The 2am Review

Quality goes down the tubes with the first re-post for the reborn website.  But hey, what better way to celebrate the new Street Fighter movie with a rehashed review of the old one?  Which is now known as the “better” one.

The “game-to-movie” genre’s been much maligned and with very good reason: rarely have the filmmakers been able to take the original premise and make it into a good movie!  Sure there’s been the rare good one (Mortal Kombat), but most of the others can either be put into one of two categories. Either it started out well only to turn into crap (Tomb Raider) or no one knew what the hell they were doing in the first place (Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon).

Today’s movie is not one of the rare good ones, if it were, then I wouldn’t be reviewing it.  It falls into one of those categories, but I’m glad it’s not the latter.  The filmmakers had some idea with what they were doing, but in the end, most of it came out bad and for fans of the series, well, I weep for what they wound up getting.


Written and Directed by: Steven E. DeSouza
Starring:  Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Kylie Minogue
Blood?  A little.
Tits:  I wish.
Rated:  PG-13

Ah, Street Fighter.  Capcom’s money-making love child.  A company who loved the name “Street Fighter II” so much, they kept it for many years before realizing they could add a “III” at the end.  Am I a fan of the series?  Yes, absolutely.  Years ago, even with the juggernaut of Mortal Kombat making a name for itself, I’d choose SF over MK.  Not that MK isn’t fun, it was, but there was more strategy involved with SF, I found.  After many years of playing the different incarnations of SFII, the movie was made.  Now, I knew a LOT about the Street Fighter characters, and being fourteen years old at the time, I was more than ready to see what they did with them in the movie.  I didn’t complain when Van Damme was cast as the American Colonel Guile or Gomez Adams playing M. Bison.  I just wanted to see it.  And holy shit was I ever disappointed.  I expected some changes, but wow.  It’s like the writer was using a Mad Lib version of a Hollywood script to do the movie, filling in the blanks with the names of the SF characters…


I think you get the idea.  I’m sure I’ll wind up going off on a few rants before this review’s done so let’s get this thing started.


Hey, Universal incorporated their logo into the opening by changing it into the Street Fighter logo, how original!  Oh man, there’s actually a credit to someone who made “Bison’s uniform.”  Flick opens with news reports of a civil war in Shadaloo as General M. Bison has taken over this apparently vital strategic area.  He has taken many hostages, some are soldiers, and is asking for TWENTY BILLION DOLLARS /does the Dr. Evil pose.  In his strong hold, Bison is watching the news reports while putting the very hostages they’re talking about into a holding cell.  Chun-Li does most of the reporting.  Originally she was a cop, but I guess that doesn’t figure into this story.  Bison challenges one of the soldiers to fight him, then snaps his neck after dodging a punch.  Another soldiers charges him, gets his neck snapped too.

Chun-Li gets Colonel Guile on camera and wants to interview him but he grabs the mic and motions an “up yours” gesture, which pisses Bison off.  He gets Dee Jay to crack the signal and interrupt this touching moment.  In the television truck E. Honda (who is now Samoan?) notices the jammed signal and talks to Balrog, the camera man, about how messed up everything is.  Balrog goes from one of Bison’s top guys to Chun-Li’s cameraman??


Bison addresses Guile and wants to know why he’s being dissed.  Guile gets Cammy to track the signal and calls Bison a dickhead.  Ouch.  Bison gives Guile 72 hours to rescue the hostages and Guile starts yelling something, the only word I can make out is, “Charlie.”  Van Damme is coked out of his mind at this point, I think.  Probably not the best thing to have said.  Bison walks over to the next soldier and checks out his dog tags that reads “Carlos Blanka.”  Yeah, you know it.  Bison wants him sent to THE LABORATORY!

Cammy and T. Hawk arrive to tell Guile they couldn’t get an exact signal, so Guile chews out Chun-Li.  Cammy reassures her he doesn’t have anything personal against her, just hates journalists.

Elsewhere, in a barbwire cage (ECDUB, ECDUB, ECDUB), some dude who hasn’t taken his monthly bath is taking on Vega and gets knocked out as the women cheer him on.  Two dudes named Ryu and Ken show up and talk to Sagat about some “dealings.”  They want their money and Sagat wants his weapons.  They tell him they’ll give up the weapons once they’re safely away.  Sagat winds up telling them he knows where the weapons are and had his men pick them up.  The men load the guns and fire at Ryu and Ken, but they wind up being Nerf balls.  Guess they scratched the name off so they look like real guns, y’know?  Sagat’s pissed so he commands his men to attack.  Ryu and Ken fight them off, but they must be different Ryu and Ken’s, cause I don’t remember them being INTERNATIONAL ARMS DEALERS!  Eventually, the guys get real guns and take the good guys (?) captive.


Back in his secret lair, Bison meets with Dr. Dhalsim.  This Dhalsim is a GENETIC SCIENTIST…with hair.  Bison asks how the work is going and Dhalsim grumbles over how his work is being misused.  Bison says he’ll cheer him up by getting him published after he conquers his enemies.  They check out Charlie, who’s being fed violent and painful imagery into his mind.  Dhalsim calls Bison a psycho one too many times and gets tossed across the room.

Back in the fighting arena, Sagat announces the next fight as Ryu vs. Vega.  And do the women, and a couple of the guys, love Vega.  One girl comes around and tears off Ryu’s shirt and the women start loving him a bit more, much to Vega’s chagrin.  He’s given a sword and he shows what he can do with it by throwing it and narrowly missing Vega.  Vega grabs for his claw but the crowd wants a fight with no weapons.  And you call yourselves hardcore. . .  Before the fight starts, a large tank crashes through and Guile pops out and declares everyone under arrest.  This <I>is</I> called “Street Fighter” right?

In the AN (Allied Nations) headquarters, Cammy is laying out the latest intelligence on where Bison could be when a cook tries to assassinate Guile.  Guile quickly kicks his ass and wants to know if there’s any new business.  Oooh, with dry, cool wit like that he can be an action hero.  Cammy checks the guy out and he has a tattoo relating to Shadaloo on his chest.  Guile figures if Sagat is moving guys back and forth between him and Bison, then he should know where Bison is hiding, and thinks they can find him if they get someone to join Sagat’s gang.

Out in the courtyard, all the recently arrested people from last night are hanging around waiting to be shipped off.  Actually they’re now just circling around Ryu and Ken, it’s time for some payback.  Sagat hands Vega a hand-made claw and sics him on Ryu and Ken.  Guile watches the fight and gets an idea.


Back in Bison’s Love Shack, his scientists have hooked up some “DNA mutagen” and “anabolic plasma” to Blanka, which is upping his muscle mass big time.  Dhalsim looks worried.  I would be too, wasn’t “mutagen” used to turn normal turtles into TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES??

Guile shows Ken and Ryu around a hospital area where people have been injured from the war.  Guile looks at their files and says they’ve been selling weapons they’ve already stolen from other bad guys, so he thinks maybe they’re good guys.  They just want to leave, but he won’t leave unless it’s over his dead body.

In the courtyard, Guile spews some more witty banter to Sagat about him being the repoman and putting Sagat out of business.  Ryu and Ken argue over whose fault it is why they’re in this situation in the first place but get thrown in the truck.  Ryu pulls out some keys he lifted off one of the guards.  Sagat sees them with the keys and offers to help them escape the city if they give him and Vega the keys.  Two seconds pass and they agree and hijack the truck.  Guile runs out and shoots at them to try and stop them.  Ken grabs a gun and starts firing and nails Guile.  Chun-Li in the middle of all this tosses a homing beacon onto the truck as it drives away.  Everyone surrounds and cries over Guile’s dead body.

Elsewhere, Bison is looking over a model of Bisonopolis, the city which will be constructed once he takes over.  He then instructs one of the architects to make the food court bigger since all major franchises will want to be in.  HA!  I love Julia’s portrayal of Bison, but if Bison was to be ever taken seriously, that just killed it.  Chun-Li interrupts with a news report telling everyone that Guile is dead.  Dee Jay is quick to point out that Bison must be happy, but Bison says he mourns Guile’s death.  He wanted to be the one to kill him in honorable combat.  Dee Jay just rolls his eyes, maybe wondering why he’s there in the first place.  Bison goes off on a tangent as to why people call him a mad man for just wanting to create the perfect genetic soldier.  Not for power or evil, but for peace.  Blanka will be the first of his genetic army to help take over the world so there will be peace at last.  Hey, why not give it a shot, nothing else is working.  Zangief finally gets a line in saying how beautiful that story was.


In the television truck, Chun-Li and company check out the homing signal and find another signal coming from the truck.  That signal is being sent to AN HQ.  They are told to leave the area for the day, and as they leave, Chun-Li jumps out in a ninja outfit and creeps into night.  She follows the signal, which leads her to the morgue.  She finds a homing station there and looks around to find a dead body.  Pulling the covers back, it’s Guile!  He pops up, very much alive, to tell her there’s no way he’s gonna give her an interview when he’s dead.  She figures that Guile’s plan all along was to get some men on the inside.  Guile wants her arrested but she tells him her sob story about how Bison killed her father.  He says the war is not about her vendetta (it’s about his.)  Cammy and T. Hawk lead Chun-Li away but she fights out of their custody and leaps out the window to safety.  So, was Guile laying their pretending to be dead for half the day or what?

Outside of Bison’s complex, there’s a large camp area set up.  In a tent, Bison and Sagat are enjoying some magicians who look conspicuously like Chun-Li, E. Honda and Balrog.  Ken and Ryu are watching as well and Ken becomes fascinated with Chun-Li and follows her outside, Ken is quick to follow.  Bison and Sagat get down to business.  Sagat has supplied the weapons and wants his money.  Bison offers him a chunk of power when he takes over but Sagat would rather some money for now.  Bison gives him a chest full of money, money that has Bison’s image on it.  Bison explains that every Bison Dollar will be worth five British pounds, when he takes over that country too.  Sagat gets pissed and looks like they’re gonna throw down…

In a tent nearby, Ken and Ryu are tied up but recognize their captors.  Apparently Bison somehow ruined Honda’s and Balrog’s professional careers.  They’re all on the same side so Ken and Ryu get untied and walk into the other tent to see Bison’s army and Sagat’s army on separate sides of the room.  They each try to talk some sense into the bad guys but don’t get anywhere.  They let on that there’s been a spy all along and hear a nearby news report.  They watch the TV to see Chun-Li explaining that all the weapons that are stored in the trucks are gonna be blown up.  They let one of the trucks drive down a hill towards the other weapons and tents.  Zangief urges that someone change the channel.  Yeah, the guy’s retarded.  Time to evacuate!  Anyone who’s important enough to appear later in the movie isn’t killed in the inevitable explosion.


Returning to Bison’s base, he thanks Ken and Ryu for helping him and wants them to join his army.  Whatever plan Chun-Li had didn’t pan out, she and the other guys have been captured.  Bison wants the guys sent to the torture chamber and Chun-Li to his personal quarters.  Ken and Ryu feel kinda bad for what they’re doing.

Just so we haven’t forgotten, we see the hostages, probably still alive.

At the AN base, Guile is laying out a plan of attack since they now know where Bison is.  He says the best way to attack is if a boat going up the river, using the latest in stealth technology, will distract Bison, then the rest of the army can attack from a nearby forest.  Alrighty!

In the torture chamber, the head torture guy is getting all horny to do some damage.  He takes everyone he’s got on Honda’s back, but the guy is unfazed.  Balrog laughs but gets a punch to the face he so rightly deserves.  The dude leaves to get more pointier toys, leaving the guys alone to break the chains.

Elsewhere, Zangief tosses some suits into the incinerator and says that Ryu and Ken now look like Bison troopers.  Ken and Ryu now have their trademark red/white gi’s on now.  Zangief shows them around the training area.

Guile has his troops assembled and ready to move out.  That is until a man arrives informing Guile that his superiors have decided to negotiate with Bison by paying out the TWENTY BILLION DOLLARS /Dr. Evil again.  Guile can’t believe it, the troops can’t believe it, and I can’t believe I’ve just written almost five pages on this movie and it’s not even an hour in! Guile questions what is to stop Bison from doing this again.  The man (who I now recognize as the guy who got raped by a gorilla in the second Ace Ventura flick) thinks Guile’s lost his mind, while Guile thinks this guy’s lost his balls.  Well, in a few more years he just might!  The man tells Guile to deliver some last orders to the troops and then will be relieved of command.  Guile walks up to the podium and gets his men riled up to fight instead of standing down.  In a moment of coked out acting and verbal irregularity, Van Damme delivers this line, “I’m goeeng t’kik Bahsins’ass so hart, de next Bahson wanbee will fell it.”  Yikes, subtitles please!  This valiant speech gets the troops going back to war.  Guile, Cammy and T. Hawk get into the fancy stealth boat and take off.

In Bison’s chambers, Chun-Li lays out the story of what Bison did to her father and how he ruined her life.  She’s now dressed up in the costume you see her in in the game, as well as the horrible hairstyle.  Bison apologizes for not remembering what he’s done, but points out that that day was the most important day in her life.  For him, it was Tuesday.

Ken and Ryu knock the torture guy out and open the door to free Honda and Balrog who aren’t exactly happy to see them after what they did.  They get convinced they’re all on the same side.


Chun-Li continues her story about becoming a journalist and learning more about Bison, who puts on some romantic music at this point.  She finishes off by telling him she’s learning many styles of martial arts and hopes to end his reign of terror.  He’s not threatened at all by her since she’s a woman.  Yeaaaah, every time a guy says that, he gets his ass kicked.  She breaks her cuffs and kicks him out of his couch and proceeds to kick his ass.  No moves from the game that I can make out.  The guys run in, thinking they’re gonna save her, she gets distracted long enough for Bison to sneak into a protective room and he gasses them all.

Guile informs his men to stand by slips in a tape of him and Charlie at a party.  Awww, I completely forgot about him.

Oh, right, back in the lab, Blanka’s becoming bigger, greener, more Hulk-like.  Only with big, orange hair!  Dhalsim waits for the guards to leave and changes the imagery Blanka is receiving to happier ones.  Blanka’s gonna be one confused killing machine.

Guile flips on the stealth mode and they disappear!  Except for the large waves the boat is making.  They start shooting out the radars and Dee Jay points this out to Bison.  They simply turn on some cameras outside by the river and notice the waves.  Cammy points out they’ve been found and their signal’s being jammed.  Bison orders some chain guns to attack the boat and informs them of their impending death.  Guile shows up on their screen, much to Sagat’s surprise.  Bison’s already figured it out and points out that Sagat must not have “seen” it.  Bison brings up some controls that look like arcade joysticks and buttons . . .and uses them to start blowing up mines in the water.  Yes, it looks like he’s playing an arcade game that has nothing to do with fighting.  Guile and crew eject from the boat just as it’s blown to smithereens, as Bison declares, “GAME. . . OVAAAAAH!”

In the lab, one of the guards figures out what Dhalsim is up to and they get into a shoving match, knocking out some of the systems, like the one feeding Blanka the pretty pictures.  The guard accidentally hits the release button and Blanka gets out.  He sees Dhalsim being assaulted and picks the fatty guard up and tosses him.

Outside the compound, Cammy, Guilde and T. Hawk take out some soldiers on patrol.  They find a quaint little spot to sneak into undetected.

The news report announces that time is running down and Bison asks Dee Jay if his ransom money’s been put into his Swiss bank account.  A loud buzzer goes off signaling that nothing’s been put into it.  He opens the cell door and tells the hostages what they don’t want to hear.  They’re not worth a decent rescue attempt so he wants to unleash his new soldier on them.

Guile finds his way into the lab and runs into Blanka who tries to kill him.  Guile takes a look at him and figures quickly that it’s Charlie.  He stops his attack and cries over what they’ve done to him.  Guile says he’ll help him and gets his gun out.  Dhalsim comes out to stop him, telling him it’s not right to kill him.  Dhalsim says he’s done what we could do to keep him human, which Guile scoffs at.  The incubation chamber Blanka’s supposes to be in is starting to rise…

Bison says everyone’s gonna die as the chamber comes up.  He waits and sure enough, it’s Guile that’s in there.  He leaps what has to be a good fifty feet away and 15 feet in the air and kicks Bison in the face.  Bison just tells his men to shoot the hostages but Guile closes the cell door.  Guile finds a place to hide and shoot as the Street Fighters break their chains and fight back.  Guile accidentally kills a guy next to the control desk and the guy falls on the buttons, which activates the red alert.  Smooth move, ex-lax.

All the soldiers are taking their battle stations, a lot of which is outside so its only Cammy and Hawk taking them on.  Ken and Ryu are told to find the hostages and they’ll get some first-class tickets back home.  Sagat and Vega figure now is the perfect time to get their revenge.  E. Honda decides to pick a fight with Zangief for no real apparent reason and sumo splashes the Russian through the floor.  Bison wants to know where Blanka is but Dee Jay says the system’s starting to crash.  They do get a short video feed of Blanka going after Bison’s soldiers.  They check out what he’s been watching lately and it’s all pictures of babies, which pisses Bison off.  Guess he doesn’t like babies.

Outside, the AN soldiers arrive to fight off the Bison soldiers.  Cammy and Hawk have run out of bullets so they keep doing the same moves over and over again.  CHEAP!  I HATE WHEN PEOPLE DO THAT!

Bison starts to figure that losing may actually be a reality but he knows he can count on Dee Jay to fight by his side.  Dee Jay instantly takes off, since he’s not much of a fighter.  After dodging an explosion, Ken says he’s outta here, but Ryu wants to stay.  Ken just wants to get paid, so he takes off to steal some booty.  Ryu continues to look for the hostages.

Guile fights off the soldiers as much as he can but before he can get out the door another wave of soldiers run out to meet him.  He’s got no gun so he pulls out a knife and they start backing off.  Cammy (surrounded by troops) comes out to say they’ve pushed the enemy back but can’t find Bison.  He just shows up on the video screen to call them names but he does come out and wants to fight Guile in unarmed combat.  Guile accepts and tells everyone to leave, if he’s not out of there in fifteen minutes, leave without him.

Elsewhere, one of the AN troops has tapped into the security system and wants Capt. Sawada (a character someone felt important enough to add to the Street Fighter: The Movie game, which took the MK digitized route and played like crap) to look at it.  They wind up watching Honda and Zangief fighting through the Bisonopolis model while sounds from a Godzilla movie are dubbed overtop.  Ugh.

The main event as it were is actually going pretty well.  I read Raul Julia actually studied some martial arts before doing the film and he’s keeping up with Van Damme.  Obviously he’s not doing anything flashy, but it’s still good.  They fall off the balcony into Bison’s hover command station and Guile starts pounding Bison’s head against a bell that’s hanging from the roof.  Bison gets knocked off the station and onto the floor where Guile continues to pummel him.  Bison comes back a few times but a few Flash Kicks (yes!) later, Bison’s out of it.  Guile kicks him into a control panel and Bison gets electrocuted.

Guile picks up a communicator and wants Cammy to tell him what’s going on, all the while ignoring all the monitors now reading off several attempts to revive Bison.  Yeah, actually his SUIT is reviving him, providing CPR, electric shocks and adrenaline shots.  Hey, now I see why someone got credit for that!  I bet Raul Julia coulda used to one of those suits for real after the movie.  Guile turns around just in time for Bison to shock the shit out of him.  Remember, in the game, Bison had all those funky powers, including the power to levitate?  Well, soon he’s gonna let us in on the secret.

Elsewhere, Dee Jay finds a case full of money and takes off.  Ken shows up a minutes after that and takes a golden statue.  He fools around with the security cameras and find Ryu looking around.  Sagat and Vega show up in the room.  Vega takes the claw to Ryu’s stomach but gets knocked into some lockers.

The explanation!!  Guile though Bison was all about unarmed combat, but Bison shrugs his shoulders saying it’s merely SUPER CONDUCTURAL ELECTROMAGNETISM!  Yeesh.  He explains that that’s what levitates the bullet trains in Tokyo, what levitates his command desk, and it also levitates him.  His boots light up like hundred dollar Nikes and starts flying around kicking the shit out of Guile.

Speaking of getting the shit kicked out of someone, that’s what’s happening to Ryu, getting tag teamed by Sagat and Vega.  No worries, Ken shows up to save the day!  In the midst of the fight, Ryu pulls off THE FIREBALL!  Though all he did was the motion and the screen flashed for a second, that’s it.  Weak!  Ryu pushes Vega’s face towards an open incinerator door and the pretty boy gets some burns on his face.  Ken gets a low blow on Sagat and hits the weakest dragon uppercut ever.  Ryu and Ken knock out Vega and Sagat and victory is theirs!

Meanwhile, Bison is still shocking the hell out of Guile and wants to be accepted as a Good and figures now would be the best time to pray to him.  He goes for one last pass but Guile knocks him back with a spinning kick and sends Bison flying into the video wall, electrocuting him a second time.

The Street Fighters have finally found the hostages and escort them out.  Honda and Zangief are still fighting and Chun-Li yells at him to come along.  Honda takes off leaving Zangief wanting more.  Big Z sees Dee Jay.  Dee Jay lays it out for the retard, Bison’s the bad guy, everyone trying to stop him are the good guys.  Dee Jay says he just stuck around cause he got paid.  Zangief is confused, he never got paid.  The exit is found as Chun-Li questions Cammy’s choice of hair style; Cammy returns the favor.  The big exit door’s closing but someone comes around and lifts it up all by himself!  It’s Zangief!


Dee Jay finds a secret way out, but Sagat’s right behind him.  They open the chest Dee Jay and it’s full of money!  BISON MONEY!

Guile takes off looking for Charlie.  He finds him and Dhalsim, who’s now bald for some reason.  Charlie says he can’t go back, not with the way he looks.  Dhalsim says he’ll atone for his actions by staying with him when the building comes down.  Smart move!

The countdown begins and everyone and the hostages make it out alive!  Except for Guile, who’s nowhere to be seen.  Can he be dead for a second time?  Everyone’s getting misty-eyed when they hear coughing.  They look around and there’s Guile!  How he survived an exploding building, no one will ever know.  Chun-Li wants to know if she can get an interview with Guile now, and he accepts as long as she wears that dress.  The rest of the building comes down and they do their trademark poses to end the movie.


Oh yeah, stick around after the credits. . .nah, on second thought, it’s just Bison’s arm coming out of the rubble and playing with the computer, selecting “world domination” from the options and hitting the replay button.  That’s one button I won’t be hitting, that’s for sure.

Overall:  If you’re a fan of the games, you’d have probably hated this.  If you aren’t, you may find some enjoyment but it’s still not a good movie in the end.  I tried watching this with both perspectives in mind and wound up not liking it either way.  The fan in me cries in pain with what they’ve done with some of the characters, and yet there’s a lot of convoluted shit in here.  I joked about the story being done on a Mad Lib sheet, but really, this movie could’ve been made without the Street Fighters and it would’ve ended up the same.  There were a few funny parts, some decent fights but nothing special.  Most of the “special” attack moves looked retarded in real life.  It’s sad to watch the extras and watch the actors get excited with the movie they’re doing.  They’re clearly having fun with what they’re doing (especially Raul Julia), and it shows, but it’s just not a great movie, plain and simple.  This gets a 3 out of 10.  Trust me, there’s worse video game translations out there.

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4 Responses to The 2am Review

  1. Chapel says:

    You really think Tomb Raider was shit and Mortal Kombat good?
    Wing Commander`s a better example of a shit game to movie conversion

  2. Shaun says:

    Well wait til I get around to a multi-review of games-to-movies. Tomb Raider was an old, yet more popular, dud compared to Wing Commander. It wasn’t even Wing Commander. No Hamill = no WC.

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