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Street Fighter II
Distributor Manga Entertainment
Like most uber-popular videogames, Street Fighter II has managed to punch, kick and uppercut its way into other media as well. An American animated series and movie were both hugely disappointing, and in some cases simply not recognised by SFII’s fans. The original main characters Ryu and Ken had to take a back seat to the “All-American” Guile (played by Jean Claude Van Damme in the movie, of all people) and the violence was dulled down a little, making it aimed firmly at 8-12 year olds. The Japanese animated series and movie, on the other hand, were hard hitting fan favourites that stayed true to the original material.
The film has very little plot, basically revolving around M. Bison’s search for Ryu, and all the other best street fighters. The film more than makes up for it’s lack of plot with fight scenes that not even Kenshiro of FotNS could better, and the fact that every character from the SFII universe, from Cammy to Vega, is included in one way or another (look closely for Akuma) is a major plus. I have yet to see other martial arts orientated anime films which have fight scenes that even compare to this in terms of direction and animation.
One of the major flaws of this DVD is the total lack of the original Japanese language track, a glaring omission that will disappoint many purists looking to watch the film in subtitled form. That’s not to say there is any particular problem with the English dub, as it is nicely done and even the cheesy dialogue gives it that “action movie” feel. The soundtrack is also a great selection of industrial rock bands of the time (KoRn, Alice in Chains, etc.) that is perfectly suited to this type of film.
If you already own this film on VHS, I see no reason why you should bother with this DVD release, but if you haven’t seen it and you are a fan of the Street Fighter games, or martial arts anime in general, this could be the perfect film for you. Also, if you own a PS2, get the Street Fighter II Anniversary Collection; it includes this film in its entirety, albeit not in perfect quality.
Some of the best fights in anime. Highly recommended for fight lovers, anime fans or not.