And to think I have both the Chun-Li movie waiting in the wings for after I finish this one.
I did not really think this through.
Where did we leave off?
Oh right, the fate of the world rested in the hands of Jean-Claude Van Damme, a pop star, and Not T. Hawk.
Let's get back into it.
At a mission briefing, Guile is preparing his team for an assault on Bison's base. Apparently their goal is to do an assault by sea, which makes sense considering that the only camouflage costume the prop department had on hand was "blue."
Also, they apparently have a stealth boat, something that I can only assume is just as technologically advanced as the boat from the Hulk Hogan classic Thunder In Paradise. Well, okay, maybe not, but it's got to be at least as good as K.I.F.T. from Knight Rider 2000.
You know it's good, because it has lines.
There's an interesting dialogue that happens as Guile explains his plan. He wants one lone boat to pull a Star Wars and slip through the defenses to strike at the heart of Bison's little island/temple empire. When one soldier states that whoever does that must be out of his mind, Guile's response is that Bison "hahs driven me cray-zee." Just the kind of man you want leading a dangerous mission, your admittedly insane boss.
The expressions on Guile's team speaks volumes about their confidence in a man who already stuck his head out a window when he was supposed to be dead.
Meanwhile, in Shadaloo headquarters, the official torturer is doing his best to try to hurt Honda, but he's "sumo, bruddah," so he's able to push the pain down. The two of them make a prison sex joke, then get to work on breaking free.
Zangief does everybody a favor by throwing Ken's tacky suit into the incinerator, making him my favorite character in the movie so far. He then compliments Ryu and Ken who are dressed in their actual costumes from the game, stating that now they look like "Bison troopers." These are costumes we haven't seen anybody else in this movie wear yet, and every other "trooper" Bison has under his employ is dressed in red leather jumpsuits with weird helmets.
I find it interesting that Zangief is portrayed as someone who is either really loyal or really dense, because he actually believes Shadaloo is fighting against "the allied nation's oppression." It's an interesting take on the character, making him somewhat more sympathetic than "guy who wrestles bears and dances with Mikhail Gorbachev."
Guile gets ready to head out, when suddenly a wormy bureaucrat shows up and announces that the allied forces have decided to "negossiate." When Guile protests, the bureaucrat asks him if he's lost his mind, and instead of Guile responding "yes, we already established this a few minutes ago" he replies with the classic response, "no, yeu've lahst yohr bahls."
Guile then delivers the second most memorable monologue in the movie, and I'm just going to put it here.
Now, let's talk about this boat.
Then this happens:
She then continues wrestling with the dead body, because you can never be too sure.
Raul Julia. Seriously, he's the thing that makes this movie worth watching without driving people to chew off their own necks so their bodies can escape what their eyes are seeing. He hams up every scene, does his best to act like an action movie "boss fight," and just seems to be having fun for scenes that aren't too action-based. He certainly gives us the best dialogue of the movie, and the only lines anybody should ever be quoting.
He also gives M. Bison, possibly the least developed character in Street Fighter up until that point, the most interesting characterization. His comments about simply wanting peace, his attempts to woo over Chun-Li, his fixation on single combat without weapons being superior to war, it's all rather interesting when you have it mixed with a man who blows up boats with a joystick, tries to have his hostages be killed by a "wild beast," and clearly wants to force himself on a female prisoner.
There are several characters who are done well by the actors playing them, if I'm being honest. Chun-Li is pretty good in most of her scenes, Zangief is enjoyable every time he shows up, and Vega is strangely loyal to his original character concept of "pretty boy with a claw." I think he might be the most loyal in terms of combat, because we see him spamming the same attack (roll forward, thrust claw) against Ryu but it's actually one of his moves from the game faithfully done.
The set details are well done. Despite the story and characterization, the makers clearly had seen a copy of the game before, and copied stages from the game into other locations through the movie. Honda's tsunami mural is in the Shadaloo training gym, the statue from Sagat's stage shows up, but sadly there's no hall of elephants for Dhalsim to appear in.
Oh, and Kylie Minogue's really, really pretty.
Somehow, this movie is both too ambitious and not ambitious enough. It includes nearly every character from the movie (leaving out Fei Long and replacing him with another military character who really doesn't contribute anything but still gets to be in the final victory pose), meaning the cast is ridiculous, and the story veers so far off from being a movie about a guy holding a fighting tournament that it may as well just be a G.I. Joe plot, or some random B-movie for some 80s action hero.
Simultaneously, while it tries to cram in every character and make a huge story out of what is essentially a less complex plot than The Running Man ("guy fights a bunch of other guys for some other peoples' entertainment"), it doesn't even try to do anything with the characters it has. Ken and Ryu are essentially worthless, relegated to the background a lot instead of being the stars. Chun-Li, Honda, and Balrog are almost unrecognizable (one of them shouldn't even be a hero), Dee Jay's a villain who used to work at Microsoft (his words, not mine).
It makes it all the more peculiar that, for all the stuff they changed about characters (Dhalsim isn't even Indian!), they decided to keep Blanka and make him just as big, green, and freaky as he is in the game. We couldn't get a real fireball or other common attack out of this, but I would not have been surprised to see Blanka crouch down and electrify himself to hurt anybody touching him.
Speaking of "I only exist to motivate the main character," let's talk about Guile. The man is, quite possibly, the worst soldier I've ever seen. He freely admits his whole purpose in getting Bison is a personal vendetta, he suckers other soldiers into fighting for his vendetta when his superiors have told him to stop fighting so they can try to negotiate the safe return of the hostages, and then rather than simply get the mission done, he feels the need to personally fight Bison one on one, leading to a possibility he'd die and the bad guy would get away.
Let's ignore the fact that the war wasn't even necessary. Guile could have just sent a message to Bison that said, "hey. You and me. Fight to the death. Let's settle this now. I'll hit "random" on the stage select, and we'll finish this." Bison probably would've shown up, because he spent most of the movie anxiously waiting for the chance to fight Guile one on one!
We're not even going to talk about the fact that his default setting for "I found my friend, but he has a different skin tone and is having trouble talking clearly" is "shoot him in the head and keep going."
There's so many more things I could talk about in this movie that are bad. The fact that it tries to balance being an action movie and a comedy movie and fails at both. The fact that it steals scenes from other movies and tries to crowbar them into this movie so awkwardly that you can still see the original film's footprint in those scenes. The fact that Jean-Claude Van Damme is almost impossible to understand in points. The fact that Cammy insists on wearing baggy combat pants when we know full well what her costume should be.. Everything about T. Hawk.
You know what? This movie is so bad I think I was actually whimpering as I waited for pointless fight scenes to finish so I could get to the credits. Small, individual scenes are entertaining, but the last third of the movie just gets so caught up in itself that I think the storyboards got shuffled up and they just tried to cut the scenes quickly enough that nobody would notice how sloppy they were. You don't care about the characters, the hero's almost another villain when you stop and think about his plans, and nobody else gets enough time to really develop as a character.
There are other, better dumb movies out there. There are other, much better video game fighting movies out there (do I really need to link my DOA posts again?). This movie just feels like somebody wanted to try to cash in on something popular, so they grabbed a different plot, changed some names, and then kept changing names when they realized there were more characters who needed to show up.
If this had just been a smaller movie about Ken and Ryu or Guile or Chun-Li, they could have introduced Sagat, Balrog, or Vega, done a tight fighting movie with a few select cameos, and then set themselves up for a sequel (a "Street Fighter II" if you will) where Bison arrives and starts a tournament with lots more characters arriving. To be fair, Raul Julia wouldn't live long enough to be in the sequel, but let's be honest here, the only reason he works so well here is because we aren't taking the movie seriously at all. If this had been more Rise of the Dragon than Kung-Fu Hustle than he wouldn't have fit in here at all.