Credentials: 13%, Certified Rotten (Rottentomatoes.com) / 3.4 out of 10 (Imdb.com)
Plot: A crazed dictator by the name of… M. Bison (WTF?, played by Raul Julia) kidnaps a bunch of Red Cross-types and threatens to kill them unless the rest of the world pays… ONE MILL… oh wait. I mean TWENTY BILLION DOLLARS! It’s up to Col. Guile (Jean Claude Van Damme) and his team of martial arts experts and Australian pop stars (Kylie Minogue) to kick a lot of butt, take a lot of names and--- most importantly--- drop a TON of one liners. Are they up the task? I can say that, at least as far as the last one is concerned, hell yeah!
Why it stinks: “Street Fighter” has exactly TWO things going for it. The first is the virtually never-ending stream of mostly-hilarious one-liners the characters speak in instead of, you know, actual dialogue. The second is the crazed, scenery gnawing performance of the late, great Raul Julia.
Without them, I’m not sure I would have made it.
Now, I’ve never played any of the “Street Fighter” games which this movie was based on, which may have caused me to miss some of the story’s finer points. But I doubt it.
Everything’s pretty cliché. Basically, it’s your average story of boy meets maniac dictator, boy must stop maniac dictator, etc. Throw in a lot of over-the-top fight scenes and you’ve got the picture.
Maybe if I had played the games, I would have cared more about the film’s laundry list of good guys. I mean my god how many good guys does one movie need? I can’t tell you how many heroes got a substantial amount of screen time (seemed like around a dozen), but I can tell you how many of their names I know: two. Guile and Ryu. All the rest combined to form a nameless, faceless blob of heroism.
It didn’t matter. I was rooting for Bison the whole time anyway. Raul Julia is just having way too much fun hamming it up while saying things like “superconductor electromagnetism” to root for anyone else.
Side note: What the hell kind of name is Bison anyway?
Not only did I never get into the “Street Fighter” games, I also missed out on the Jean Claude Van Damme phase as well. I could never look at him as anything but an extremely poor man’s Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He just doesn’t do it for me. He’s got the goofy accent and huge guns, but he lacks Arnie’s charisma.
The actions scenes are OK, but nothing special. Lots of blah martial arts gibberish and spin kicks. None of them managed to distinguish themselves outside of the film’s aerial climatic battle. That was pretty darn alright… cuz Bison was there.
Worst of the worst
Oh no you don’t Jean Claude Van Damme. You do NOT get to steal Arnie’s catchphrases! “I need a vacation” belongs to “Terminator 2.” Find your own quips.