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Awesome VG Adaptations: Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie

On 11/09/2021 at 10:57 AM by The Last Ninja

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Released in 1994, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie was one of the first major video game movies ever released. After all, what was bigger than Street Fighter II in 1994? Thankfully, Capcom put their A Team on this one, giving us an entertaining movie with a great cast and a compelling narrative. The movie doesn’t pull punches either. This isn’t a goofy kids movie, but rather, it takes the lore of Street Fighter II seriously. 

The story is that Shadaloo (a terrorist organization that wants to take over the world) is using cyborgs to gather data on the world’s greatest fighters in order to create a team of powerful super fighters using M. Bison’s psycho powers (it sounds ridiculous when you just come out and say it like that). Shadaloo is also looking for Ryu, believing him to be the most powerful fighter they’ve seen thus far—the reason is because the movie’s opening shows us an epic fight between Ryu and Sagat, and Ryu defeats him and gives him that huge scar across his chest. Meanwhile, Interpol (led by Chun-Li) is also looking for Ryu (and his fellow fighter Ken) in order to protect them from Shadaloo. 

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Ryu and Ken’s relationship is the crux of the story. As the movie progresses, you’ll see several flashbacks that show the two growing up together and learning to fight. We’ll watch as Ryu saves Ken’s life, and as Ken gives Ryu a bandage for his bloodied head. These touching moments make the climax that much more impactful, when Ryu and Ken must come together to fight the imposing and all-powerful Bison. Ryu is a loner, wandering from place to place, and yet his fighting prowess is unmatched—we watch as he defeats Fei Long in a street fight and beats up some goons during a shoot-out. We also see his kindness as he takes the time to help a small child (twice) when circumstances don’t work out. Ken, on the other hand, is a hothead who loves to brag. However, even in these moments, we get to see his compassion as he remembers a flashback, and we learn that he truly cares for Ryu. 

The other main characters of the movie are Guile and Chun-Li. Guile is a military man who likes to work alone, which is why he butts heads with Chun-Li, who won’t take no for an answer. Guile reluctantly works with Chun-Li at first, but over time a friendship develops, and when Chun-Li’s life is put in mortal danger, we see how much Guile really cares about her. Chun-Li has a personal vendetta against Bison because he killed her father. The movie doesn’t have much humor (apart from some funny lines from E. Honda), but the last scene we see from Guile and Chun-Li is quite funny and heartwarming. 

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The main villain is M. Bison, who is huge, imposing, and demands that he always gets what he wants. He’s not the most interesting villain, as he’s quite one-sided, but he’s still great. His cronies include Balrog, Vega, and Sagat. Sadly, these three are very underutilized in the movie (except for Vega, who has a vicious fight with Chun-Li). All of the other SF II characters are also in the movie (including the ones from Super SF II), but most of them are just in one scene (usually a fight) and that’s it (fan service, y’know). Cammy gets an exciting scene at the beginning of the movie in which she brutally murders a diplomat, but then she’s not in the rest of the movie (come on!). We also get to see certain match-ups: E. Honda and Dhalsim fight, Zangief and Blanka fight, and Ken ends up fighting T. Hawk briefly. The English voice acting is also pretty good, with voices matching the characters almost perfectly. In fact, I can’t think of anyone who’s voice sounded off or different from what you would think. 

The animation is also very strong. Shots will often linger on a mountainside or a car as it drives along the highway. This deliberate choice is wise in that it doesn’t make the movie feel rushed—“enjoy the scenery” is what the creators are saying. The fights are excellent. They’re fun to watch as characters move about and perform attacks that any fan would recognize from the games. I think that some of the characters are way too bulging and buff (like Fei Long, who is clearly based on Bruce Lee, not a huge guy), but the giant fighters make the fights more imposing. The characters themselves look perfect, matching their design from the games to a T. I think that animation will always have this advantage over live action, as translating all of the SF characters to a live action movie isn’t always possible, but with animation it most certainly is. 

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Some of the fights are truly great because they make the heroes feel vulnerable. The fight between Chun-Li and Vega is brutal, being a fight to the death. It feels that at any moment Chun-Li could die, and so you (the viewer) are truly worried for her. The same goes for the excellent final battle, in which the heroes seem to be completely outmatched. While the fighting can be a bit too much spectacle at times (this is an anime, after all), it’s still very entertaining and well done. 

So yes, I completely recommend this movie. It’s probably the best Street Fighter movie so far (including both animated and live action). Be aware that the uncut version has some excess blood as well as a shower scene for Chun-Li that involves nudity (I think you can also get the censored version). The story is surprisingly not complicated (SF lore can be confusing), and the characters are pretty great too. So give it a watch if you’ve never seen it. Even if you’re not a SF fan, you can still have a good time with this one.

Purchase Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie here




11/09/2021 at 07:38 PM

My library doesn't have it but I'll keep an eye out for it in the wild. Maybe I'll stumble across it at a FYE or something. 

The Last Ninja

11/10/2021 at 12:07 AM

I have the link for Amazon. You can get the dvd for $20 if you want. 


11/10/2021 at 08:17 PM

I saw a bootleg of the English subbed Japanese original in art school, back in the fansub VHS days.  One of my friends then announced that he had brought it, and a few of us anime and fighting game heads ran into an empty classroom, which had a TV/VHS combo set, to check it out. We were all pretty stoked. SF was still huge at the time, and quality anime was not as readily available as it is now.  Everyone dug the anime. Very well coreographed and meaty fights, fan service, cool style, and pretty faithful representation of the game.  The animation was fairly high end for the time, second only to big budget features like Akira, Royal Space Force, Macross Plus. etc.  Those, as they say, were the days!

The Last Ninja

11/11/2021 at 10:31 AM

That's so cool that you could see it back then when it first came out. I think I first saw it a few years ago (on YouTube I think). It's so good, and I'm glad it's now available on bluray 

Cary Woodham

11/10/2021 at 08:24 PM

I rented it and watched it back in the day.  I think I fell asleep through it, though.  I was really tired.  I don't think I had to pay for the rental, though, because I knew people who worked at that video rental place back then and they let me rent a lot of stuff for free.

The Last Ninja

11/11/2021 at 10:32 AM

You should watch it again, the fights are really great. Just make sure you're not too tired when you watch it lol

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