. Little did I know that the most NOT American lead actor in the film would be playing the hero of the United States itself.


I am...how you say...so great.

It is with great horror and reverence that I bring to you the story that touched our hearts with a flaming branding iron. Many times at Whatever-Dude.Com we discuss how bad movies are, and wax philosophic over the way they eat ass. It has never been with more seriousness and somber tone that I tell you that the Street Fighter movie eats ass. I'm not trying to be funny, or quirky or whatever. It eats ass. It eats festering ass. Imagine Delta Burke dipping her ass into a vat of honey, and then dipping her ass into a vat of maggots. It eats that ass.

Where to begin. Christ on a fucking tap dancing pony.


I'll begin here.

Here's your chance to make a kick-ass action movie about interesting characters battling it out in exotic locations to see who's the best. Pretty hard to mess up, right? Let's start by casting a guy GOD DAMNED DYING OF CANCER as your evil action bad guy. But that's not enough, let's grab every impressionable fat little boy who ever had pride in his accomplishments by the back of his jeans and hang him up backwards on the coat rack so all the merry child molesters and crackfiends on the world can take turns violently jump-sexing him up the ass.


Now, we will do, the MaMUSHKA!

Somewhere between the cartridge and the silver screen, Street Fighter became the story of one man's imaginary army and their quest to rescue hostages from another man's imaginary army. These aren't your "David Fincher imaginary-as-metaphor" imaginary armies, these are your "GI Joes Somehow Figure Out That Cobra's Up to It" imaginary armies. Guys in camouflage blue suits battling guys in camouflage red suits somehow not killing each other with their guns amidst the awe-inspiring Styrofoam scenery. Somehow the can't-miss martial arts action movie of the summer becomes an unintentionally genre-spoofing buddy comedy involving severe prison sex innuendo and invisible attack speed boats. Things blow up but never seem to do any damage. One of the bad guys gets a grenade stuffed up his urethra or something and ends up flying into the air, waving his arms. AIIEEEEE go Bison's soldiers from the pain. AIIEEEEE go the parents in the audience upon realizing they have purposely brought children into a world with Street Fighter the movie.

You can see the anger I'm working with here, but let's get a few things straight. If I'm anything I'm not a video game "purist," and I'm not one of those hapless dorks that didn't go see Tomb Raider because Lara Croft's outfit was the wrong color. First of all, I realize that you have to change some things to make a video game into a movie, because they're completely different forms of entertainment. I see clearly that video games are meant to be replayed and enjoyed in many different ways, while a movie does not have that luxury. Second of all, I didn't go see Tomb Raider because of the Taco Bell cross-promotion. How could I enjoy the movie when I had that "Angelina Jolie's sloppy taco" joke ready to go? They don't have stuff that golden in Fort freaking Knox.

So what did they change that would make me compare Street Fighter the movie to the black death? Street Fighter the movie is very similar to the black death. SEE how serious this is????///

Guile and M. Bison

It's not what they changed as much as that they changed everything. I wasn't watching a Street Fighter movie, I was watching Van Damme's rippled cock bouncing around on screen, personifying itself and singing it's praises in that horrible accent.


AIIEEEEEE goes the Cokehead

Back when Street Fighter was first made, we were just scratching the surface of Jean-Claude Van Damme's descent into coked out homo madness. He'd had a string of hits... Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Cyborg, and Universal Soldier all made giant bulges in Van Damme's already bulge-ridden leggings (he's always wearing long tights...it's like he's the Bulgarian Peter Pan or something). Have you ever watched the Discovery Channel and seen one of those slow motion videos of a bug squashing against a windshield? For some reason it's tiny brain is thinking about landing ominously on your potato salad or something when WHAM it's melted into your windshield wiper? That's a lot like Street Fighter. Everybody in the theater was watching Van Damme's career slowly hit the windshield.

Why? Was it SO bad that he starred in Street Fighter?

Yes. Yes it is.

As I said before, the man can barely speak. Perhaps he's been doing the "split on the chairs" so long that his brain has seeped down through his thick neck and is now nestled as another unsightly bulge in the aforementioned sissy-tights. He's playing the American hero to boot, the guy we're supposed to identify with because of his high opinion of ideals like peace, freedom, and perseverance. So what that he didn't have Colonel Guile's signature blonde flat top. The man couldn't make us believe in perseverance, he couldn't even SAY perseverance. It would come out like "Pahr saff or HANCE!" and then he'd do a big slow motion spin kick. And then he'd do a split between two chairs. It's a vicious cycle.

In lieu of dedicating a thousand more articles to Van Damme's speech issues, I will briefly present to you a before and after translation of many of Street Fighter's most important dialogue. It's presented in what I like to call "VAN DAMMAGE FONT," so say it outloud to yourself for you won't get the same effect. When the words get in all caps say them really loud, and when the words run together read them really quickly.


He's Van Damage on the mic

Normal human being: "I know that you like to look at yourself on television, you sick son of a bitch."
VAN DAMMAGE FONT: "Ah know that you liek to lookaht CHORseff on teleFISHonyou sick SONFABEESH."

Normal, sane human being: "I'm going to kick that son of a bitch Bison's ass so hard, that the next Bison wannabe is gonna feel it!"
VAN DAMMAGE FONT: "Eyem going to kick (pause) that SONFABEESH Bison's ass SO HORD (long pause) that the next Bison WHANNABE (even longer pause) isgonnafeelit."

Normal, sane human being not doing a split on two chairs: "Game over!"
Raul Julia: "GAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaAAAME.... OOOOOOVAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGHHHHHH"

So Van Damme makes Baby Jesus cry, at least Raul Julia (or as I affectionately call him, "Cancer Boy") made the movie somewhat watchable. You could tell that he KNEW deep down that this was the WORST role he could ever POSSIBLY get, so he made the best of it. And, to his credit, he made a pretty damned memorable performance considering that he was deathly ill and carrying a glorified coked-out ballet dancer on screen.

M. Bison (the "M" stands for either "Madame" or "Mike", depending on how gay you think the movie is) is possibly the only character improved on in the film. In the game, he, like most characters, was pretty two dimensional. Sure, he had the standard background story and all (he owned Thailand or something and liked to kill people) but he wasn't the near-enlightened cheese that Julia brings to the role. Each scene is played with a panache so over-the-top that only Sylvester Stallone and his rad ass arm wrestling ability is more over-the-top. Whether showing off the scaled model of his new empire "Bisonopolis" (complete with instructions on where the major franchise restaurants will go) or hovering around in goofy boots, Julia growls and screams his way into the hearts of everyone ELSE who wants to kill Van Damme.

It's heart and soul like that that keep me from making the "he died because the movie was bad" joke. The film's script may've been written in 45 minutes by Corky Thatcher, but that doesn't stop Bison from delivering the most inspired snippets of bad dialogue ever to grace the hallowed halls of motion picture:


Goofy hover boots.

"Something wrong, Colonel? Did you come here prepared to fight a MADMAN...and instead you found a GOD???"

And, my personal favorite, after Bison is killed only to be revived by his foam muscle-vest and given power over lightning (the jokes tend to write themselves at this point):

"Do you refuse to ACCEPT...my GODhood? Keep your own God...in fact, now might be a good time to pray to him! (rising into the air for his traumatic death scene) I BEHELD SATAN AS HE FELL FRRRROM HEAVEN....LIKE LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGTNNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!!!!!!"


AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

That's when the inspired General swoops down and...you guessed it...catches a slow-motion spin-kick (three, if you count the replays) into his own giant television set. Everything explodes, as Guile runs away from the flames spouting "Bison, you're off the air!" But more like "Bison...you're AFF the AIR?" raising his voice at the end like it's a question. I hate Van Damme.

I only wish that Raul Julia had lived long enough to see the rack that Wednesday would grow up and have.


Are they made from real Girl Scouts?

And THAT'S just the two major characters. Of the seven other original World Warriors (and several that were added in subsequent games) NOBODY escapes the wretch of Street Fighter the movie. As to not write a novel on the herpes-inducing pain of the film I'll keep this quick and informative:

Ken and Ryu

In the game: Former sparring partners each looking to make a name for themselves, Ken and Ryu are two of the toughest fighters in the game. Ryu, unlike his counterpart Ken, has given his life to the way of the warrior, wandering aimlessly, and training against any foe he might find. He has learned the intricacies of the fireball, mastering many different styles, and concentrated power, rather than reckless speed, is waiting in his attacks.


Which one of us is Jackie Chan and which one of us is Chris Tucker?

In the movie: Ken and Ryu are bumbling hustlers each looking to be the buddy comedy counterpart, but neither can decide which one is Abbott and which one is Costello. Ken and Ryu travel around trying to get rich looting merchandise and selling fake weapons to the local Mafia. Neither can figure out which one is Danny Glover and which one is Mel Gibson. Near the end, Ryu's voice gets about four octaves deeper (because he's learned his lesson and ripped his shirt off) and Ken learns that money isn't everything. After it's all said and done, Ken and Ryu completely forget their lesson and tell Guile that they want to stick around and "help out" because the place "needs some Hustlers." Neither can figure out which one is Chris Farley and which one is David Spade.

Chun Li

In the game: I was a Chun Li player as a kid, both because of how fast she was and because you could see her nipple when she does her victory dance. She lost her father at a young age but knows it was M. Bison who committed the murder. Now seeking revenge, she has gained the title of "Strongest Woman in the World," and wants to prove this by destroying M. Bison and Shadowlaw.


Whoa, I know kung-fu!

In the movie: Chun Li is undercover as a news reporter, trying to get back at Bison for killing her father (hey, something's the same at least...well, almost). Instead of battling for superiority in the World Warrior tournament (like in the game), Chun Li's movie adventures include dressing up like a Ninja, dressing up like a harem girl, dressing up like a prostitute, and having awkward sexual chemistry with awkward sexual chemist Jean-Claude Van Damme. Chun Li is played by Ming Na, who is famous for being the Asian actress who is in everything else that requires an Asian actress.


You are supreme ultra convoy Pokémon MASTER ooh!

Plus Chun Li's quest for Bison's head gives us arguably the best scene in the movie, where Bison attempts to seduce her by bringing her into (what appears to be) his "dictator lounge." Bison tries on different hats, makes drinks with Bison straws in them, and dons his official Bison smoking jacket. I'm not making any of that up. The scene is capped off when Chun Li reveals her mission and reveals the secret of her father, to which Bison replies, "For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me? It was Tuesday."

Balrog and E. Honda

In the game: Balrog is an ex-champion boxer who was banned from the professional ring because he became too violent to contain. Edmond Honda is legendary in the sumo wrestling circles of Japan, where he is undefeated, having been trained by the best sumo wrestling coaches since birth. They have nothing to do with each other.


IT STEEL FEELS PRETTY WRONG 2 ME

In the movie: Balrog is an ex-champion boxer who's career was ended by Bison. Honda is an ex-sumo champion who's career was ended by Bison. Why Bison has anything to do with who becomes the boxing or sumo champions I'll never know. I thought he wanted to take over Thailand and show off his vest that will bring him back to life in case he ever gets thrown into electrical equipment. Anyway, Honda and Balrog are butt-buddies posing as Chun Li's camera crew. They get easily captured, causing perhaps the most serious case of gay love ever captured in a film about a video game. Honda gets held down and whipped while Balrog watches. Honda no-sells it as Balrog admires him affectionately. Usually when I'm making gay jokes I don't really have anything to back it up, but on the Street Fighter DVD (SPECIAL COLLECTORS EDITION) the director of the film himself says, "I didn't realize that this scene would come off as being so homoerotic."


Watch out or Mr. Fuji will throw salt into your eyes!

Also, Balrog puts on boxing gloves before he escapes imprisonment, so he can deliver witty one-liners like "GOOD NIGHT!" before punching out the inept red camo guards. Honda randomly rips off his clothes. It's all a bunch of gay loving I tell you.

Cammy

In the game: Cammy's background is as mysterious as that of any other Street Fighter; apparently, as a British agent working for Shadaloo, Cammy was one of its best. On her last mission for M. Bison, she lost her memory and had to start over with a new identity. She wears a beret and a spandex singlet for the sexually suggestive wedgie that ALL SERIOUS Street Fighters require.


Lemme hear your body talk...your body talk, lemme hear your body talk...

In the movie: Cammy is Australian, wears clothes that completely cover her body, and helps Guile run the Blue Camo Army. One time near the end she runs up and kicks a Red Camo guy and screams "DROPKICK!" To which the Red Camo guy goes "Who do you think you are?" and then all the kids on the bed go "THAAAT'S HUULK HOOOGAN!" Meanwhile, while nobody gets my old WWF commercial for steroid shaped pillow people, Cammy is played by soap opera actress Kylie Minogue, and that's all right with me.

General Sawada

In the movie: Sawada isn't in the game, but he's by far my favorite character in the movie. He's the "overly concerned Asian guy" and delivers the most warped English you'll ever hear, with dramatic lines like:

(Looking pained) "Cull-nall...a (pause) single boat againt (pause) evor thing he got? (pause) The pilot (pause) would have to be (pause) ow (pause) o his mind!"

He is one of three Asian people in the blue-Army, including a perky young woman and this weird looking guy.

sf23.jpg (16450 bytes)

Zangief

In the game: While Mother Russia has declined in power, Zangief has grown in his. He is the best wrestler ever to emerge from its soils, and he proves this every time he takes on the native Russian grizzly bears for sport. His favorite moves are the Spinning Piledriver, the German Suplex, and a really awful dance with Mikhail Gorbachev if you win the game with him.

In the movie: Zangief is the bumbling Russian henchman of M. Bison, who delivers all the sad, sad comic relief for the bad guys and has THREE, count them, THREE of the worst scenes in the movie.


Oooh...come and and kick me!

1) Zangief and E. Honda battle over the scaled model Bison built of Bisonopolis. The Asian people in the Blue Camo Army watch this on a remote monitor, complete with dubbed in Godzilla sound effects while they wreck everything. The film is then made even MORE racist when the school girls in panties show up and Sawada begins eating his dog.


Leave some for Willy...I mean, Mother Russia!

2) As Bison's foam ruins/temple crumbles (why couldn't Bison stay in a normal building for Christ's sakes) the misguided Russian suddenly has a change of heart, and helps the good guys escape by holding up a big piece of the rubble. Then he rips open his shirt to reveal a Superman shirt! To further drive this joke home, Zangief love Chunk. Rock...Rock-ey ..Road?


There you go slugger.

3) Zangief gives the thumbs up, only sideways. The ever precocious Colonel Guile helps the big man out and turns the thumb so he's making the CORRECT thumbs up. Oh! OH you boys!

Blanka and Dhalsim

In the game: Having fallen from an airplane as a child, Blanka was raised by the animals of the Amazon, and his close encounters with electrical eels have given him the ability to channel shocking power through his body. Some say he was also a victim of toxic waste pollution, as his body seems to have mutated into a bestial mockery of man, suitable for Dr. Moreau's Island or a date with Julia Roberts. Dhalsim is a Hindu guy that stretches. They have nothing to do with each other.


Yoga Flamer

In the movie: "Dr." Dhalsim is a scientist who uses pretty multicolored DNA MUTAGENS (dun dun DUN!!!) to transform Guile's best friend and unhappy hostage Charlie into a green guy with a bony forehead. He's supposed to be Bison's super soldier killing machine, but thanks to some lame Clockwork Orange homage, Dhalsim replaces Blanka's "Bad Stuff is Happening" brainwashing with some "Good Stuff Happens Too" brainwashing. This includes footage of children playing and Martin Luther King, Jr. Then Dhalsim becomes bald and they both die. I hate Street Fighter the movie.


In conclusion

The list goes on...and on...and on...and on. Street Fighter the movie does NOTHING correctly, managing to simultaneously curse the families of anyone who has ever played a video game or watched a movie. I guess there are worse films. Most snuff films are worse than Street Fighter, considering all the cruel and unusual rape and death and stuff. It is Street Fighter's unintentional comedy and the bravura performances from Raul Julia and the wacky Japanese that keep this from being crowned as the worst of all-time.


I like the way you work it, big boy!

One of the more offensive things to come from this movie based on a video game was "Street Fighter: The Movie: The Arcade Game," a video game based on this movie based on a video game. They took out all the things people liked about Street Fighter (the colorful graphics, the play control, the fun) and replaced it with digitized versions of the characters as they were portrayed in said film. High points of this game include the fact that you can play as General Sawada and the fact that the game cannot actually sprout legs and begin murdering people.

If you're a fan of the Street Fighter games and have never seen Street Fighter the movie, you owe it to yourself to experience the sheer drama associated with it's presence. If you've never played the video games and have never seen Street Fighter, you're probably a lot cooler of a person than me and I'd like your phone number. If you're a fan of Street Fighter games and HAVE seen Street Fighter the movie, I'll add you to my prayer book for Church this Sunday.

If you're Jean-Claude Van Damme, here's a special message: Jean-Claude, thank you for simultaneously staining two of my most profound childhood memories and making my years as a teenager miserable and unbearable. I hold you responsible for everything bad that has happened in my life. Don't believe me? Watch Knock Out. Or Double Team. Do you KNOW what you're creating, you SEECK SONAFABEESH?

Right now I'm going to take these tattered memories and hold them close to my heart. Then, I'm going to cry in slow-motion and do a split across two chairs. I can't manage to even LOL once, much less LOL with the exclamation points and the number one's added to the end to make it funny.

I hate being alive. Thanks a lot, Street Fighter.

b
swan@whatever-dude.com
AIM NotAGoonie
Material gathered from: Complete History of Street Fighter


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