The war-torn and completely real country of Shadaloo is beset with violence and despair from an egomaniacal despot set at world domination. No, you did not accidentally turn on BBC World Service (thank God!), this is the opening to 1994's tale of epic international struggle Street Fighter, a film that, despite its title, contains a surprising lack of street fighting. The MPAA rated it PG-13 for "Non-stop martial arts and action violence," which is such a glowing review it should have been included in the press materials.
Swimming in Cold War Reaganesque bravado, Street Fighter established a decisive showdown between Allied Nations Colonel William F. Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a warm-blooded red meat apple pie American soldier whose international escapades have resulted in a flawless Belgian accent, and General M. Bison, portrayed by the amazing Raul Julia in his final role. Bison kidnaps a group of Allied Nations soldiers (a UN substitute), challenging a few to mortal combat before snapping their necks and chucking their lifeless bodies into a pit. I should hope more despots offer such an opportunity. Imagine Kim Jong Il tossing you a set of nunchucks before subjecting you to endless imprisonment and torture. It seems only fair.
Guile is predictably perturbed by Bison's shenanigans, and thus implements a cunning plan to rescue the hostages.
Step one of Operation Sonovabeechbison: say potty words on television.
|"Yer muver wuz a hammstur, an yer fadder smelt ov elderburries!."|
|A practical use of Allied Nations resources.|
|"Braaaaiiinnnss-ahhhhh I'm just keeding!"|
|What's that boat-shaped object on the water? Probably nothing.|
Are you confused by the torrent of names and characters? If you played any of the original Street Fighter video games you wouldn't be, as they are all playable characters. The film's fighters vaguely resemble their source material, though after thrown into a multicultural tumble dry to emerge a mishmash of their original selves. Sumo wrestler E. Honda is now inexplicably Hawaiian, despite a clearly Japanese name. How these people happened to find themselves in a fictitious country in Southeast Asia (I think) is inadequately explained but ultimately moot. Considering writer and director Steven E. de Souza's mad effort to fit all 320 characters into a 102 minute movie, he succeeds in making all except Guile and Bison blend conveniently into the background.
Their conspicuousness has nothing to do with the writing, but the strength/hilarity of Jean-Claude and Raul's performances. Julia is wonderfully over-the-top as the power-hungry Bison, who creates a character with a combination of camp manic delivery and moral indifference. The John Wayne Gacy inspired clown self-portrait in his chambers perfectly encapsulates Bison's internal sadness and outward insanity. Julia knew this would be his last film, and pulls out all the stops to actually have fun with the character, rather than attempt some misguided sincerity where there clearly is none.
|Crying on the inside, neck-snapping on the outside.|
|Belgian-accented, beret-wearing AMERICAN!|
|I think... the fangs today.|
Arbitrary rating system:
Eight playable characters out of a possible twelve.
Bison: Tell you what! After I crush my enemies, we'll see about getting you published. That should cheer you up, hm?Video Clips:
Guile: Ahm da ripomun, an yer outta buzness!
Bison: The temple above us was the wonder of the ancient world. Bisonopolis shall be the wonder of my world. But I think the food court should be larger.
Bison: But why? Why do they still call me a warlord? And mad? All I want to do is to create the perfect genetic soldier. Not for power, not for evil, but for good. Carlos Blanka will be the first of thousands. They will march out of my laboratory and crush every adversary, every creed, every nation! Until the world is in the loving grip of the Pax Bisonica. And peace will reign and all humanity will bow to me in humble gratitude.
Spineless AN Rep: Colonel, have you lost your mind?
Guile: No, yoov lost yur balls!
Guile: Cumback frum behind da curtain, wizart! Less see how pure yur combat rilly is!
Deion Sanders and MC Hammer try to out-Tupac each other in "Straight to My Feet."
Guile's inspirational "Troopers" speech. I'm sorry for the ebaum's link it was the only place I could find it.