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Street Fighter (Extreme Edition) (1994) Print E-mail
Friday, 13 February 2009
ImageGrowing up I was never a big video game fan.  I enjoyed the original Nintendo game system but nothing really after that.  I did have a brief period in which I got into computer games.  Among the games I played constantly was Street Fighter.  Along with Mortal Kombat, the games were pioneers in one-on-one fighting games.  I don’t anyone around my age that doesn’t know the Mortal Kombat theme song, or Bison, Guile, Ryu, Ken, Chung-Li, Blanka, and a slew of others.  So, when I found out that they were making a Street Fighter movie, I was thrilled.  Sadly, that thrill was short lived.

“Street Fighter” is probably one of the biggest flops in video game-to-silver screen adaptations.  In 1994 it did gross around $35 million in the US – somehow.  Audiences and critics alike panned the film for its poor acting, horrible story and subpar visuals.  The film is based on the background story used in the video game of Street Fighter II.  However, unlike “Mortal Kombat,” “Street Fighter” fails to bring that story to the screen in a cohesive manner.  “Kombat” was simple.  The best fighters were gathered to travel to an alternate realm to fight the ultimate destroyer to save the planet.  All the video game characters were true to the game and the story was accurate.  With “Street Fighter” the story is jumbled, lacking any type of cohesion.  The video game characters are transferred poorly to the screen.

To make matters worse, the acting is just atrocious.  We have all come to expect very little from Van Damme in terms of acting skills.  We all just watch for the fight sequences, which unfortunately were lacking.  The characters in the video game travel to fighting arenas all over the world in order to track down General Bison.  However, in the film all the characters just show up in an Asian village where Bison is holding a relatively small amount of Allied Nation hostages with a demand of $20 billion.  Right, 63 hostages for $20 billion.  I don’t think so. Colonel Guile is the leader of the Allied Nation forces and sets a plan in motion to infiltrate Bison’s secret lair.  He uses too smugglers, Ken and Ryu, to ally with Sagat, an arms dealer to get taken to Bison.  Sure enough that is what happens.  Journalist Chung-Li has plans of her own, and decides to track down Bison to avenge her father’s death.  Blanka, Honda, Balrog, Dee Jay, Cammy, Zangief, Vega, Dhalism, and others all make their appearance in the film.  It almost seems overkill.  The script seemingly is created to just include all the characters with nothing for them to do.  Cammy just hovers around Colonel Guile.  Not to mention, Cammy is played by Kylie Minogue.  That’s right, Kylie Minogue.  What a gem.

It may or may not be a surprise to some of you, but there is a sequel coming soon.  “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” will be released at the end of February 2009.  It may surprise me, but I am going to bet that the best part of that film is going to be beautiful Kristin Kreuk.

While the movie was quite poor, I was rather surprised by the quality level of the video.  We are given a 1080p/VC-1 encode.  The video presentation is far better than most films that have hit Blu-ray from the early-mid 1990s.  The print is plagued with dust, dirt, grain, scratches and even the occasional vertical streak.  Still, the image remains full of vibrant colors, decent black levels, and good level of details and textures.  The contrast and colors have been oversaturated at some points, making the fleshtones look painted on and plugged.  There doesn’t seem to be any digital noise reduction, edge enhancement or artifacting.  Overall, this is a decent presentation for the low-budget film.

The audio is the biggest surprise in this Blu-ray release.  Universal keeps true to form and gives us a DTS-HD 5.1 track.  The surround speakers are constantly engaged.  There is a lull in the middle of the film in terms of rear presence, but the opening and closing segments have terrific surround use.  Panning and localization is a bit off.  Much of the surround presence appears to be smeared.  The LFE channel is not as strong as I would have liked.  There is no real beef to the punches, kicks and explosions.  When the truck with the bomb explodes in the firearms camp I was expecting a massive explosion and the sound to follow.  Instead the sound was rather weak.  There is not much dynamic range, as I said the explosions don’t jump out.  The dialogue is audible, although sometimes it becomes a little muddled.  Once again, for early days in surround sound for films, this audio track gives us some good stuff.

I was surprised to find as many extra features on the Blu-ray as there are, given the caliber of the film.  Even still, the bonus materials are fairly weak.  Exclusive ot the Blu-ray are previews for the Street Fighter IV game and a BD-Live section.  “The Making of ‘Street Fighter’” is a typical featurette, but contains even less information than normal.  There are some outtakes and a couple of deleted scenes.  There are two storyboard sequences, as well as two video game sequences.  Cyberwalk is an odd extra that I still haven’t figured out.  There is an archive fileld with enormous amounts of still photos.  Lastly, there is a feature commentary with director Steven E. de Souza, which is a snoozer given the film that accompanies it.

“Street Fighter” is a disappointment for fans of the video game and film lovers in general.  The only real fight sequences are in the final showdown, in which the choreography is fairly terrible.  The video and audio quality however are better than to be expected.  You may want to just give this one a rent, but then again maybe not.

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