Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (1994) "Uncut, Uncensored, Unleased" edition
Overall verdict: 7/10
The Good: Superbly choreographed fight scenes, highly fluid animation, detailed artwork, characters look exactly like in the game, great voice acting.
The Bad: unfocused narrative, cheesy dialogue,
Current Availability Status: "Uncut, Uncensored, Unleadhed" edition available at most Laser flair and MJ outlets in singapore.
- Japanese, US and UK versions of the film
- interactive character dossier
DVD Value for money rating: C-
Many fans will argue that Group TAC's"Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie" is THE Street Fighter movie. The prefect adaptation of the popular fighting game franchise. Compared to the two live action movies, the American animated series, the Japanese anime series and three other anime OVA movies, it is definitely the best in that it is almost exactly like its source material, flaws and all.
Like its source material, this movie delivers all the flashy fighting moves one would expect from Street Fighter while mixing it up with realistic fight choreography courtesy of professional Martial Artists. Every punch from wind up to the hit to the follow through is thoroughly animated. Close ups and long shots are used appropriately to give a very dynamic viewing experience. Characters act and react to their opponents like how real fighters would and unlike other fighting anime like Dragonball, special powers are not thrown around. In fact, special powers are very rarely used in this movie and only as a last resort. Most of the time, we have one on one duels that look better than some big budget kung fu movies.
All this is set to the gorgeous animation and artwork by Group TAC. It break free from the stereotype of anime utilizing more animation short cuts and lower frame rate than western animation. The frame rate here is so smooth, it almost looks rotoscoped. Even in non-action scenes Characters are always in motion with expression in the faces and body posture portrayed very nicely in the art. Now One would think that with a higher frame rate and smooth animation, the detail of the art would suffer. This is not the case here. The artwork is beautiful and finely detailed. Shadows and blacks are heavy lending to very nice gritty look and feel for the show. And the painted backgrounds are works of art on their own. The character designs are true to the game and pleasing to the eye, though some like Guile and Balrog tend toward looking exaggerated. In Balrog's case, he loooks downright off-model (check out those eyes)
On the flip-side the Street Fighter games were never known for deep narratives. As a result, The story of the movie is weak and cliched, teetering between juvenile and just plain silly. A power hungry dictator, M Bison, has been capturing the world's greatest fighters to turn them into his own private army. He seeks out one particular fighter named Ryu after he defeated Bison's second in command, Sagat. Ryu's life as a vagabond wanderer makes him hard to track, so Bison goes after Ryu's best friend, Ken, whose power level is also "over 3000". At the same time, Captain Guile of the US air-force and Chun Li of Interpol are looking for leads to take down Bison's Shadowlaw crime empire. The story plays out very straight forward with no hint of intrigue or build up, and hearkens back to the cheesy spy movies of the 60s with evil crime empires and giant sky ships. At the same time, the quasi science fiction elements of "power levels" and "mind control" never seem to blend with the more fantasy aspects like "Chi powers". It is almost like watching three different shows cut and pasted together.
Street Fighter II The Animated Movie also suffers from trying to introduce too many characters in too little time. Aside from Ryu, most of the characters are one dimensional stereotypes of different cultures or races. The motives of the other characters are never explained or only briefly touched on and they are never developed as the movie progresses. Even Ryu gets little development beyond being a guy in the wrong place at the right time. Then there are appearances by Zangeif, Blanka, Sagat etc who seem to be just there to make the game fans happy. They lend nothing too important to the plot, especially Zangeif and Blanka whose appearance is totally non-essential to the story and could have been cut out; that time and money could have been used to actually further the plot.
Lastly, The scripting and dialogue is undeniably plain. The games never had much dialogue aside from characters' "post stage" win quotes. Cheesy lines and over the top speeches abound in this movie. Thankfully, unlike other anime, characters do not spew lengthy monologues in the middle of fights. The Japanese voice actors deliver a solid performance and generally seem to have a lot of fun with their lines. The English version has more realistic, subdued acting and some lines are changed to make them less cheesy and more "adult". Plus it is more believable to have the majority of the characters, which are non-Japanese, speak English. Not to mention that the animators never bothered to properly sync the lip movement to the Japanese dialogue in the first place.Different music also accompany the different language tracks. The Japanese language tracks comes with a synthesizer composed score, very mellow and harldy noticable. A good point is that it never distracts one from the animation. The english language track comes with a heavy hitting grunge rock style soundtrack, no doubt inspired by the soundtrack of Mortal Kombat. It is more "in your face" than the japanese one, adding to the whole "badass" feel of the show. In the end, it comes down to personal preference.
Overall Street Fighter II The Animated Movie greatly enjoyable movie that captures the spirit of the games and likely to please fan and newcomer alike. Aside from the simplistic story and cookie cutter characters, the animation and fight choreography definitely sets the bench mark for fighting genre anime.
Go For it: to get a taste of what is essentially the best on screen adaptation of the famous fighting game.
Avoid it: if you expect this movie to give any further insight into the deeper workings of the various street fighter characters.
Voice work(Japanese): B+
Voice work (English): B+
Replay Value: A-
Pull that strap for a nasty surprise.
My third "facing De-feet" joke in a single week.
ITS OVER 9000!!!
Come'ere I'm gonna EAT YOU!
Ryu comes close to De-feet (seriously i should stop with the feet jokes)