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Street Fighter (Mill Creek Entertainment) Steelbook Edition Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • Street Fighter (Mill Creek Entertainment) Steelbook Edition Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: December 7th, 2021.
    Director: Steven de Souza
    Cast: Jean Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Ming-Na Wen, Damian Chape, Kylie Minogue, Byron Mann
    Year: 1994
    Purchase From Amazon

    Street Fighter - Movie Review:

    Based on the popular video game series of the same name, Steven de Souza's 1994 action/martial arts schlock-fest Street Fighter stars Jean Claude Van Damme as Colonel William F. Guile, a commando who leads a small group of fighters into the country of Shadaloo where he hopes to find and put a stop to an evil militant type named General Bison (Raul Julia). It seems Bison has recently taken a trio of soldiers and a bunch of other people hostage and that Guile intends to get them back. Bison, on the other hand, has used one of his captors, Charlie Blanka (Robert Mammone), as a guinea pig in a genetic experiment that has turned him into a monster thanks to the efforts of an evil scientist named Dhalism (Roshan Seth). Charlie just so happens to be Guile's best friend.

    While Guile and his team are doing their thing, a reporter named Chun Li (Ming-Na Wen) has her own axe to grind with Bison, as he killed her father years ago. Since she and Guile are after the same man, it makes sense for them to team up and join forces. Guile gathers up a few rascally fighters from various backgrounds like Ryu (Byron Mann), Ken (Damian Chapa), Hawk (Gregg Rainwater), Cammy (Kylie Minogue), Vega (Jay Tavare), E. Honda (Peter Tuiasosopo), Balrog (Grand L. Bush) and Sagat (Wes Studi) to help him in his quest. They soon find themselves in a race against time though, as Bison has decided to kill his hostages unless he's paid twenty billion dollars!

    From the opening newscast (in which Global News Television tells us of the 'crisis in Shadaloo') through to the fight scenes, wardrobe, the script and the acting, Street Fighter is a ridiculous movie. A very, very, very ridiculous movie, in fact. Now it's rare that anyone really expects a video game adaptation to be particularly good but even by the admittedly low standards of the genre this one is something else. That said, while it might not be a film you're really ever meant to take seriously, if you're in the right frame of mind for it the picture is pretty entertaining.

    To his credit, Raul Julia does as good a job as anyone could have possibly done as the villain. He's hamming it up throughout and it's fun to watch him chew through the scenery, especially in the final showdown with Van Damme. Unfortunately, casting him against the incredibly wooden (and freakishly bleach blonde) Van Damme undoes any good he's able to bring to the picture. While Van Damme isn't entirely responsible for the picture's quality, when your leading man has the charisma of a rock and is about as charismatic as a corpse, you're in trouble (his reported cocaine addiction at the time very likely the cause of this). Maybe that was the point though? He's amusing to watch in the film, even if it's usually for the wrong reasons. The rest of the cast members stand out only because of their costumes and special moves, but hey, seeing Kylie Minogue in a movie like this weird and Ming-Na Wen proves a good casting choice for Chun Li. She looks great here and actually moves pretty well in some of her fight scenes.

    The main problem with the picture is that it's really inconsistent. We get a few scenes that attempt to play things straight and then move on into the utterly ridiculous action and fight scenes. Had the picture been able to play things completely straight, it might have worked, and on the flip side of that coin had it gone completely over the top it could have wound up being a lot more entertaining than it is, but instead it bounces back and forth and never finds its stride. The extra features on the disc make it clear that the movie was meant to be funny and, at times, that shines through for sure, but there are moments where it doesn't quite work. A good amount of that may have more to do with the hectic shoot and the multiple recuts that the film underwent more than de Souza's abilities as a filmmaker, but it is what it is and what it is, well, it's a really weird, yet eminently watchable mess.

    That said, as bad as this movie is, it's not impossible to enjoy it on a very base level if you're in the right frame of mind. If you want a predictable and by the numbers action/adventure film that will entertain the twelve year old boy trapped deep inside of you, this'll do the trick. If you think about it too much you'll probably give yourself an aneurysm but IF you can turn off your brain and IF you can get past the ridiculousness of it all and IF you don't get too hung up on the differences between the game and the movie (and there are lot of them - but to be fair, there are some neat similarities too) then as a big budget B-movie you can do worse. At least there's fun to be had here.

    Street Fighter - Blu-ray Review:

    Mill Creek Entertainment brings Street Fighter to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer taking up 31.6GBS of space on the 50GB disc framed in its proper 2.35.1 aspect ratio. This does not appear to be a new transfer at all, it's a bit on the noisy side. Detail is okay but never amazing though the film's garish color scheme is reproduced very nicely here. There isn't much in the way of compression to gripe about here, but there could very well be some DNR applied to the image, as skin looks slightly waxy at times.

    The only audio option on the disc is a 24-bit English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track, with optional subtitles available in English only. If the transfer isn't amazing, the audio here is really strong. There isn't a trace of any hiss or distortion and there's lots of strong bass response from the subwoofer to accompany plenty of fun directional effects during the film's many action scenes. Dialogue is always clear and clean and properly balanced. This sounds great.

    Mill Creek isn't known for putting a lot of new extras on their Blu-rays, but this disc is an exception as it includes quite a few very nicely done supplements exclusive to this release. Operation Shadaloo: Making Street Fighter (Extended Edition) is a new interview with writer/director Steven E. De Souza that runs twenty minutes. He talks about how he came to direct the movie, the film's rushed production schedule, coming up with a pitch in forty-eight hours, wanting to make a big scale action movie, how Capcom financed the entire movie themselves, casting the film, the decision to put Van Damme in the lead, Raul Julia's health problems, shooting in Thailand and the problems that came out of that, having to shoot extra material in Canada after principal photography wrapped, originally getting an R-rating from the MPAA and having to recut multiple times to get a PG-13 rating, the intentional humor in the film and how the movie was received upon original release to how it has been received more recently.

    I Will Crush You: Ken Vs. Chapa interviews actor Damian Chapa for eleven minutes. He talks about how his agent got him the audition for the film, getting the part, not knowing who Van Damme was at first, not being aware of the game that the movie was based on, thoughts on the script, being excited to work with Julia and his health problems at the time, thoughts on his character, what it was like on set, the difference between being a real fighter and an actor and his thoughts on the movie overall.

    Game Over: Scoring Street Fighter gets composer Graeme Revell on camera for ten minutes. He talks about how he came to get the gig scoring the film, his familiarity with the video game thanks to his kids, his relationship with producer Ed Pressman, getting along with Steven de Souza, trying to 'go big' with the score, happy to have the opportunity to do something fun with the film, the use of pop and hip-hop music in the film and blending it with the score and having to write the score very quickly to get it in on schedule.

    It Was Tuesday: Producing Street Fighter interviews producer Ed Pressman for five minutes. He talks about his background in the toy business, his involvement in the film business, the importance of getting Van Damme for the lead role, working with de Souza, knowing Julia from his theater work and connections, shooting in Bangkok, how the film was received upon release and the following that has developed around it in recent years.

    Ming-Na Wen shows up next in The Stongest Woman In The World: Ming-Na Vs. Chun Li. She talks here for eight minutes about how she knew the game from being a nerdy arcade fan as a kid, not really being familiar with the Hollywood scene, having some martial arts training before the movie, getting along with de Souza, the importance of understanding her character in the movie, getting along with her co-stars and Julie in particular, how exhausting the shoot was and how this movie helped her career.

    Ultimate Badass: JCVD At Universal is a new interview with author David J. Moore that clocks in at just under twelve minutes. He talks here about what made Van Damme unique in the early part of his career, some of the smaller roles he had before hitting the big time, the importance of Bloodsport to his star power, what made him appealing to action fans in the eighties, how he rose to be a competitor to actors like Stallone and Schwarzenegger, the success of Universal Soldier, his work with John Woo on Hard Target, hitting the big time with Time Cop and then, of course, his work in Street Fighter and how that affected his career.

    The last of the new featurettes on the disc is Attack Me If You Dare: Game Vs. Film, in which a Street Fighter game historian named Oliver Harper goes over the differences between the characters and situations featured in the game versus how they were featured in the film. This runs just under eleven minutes and it covers de Souza's script and direction, the background information given to the different characters in the film, how the character's names are expanded on and more.

    The archival extras on this release kick off with a feature length commentary track from the film's director, Steven de Souza. While there are a few too many long gaps of silence, de Souza actually delivers a fairly interesting discussion on the film and he plays it all with complete seriousness. He talks about working with Van Damme, coordinating some of the stunt work, shooting on various sets and about some of the difficulties that you face when adapting a video game into a movie. He also talks about his feelings on the effects of violent video games and movies and about shooting overseas. It's considerably more interesting than you'd probably expect it to be, even if it is periodically quiet and generally humorless.

    From there, check out the six-minute making of featurette, which looks like it was created to promote the film during its original theatrical release. Aside from some typical behind the scenes clips, there are cast and crew interviews here that allow the participants to talk about their characters and their work on the picture. This doesn't get too deep, however, it's really little more than a simple PR piece.

    Three minutes of outtakes are more interesting in that they give us a look at the cast and crew on set. We get two minutes of moderately interesting deleted scenes here, while Crisis In Shadaloo is four minutes of Chun-Li's news cast that we see early in the movie explaining the situation with Bison. We also get a quick 'Archives' section that has some footage from the games that inspired the movie, a few trailers for the movie, menus and chapter selection options.

    We've also got to take a second to point out the very cool steelbook packaging here. The front panel has a nice painted image of the cast and the back a fantastic Napoleonic-style painting of Bison. This fits inside a plastic sleeve that features the movie's logo on the front and the standard synopsis/tech spec info on the back. Inside the case, along with the disc is a folder containing a Bison Buck (definitely one of the funniest parts of the movie) which is a really nice touch.

    Street Fighter - The Final Word:

    Street Fighter is a mess, but it's a fun mess. It's quirky and colorful and weird, with a great performance from Raul Julia as its main selling point. Mill Creek's steelbook reissue would have benefitted from a new scan but that issue aside, it's stacked with extras ,features strong audio and comes in some impressive packaging, which definitely helps make up for the less than perfect image quality.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Street Fighter Blu-ray screen caps!

    • Darcy Parker
      Darcy Parker
      Senior Member
      Darcy Parker commented
      Editing a comment
      The back panel of the steelbook is a reproduction of the painting in Bison's bedroom from the scene where he attempts to seduce Chun-Li, and was one of the funny little background details in the movie. Nice touch by Mill Creek to pick that for the packaging!
    Posting comments is disabled.

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