Film: Street Fighter
aka: Street Fighter The Movie
(also called Street Fighter: The Movie
) is a Live-Action Adaptation
of the wildly popular Street Fighter
In the remote southeast Asian country of Shadaloo, the power mad dictator General M. Bison (Raul Julia
) is trying to usurp power and take over first the country, then the world. OF COURSE!!!
To fund his megalomaniacal schemes, he's captured several dozen relief workers, who totally are not from the Red Cross, and is holding them hostage for the sum of twenty billion US dollars. It is up to the Allied Nation
forces, led by Col. William F. Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme
), to get in there, take out Bison, and rescue the hostages. And they have three days to do so before hostages start dying. His immediate subordinates include Lieutenant Cammy (Kylie Minogue
). and Sergeant T. Hawk
Ace reporter Chun-Li Xiang (Ming-Na Wen
), joined by former champion boxer Balrog (Grand L. Bush) and sumotori E. Honda (Peter Navy Tuiasosopo) are sucked into the action, while smugglers Rye-you and Ken (played respectively by Byron Mann and Damian Chapa) conduct shady business deals with local Muay Thai god Viktor Sagat (Wes Studi). They, along with the cage fighter Vega (Jay Tavare) are thrown in jail. Meanwhile, Guile's old buddy Carlos "Charlie" Blanka
(Robert Mammone) is used in Dr. Dhalsim's (Roshan Seth) Super Soldier
project, to turn him into a green-skinned, super powerful monstrosity. Eventually all parties involved converge on Bison's base for the epic final showdown.
If you're even slightly familiar with the Street Fighter
storyline (what little it has, anyway), you'll notice something seems a little... well, off
The producers had some strange ideas about how to work the complex characters and storylines in the live action production. They didn't get a lot of them right, to say the least. Though to be fair, at the time the series was still in its infancy and hardly had any information on the characters let alone the story (really, the plot of the second game was that Bison was a bad guy hosting a tournament; that was about it
), so the writers had to make do with what they had. The film is noticeable for the late Raul Julia's portrayal of Bison which would be his final role. He took the job knowing he was dying of stomach cancer and let his children pick out which movie would be his last
, and apparently wanted to go out on a loud note
for his final performance.
To say the least, the film is very polarizing to fans of the series. Some considering it chuckle worthy
and a Guilty Pleasure
, others claiming it an hackneyed presentation of the series. But considering all the memes that stemmed from it, its most likely a Cult Classic
Aspects of the movie were expanded on in the cartoon Street Fighter
, which came out shortly after the film.
Fifteen years would pass before another live-action Street Fighter
film would be made, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
This film provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Zangief genuinely believes that Bison is a wise leader and that he's fighting for the good guys. He sees their organization as some inspiring movement and expresses love for their "team spirit" while instructing Ken and Ryu.
- Adaptational Heroism: Balrog (the boxer) is one of the good guys in this film.
- Adaptational Villainy: Zangief (a characterization that stuck in the cartoon) and, very glaringly, Dee Jay. Ryu and Ken are a minor case, because they're more on the neutral side of things here.
- Adaptational Wimp:
- Dhalsim, who goes from a stretching, fire-breathing yoga master, to a bullied lab technician with no powers. Supposedly, he would have gotten his powers in the sequel, but it was never made.
- Chun-Li at first gives the appearance of being this, but it turns out to be Obfuscating Stupidity.
- Amazon Chaser: Only briefly. When Chun-Li manages to get away after finding out Guile faked his death, he says "what a woman" in response to her being called crazy.
- Antagonist in Mourning: Bison really wishes that Guile was alive... so he can snap his spine.
"The road not taken..."
- Art Imitates Art: Mr. Bison Rearing Horse painting is just Napoleon Crossing the Alps after a switcheroo.◊
- Banana Republic: Shadaloo.
- Berserk Button: Openly questioning Bison's sanity is definitely not recommended for anyone keen on staying alive and healthy. He plans to sic Blanka on the kidnapped AN workers simply because they called him "mad".
- Bicep-Polishing Gesture: Guile does this to taunt Bison while being interviewed at the beginning of the movie. Given that it's Jean Claude Van Damme doing it, it's probably the bras d'honneur.
- Big Bad: M. Bison.
- Blunt "Yes":
Bison: You dare to interfere?
Ryu: ... yeah.
- Bollywood Nerd: Dr. Dhalsim, now an Indian scientist forced to work for Bison.
- Brand X: The AN, analogous to the United Nations. According to the director's commentary, the UN threatened to sue the pants off the filmmakers if they portrayed them.
- Brick Joke:
- The Bison Dollars, which Sagat is disgusted at. Sagat and Dee Jay ultimately end up with a box full of worthless Bison dollars at the end.
- The Bisonopolis set becomes a battleground for Zangief and Honda.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The trope namer. After Chun-Li explains how Bison's forces attacked her village and killed her father, Bison responds with this.
: That's why Dhalsim can't breathe fire in this movie. They needed all the burn for that line.
- California Doubling: During the assault scenes on Bison's fortress, the Gold Coast hinterlands of Queensland, Australia fill in for South East Asia. The copious number of gumtrees make it rather obvious.
- Calling Your Attacks: A few different examples:
Cammy: THRUST KICK!
- Canon Foreigner: Captain Sawada, who substitutes Fei Long from the games. He only appeared as a playable character in the two games based on the movies.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: This is why Bison allows Dhalsim to live after Dhalsim makes the mistake of pressing Bison's Berserk Button by calling him psychotic.
- Chewing the Scenery:
- Colonel Badass: Guile.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The AN Soldiers are clad in blue, while the Bison Troopers sport evil red.
- Composite Character: Carlos "Charlie" Blanka.
- Crazy-Prepared: Bison has a life support system (CPR, defibrillator, adrenaline injection) built into his uniform.
- Creator Cameo: Capcom's CEO at the time (Kenzo Tsujimoto) makes a cameo appearance during Guile's speech near the end (he's the stout middle-aged Japanese guy who appears prominently in a few shots).
- Deadpan Snarker: Dee Jay, oddly enough.
- Death by Irony: When Bison captures a bunch of AN soldiers, he tells them: "You came from across the world to fight me soldier. Now's your chance." He then challenges each of them to hand-to-hand combat and kills them one by one. Bison also attempts to kill the hostages in this manner by setting Blanka loose on them.
Bison: Your masters at the AN call me a wild beast. So be it. You do not deserve the martial dignity of a firing squad. You shall be killed by a wild beast!
- Dedication: "For Raul. Vaya con Dios."note
- Demoted to Extra: Cammy, T. Hawk, and Captain Sawada have very little screen time. More glaringly, Ryu and Ken go from co-protagonists to Those Two Guys.
- The Ditz: Zangief. They see on a live video feed that a large vehicle filled with dynamite rigged to blow is about to crash into the very building they are in. Zangief's solution is "Quick! Change the channel!"
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: Bison does this when Guile taunts him on live TV.
- Dumb Muscle: Zangief, to the point where he actually thought that Bison's group were the good guys, fighting against the evil, oppressive AN despite the fact that he knew Bison had taken hostages and was in the middle of ransoming them. And, of course, the scene with the TV, where he thinks changing the channel will make the exploding truck coming at them on live TV go away.
- Dying Moment of Awesome of the real life kind: see Awesome, Dear Boy in the Trivia tab. Julia did it because he was dying of cancer. His children chose his final role.
- Egopolis: Bisonopolis.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Bison recruits minions and henchmen from all over the world. The end of the movie even has a joke segment using national stereotypes to make fun of his international regiments.
- Estrogen Brigade: Invoked with Vega's female fans at the prize fight. One of them has a sign asking him to marry her, which she quickly discards after she sees Ryu.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted. Dee Jay is clearly dismissive of Bison's more insane plans like taking hostages and conquering the world with super-soldiers, but happily ignores Bison's megalomania because of the money he's getting paid.
- Evil Is Hammy: OF COURSE!
- Face Death with Dignity: Bison is willing to do this and expects Dee Jay to do the same, but Dee Jay isn't so enthusiastic about it.
- Failed a Spot Check: Ken and Ryu walk right into the middle of a standoff between Bison and Sagat's forces, loudly announcing the place is going to blow up in 10 minutes. This is justified as Ken and Ryu are working as Guile's undercover agents and if Bison dies at the black market, the hostages will never be found.
- Faking the Dead: Guile's death was staged so that Ken and Ryu could gain acceptance with Sagat's gang and infiltrate Shadaloo.
- Faux Action Girl: Bison accuses Chun-Li of being this, but that was part of her plan.
- Faux Affably Evil: Bison is respectful and polite (unless you push his Berserk Button, that is) while making no secret of the fact that he's also a murderous dictator. Bison voices his regret at Guile's apparent demise, for he wanted the two of them to meet each other in combat as noble warriors... right before he would personally snap his spine. He also makes a rather emotional speech that he wants to help mankind by enslaving the world with an army of super soldiers.
- Fictional United Nations: The Allied Nations, due to the fact that the United Nations threatened to sue the filmmakers if they used the actual UN.
- Five-Bad Band
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The barrel that Chun-Li, Balrog, and E. Honda use in their magic act has the Capcom logo on it.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Balrog and E. Honda are imprisoned in Bison's lair, Balrog tells Honda to give him a hand.note Honda replies that they've only been in jail for two hours; maybe next month.
- Go-Go Enslavement: After Bison gets his hands on Chun-Li, she ends up in a Qipao and make-up. Of course, she's only letting him think she's helpless.
- Global Currency: This is what Bison intends for his Bison Dollars to be. As he says, each one will be worth exactly five British pounds, "for that is the price they will set when I kidnap their Queen!" Of course, until that time they're about as valuable as Monopoly dollars, which Sagat rudely points out when Bison tries to use them in their arms deal.
: On the contrary, Matt. It will only take one Bison Dollar to have your maroon uniform cleaned and pressed. That is the exchange rate that Tide will agree to… once I have kidnapped the Queen of Detergent.
- Gloved Fist of Doom: "Pax Bisonica!"
- A God Am I: Guess who.
- He also seems to think he is God's son, as he puts himself in Jesus' place when he paraphrases a Biblical quote about Jesus watching Satan's downfall.
Bison: Something wrong, Colonel? You come here prepared to fight a madman, and instead you found a god? [...] You still refuse to accept my godhood? Keep your own God! In fact, this might be a good time to pray to Him!
- Handy Cuffs: Chun-Li has her hands bound in front of her. It takes her about two seconds to snap the leather, leaving her with spiked wrist guards and Bison's ass to kick.
- Heel Realization: Zangief thought he was fighting for the good guys. As soon as he gets the alignments straightened out, he proceeds to help the AN troops.
Zangief: "You got... paid?"
- Hit You So Hard Your X Will Feel It:
Guile: I'm gonna get on my boat, and I'm going up river, and I'm going to kick that son of a bitch Bison's ass so hard that the next Bison wannabe is gonna feel it!
- Hypocrite: Guile tells Chun-Li that the war isn't about her personal vendetta... it's about his. Of course, he also plans to save the hostages, so he's at least thinking more rationally.
- Hypocritical Humor: Chun-Li teases Cammy about her change in hairstyle toward the end of the movie, which Cammy responds with "Look who's talking!" Chun-Li looks up at her own hairstyle and wordlessly concedes that Cammy is right.
- Ignored Enemy: Ryu and Ken ignore their captors and have a brief fistfight in the prison camp, but it's a ruse to grab the keys to the lock.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Notably averted in the scene when Sagat is making his weapons deal with Bison, everybody is keeping their fingers off the triggers and appears to be pointing the weapons away from each other (though of course, they are in a large room and it's unclear if they are pointing the weapons at anybody else).
- It Got Worse: This line is actually used by Ken when he and Ryu are lamenting their situation in Sagat's arms market, saying it can't possibly get any worse, right before realizing they're in the middle of a stand off between Bison's and Sagat's mooks.
- Jerkass Realization: Zangief is stupid enough to not realize that he's working for a colossal asshole until much, much later.
- Kaiju: The battle between E. Honda and Zangief in the model of Bisonopolis looks like a Kaiju battle when viewed through a security camera.
- Large Ham: Julia's version of Bison is even more fondly remembered than Norio Wakamoto's portrayals.
: Raul Julia acted like his whole movie was a pantomime and displayed so little knowledge of the game that he probably thought a joystick was something you rented from a Thai ladyboy. But at least he was obviously enjoying himself. Raising the total number of people enjoying the movie to "One," or "One more than Legend of Chun-Li
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There are so many characters who are there just to be there, that you can't really care about any of them.
- Load-Bearing Hero: Zangief in particular.
- Logo Joke: The globe in the Universal Vanity Plate becomes embossed into the Shadaloo emblem seen on Bison's cap.
- Mercy Kill: Subverted. Guile is about to give one to Blanka but is stopped by Dhalsim.
- Mind Rape: Used on Blanka to transform him into a killing machine. Blanka overcomes it.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Zangief isn't actually evil, he just happens to be fighting for the wrong people. Fortunately, he realizes this at the end.
- Mooks: The Shadaloo army, who, appropriately enough given how many are mowed down, wear red uniforms.
- Motive Rant: Bison explains to Zangief and Dee Jay that his Super Soldier-fueled army is intended to unite the world under one rule (his).
- Neck Lift: Bison does this to Dhalsim after Dhalsim makes the mistake of pressing Bison's Berserk Button.
- New Era Speech: Bison gives a pretty epic one to his henchmen, who have somewhat different interpretations of it.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Charlie is mutated and tortured halfway into insanity because Guile decided to make it clear (in front of the psychotic dictator) that he was friends with the leader of the Allied Nations forces.
- Nightmare Face: Bison's eyes are disturbingly huge at times. Especially when he says "Anyone who opposes me shall be destroyed."
- Non Indicative Name: Despite being a fighting game, relatively little of the run-time involves martial arts combat, with Guile vs. Bison being the only extended fight sequence. The large ensemble spends more time shooting and fighting mooks than other named characters.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Ryu's name is incorrectly pronounced "Rye-you". Ironically, Guile, who fails to pronounce every other word in the dictionary, is the only character capable of saying it right. Bison gets it right, too, but he screws up Zangief's name right before that.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Guile in the games is American. Guile in the movie is a Belgian-American immigrant? Classic JCVD at work.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: A variant with Chun-Li. She never goes anywhere without her two burly bodyguards, Balrog and E. Honda, leaving Bison to think that she's defenseless without them.
'Chun-Li: That's exactly... what I wanted you to think.''
- Obliviously Evil: Bison can't seem to grasp why people call him horrific and evil. This is coming from the man who never remembers people he's murdered due to his enormous ego considering them so far beneath him, is holding people hostage, and has a chandelier made of skeletons.
- Only in It for the Money: Dee Jay only works for Bison because he promised him a fortune, and was fully aware that Bison was a power mad dictator unlike the clueless Zangief. This became a case of Laser-Guided Karma as his "fortune" turns out to be stacks of worthless Bison dollars.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Bison invokes this when informed of Guile's (fake) death, lamenting that he wanted to be one to defeat Guile.
- Only Mostly Dead: Bison after the first part of the fight with Guile.
- Not Quite Dead: After the credits, Bison punches his way out of that wall of monitors.
- Only Sane Man: Dee Jay serves this role for the villains. When your organization consists of a deranged megalomaniac, a hulking idiot, and a bunch of mooks who graduated with flying colours from the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, it's not hard to qualify as this.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Bison, especially with his "I know women and you are harmless" remark towards Chun-Li. He also makes fun of the one-eyed Sagat with an "I guess you didn't SEE that, did you?"
- Power-Upgrading Deformation: What was done to Blanka.
- Pragmatic Adaptation
- Psycho Electro: Bison was already apeshit insane, but he gets even more loopy when his revival causes him to have electric powers.
- Punch Clock Villain: Dee Jay, who's only in it for the money.
"Oh, man. I shoulda stayed at Microsoft!"
- Race Lift: Most glaringly, E. Honda went from Japanese to Native Hawaiian. Guile changes ethnicity, largely due to who's playing him.
- Raised Hand of Survival: At the end, Bison's hand rises out of the debris while a computer voiceover informs us that his batteries are still working. We then see him opening a computer file labeled "World Domination" and hitting the replay button.
- Rousing Speech: Guile's "We Can All Go Home" speech.
"Well, I'm not going home. I'm going to get in my boat, and I'm going up the river, and I'm going to kick that son-of-a-bitch Bison's ass so hard, that the next Bison wannabe is gonna feel it. Now who wants to go home, and who wants to go with me?!"
- Sand In My Eyes: Or, as Cammy claims, tear gas.
- Scared of What's Behind You: At one point a weaponless Guile faces off with a bunch of armed Bison mooks. He pulls his knife, and the mooks start backing off. This makes Guile cocky and overconfident until he realizes that Cammy and the rest of his troops have shown up behind him, and that's what the mooks were actually scared of.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: On the one hand, Guile did take out Bison in the end, but on the other hand, he disobeyed a direct order from his superiors and would very likely be court-martialed for military insurrection.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Realizing his job will soon cease to exist, Dee Jay hilariously drops out during Bison's Last Stand speech.
- Ship Tease: Guile/Chun-Li. Also a bit of Guile/Cammy, though more on her end than his.
- Shock and Awe: Bison uses this against Guile in their final battle.
Bison: This is merely Superconductor Electromagnetism.
- Shirtless Scene: Twice for Ryu. When his shirt is ripped off by one of Sagat's lady followers before he fights Vega at the beginning and by himself when he fights Vega at the end.
- Signed Up for the Dental: Dee Jay knows his employer is a power mad dictator. But he pays well.
- The Stinger/The End... Or Is It?: Bison survives the massive explosion and immediately orders his computer to restart his world domination plans. This is to kick start the cartoon.
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Guile and Bison order their respective allies to leave them alone for the final battle.
- Stock Scream: And it's one you'd least expect... wait for it... WAH-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOOEY!
- Super Soldier: Bison attempts to turn Blanka into one as the prototype to create an army of them.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
- Captain Sawada served as a substitute for Fei Long, who is the only character from the series at the time who didn't appear in the film. This was because of copyright issues due to Fei Long's resemblance to Bruce Lee. Among the other reasons, the producers deemed Fei Long "too generic" a character, the uncertainty of how a Hong Kong action movie star would fit in the story and the fact he would risk making Ken and Ryu seem redundant.
- According to one story, Capcom wanted the actor to play Ryu, but his English skills weren't strong enough for the part, so the Sawada character was created to give him something similar he could do.
- Swiss Bank Account: Bison has one, which he wants the $20,000,000,000 ransom wired to.
- Take Over the World: Bison's final objective. It's probably worth noting that he doesn't even come very close. His whole scheme is the hostage thing, at least in the short term. On the other hand, he is flipping insane. If we believe the map, he did take over Burma. That's better than some supervillains.
- This Is What the Building Will Look Like: Bisonopolis.
- Those Two Guys: Ryu and Ken.
- Title: The Adaptation: Subverted. The movie is simply called Street Fighter. Street Fighter: The Movie was the title used for the video game versions.
- Turns Red/One-Winged Angel: Guile kills Bison, then calls Cammy to give an update. Meanwhile, the computer revives Bison, pumps him full of adrenaline, then gives him the power to fly and shoot electricity. This is quite funny when you realize this pretty much accurately portrays how Final Boss AI tends to work in fighting games. You kick their ass in the first round, and then in the next, they suddenly get way tougher. And sometimes even use moves they didn't before (although Bison could only use electricity in the game of the movie of the game).
- Two Rights Make A Wrong: Bison, of all people, acknowledges this, straight to their faces.
"Had you worked together instead of against each other, you might have been successful."
- Verb This!: E. Honda socks a Bison trooper in the face with a "Fat boy THIS!", not too long after said Bison trooper yanked him and the others along with a "Move it, fat boy".
- Visionary Villain: Bison wants to create a race of genetically-engineered Super Soldiers to wipe out all traces of race, nation and creed so that the whole world can live in peace under his rule.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: M. Bison is a megalomaniacal madman, but he genuinely seems to be thinking that he's performing his Evil Plan for the good of mankind. As he explains in a visionary speech, he wants to create an army of genetic Super Soldiers swearing absolute obedience to him. Then by conquering the world he can do away with conflicts based on race, nation, or creed, and everyone can live peacefully under his dominion.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Dhalsim lectures Guile over this when he decides Charlie is Better Off Dead. Without asking Charlie, of course.
- Will Not Be A Victim: Chun-Li.
- Worthy Opponent: Bison seems to regard Guile as this, but subverts it immediately.
Bison: I was hoping to face Guile personally on the battlefield. One gentleman warrior to another, in respectful combat. Then I would snap his spine.
- Wretched Hive: The place where Bison and Sagat were hanging out and making their Black Market trades.
- "YEAH!" Shot: The film ends with the heroes striking poses similar to their winposes from the games shortly after Bison's castle blows up.
- You Don't Look Like You: Ryu, let's see: no headband, shirtless, the hair... they made Byron Mann look like he can pass MUCH more easily as Fei Long!