Street Fighter (also called Street Fighter: The Movie) is a Live-Action Adaptation of the wildly popular Street Fighter series.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 (Gregg Rainwater).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.
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.
Cracked: 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.
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!
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 is about to crash into the very building they are in. Zangief's solution is "Quick! Change the channel!"
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.
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.
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.
Sixth Ranger Traitor: Blanka was never really on Bison's side to begin with. And once Zangief realizes his employers are not as noble as the appear to be, he switches sides and helps the heroes escape.
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.
Chris Sims: 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.
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.
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.
Cracked: 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 thanLegend of Chun-Li."
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."
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.
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.
"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?!"
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.
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.
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.
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.