Welcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where today we’ll try to change your mind about 1994’s Street Fighter movie. This film is generally regarded as one of the worst video game adaptations out there…and it’s not a great adaptation of its namesake series. But it is funny – on purpose! Probably!
What’s The Plot?
Southeast Asian warlord General M. Bison (Raul Julia) is battling the valiant Allied Nations forces lead by Colonel William F. Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme) for control of fictional nation Shadaloo. If Bison is not stopped in Shadaloo, his goal is no less than world domination!
What makes this movie actually pretty good?
The same kind of intentional, straight faced ridiculousness you find in 1966’s Batman: The Movie and 1980’s Flash Gordon (both, unlike this film, written by the late Lorenzo Semple, Jr.). It takes the sillier elements of the Street Fighter franchise and of the stop-the-megalomaniac action movie and plays them even bigger than usual, resulting in something that is hilarious without being aware of its wackiness. Not that this movie does it nearly as well as Semple’s work, but its reputation as a “bad” movie seems somewhat undeserved.
Five Reasons to See It
- The late, great Raul Julia. He was dying of stomach cancer when this movie was filmed, but he still gave it his all and it shows. He plays M. Bison as a completely earnest nutbar, a would-be world conqueror who completely believes that the world will absolutely love it under his boot heel. It is hard to explain, but this clip should help.
- Bison’s henchmen Zangief (Andrew Bryniarski) and Dee-Jay (Miguel A. Núñez, Jr). The former is a giant Russian strongman who truly believes that M. Bison is a brilliant leader who seeks to bring peace and freedom to the world. The latter is a cynical ex-Microsoft employee who serves as Bison’s number two man despite knowing exactly how much of a psychopathic nutball his boss is. They are two extremes on the hunching spectrum and they are both perfect (as seen in the above linked clip).
- Jean-Claude Van Damme is perfect as the hammy, all-American(?) action hero Col. Guile. He may not have been in on the joke, but then again neither was Tommy Wiseau and look how that turned out. He also delivers one of the best speeches in any movie ever, so he’s got that going for him.
- Adrian Cronauer, the real life Armed Forces Radio D.J. who inspired the movie Good Morning Vietnam, plays…an Allied Nations Radio D.J. who makes jokes about the competency of Bison’s forces. It is his only non-documentary IMDB credit. He’s…far more amusing than he should be, really.
- “QUICK, CHANGE THE CHANNEL!”
Just try watching the movie with a fresh pair of eyes, trying to see it as an action movie parody rather than a failed attempt at a straight action movie. Heck, watch Batman: The Movie beforehand to put yourself in the right headspace. Prove us wrong, World!NEXT WEEK: In celebration of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest movie, Terminator Genisys, we’ll watch his first movie, 1969’s Hercules In New York!