Oh… the… humanity. Never again did I expect to watch writer/director Steven de Souza’s debacle known as ‘Street Fighter’ with my devilishly handsome set of brown peepers, never mind seeing the repulsive flick in 1080p high-definition. Yet here we are with this Blu-ray, and all I can ask is: Why god, why? If Street Fighter fans weren’t disgusted enough with this Muppet version of G.I. Joe the first go around, I have no doubt this time Jean-Claude Van Damme won’t be the only one curled up in a fetal position on the floor weeping in shame.
The story takes place somewhere in South Asia in the fictional nation of Shadaloo (Shadaloo, Shadaloo, can you do the fandango?), where forces of the Allied Nations desperately wage war against the army of a villainous drug lord named General M. Bison (Raúl Juliá). After Bison’s soldiers capture dozens of the AN’s relief workers, the megalomaniac sends a video streaming ultimatum to the opposing commander, Colonel William F. Guile (Van Damme), demanding twenty billion dollars in a timely three days or the hostages will die [insert maniacal cackle here]. Luckily, Guile’s lieutenant, Cammy (Kylie Minogue before her extreme makeover into a pop diva sex kitten), manages to partially trace the whereabouts of Bison’s fortress, while Guile thwarts an attempt on his own life by a thug associated with Bison’s gunrunner, Victor Sagat (Wes Studi).
Meanwhile, two conmen, Ryu Hoshi (Byron Mann) and Ken Masters (Damian Chapa), have wriggled their way into Sagat’s underworld and are exposed for trying to swindle the arms dealer out of high-powered weaponry. Before Sagat gets his vengeance against them, though, Guile’s forces show up just in the nick of time, taking everyone prisoner. Between pressuring Ryu and Ken to help his cause and the unlikely assistance from a news reporter named Chun-Li (Ming-Na), Guile may have a shot at overthrowing Bison once and for all. However, the General has a trick up his sleeve of his own—as one of his scientist pets, Dr. Dhalsim (Roshan Seth), is hard at work on a secret project, transforming Guile’s friend, Carlos “Charlie” Blanka (Robert Mammone), into a powerful mutant monster. After all, like any good villain mastermind, it’s crucial to have an elaborate means for disposing of the hostages with a certain level of style. It’s in the egomaniac’s handbook.
‘Street Fighter’ took a terrible tumble right out of the gate and couldn't fully recover afterwards largely due to its totally inept script. Unlike ‘Mortal Kombat’ that at least kept the tournament fighting theme, Steven de Souza attempts to manufacture an action epic that ventures so far off base it just falls flat on its face. The story is so overly complex it comes off as clumsy, and the characters are so mutilated that their only resemblance to Capcom's videogame is by appearance only. The entire travesty completely deviates from what ‘Street Fighter’ is all about, and it wouldn’t surprise me if de Souza merely dusted off one of his rejected screenplays for something else and changed a few names here and there. That’s sure what it feels like.
Even worse than Steven de Souza the writer however, is Steven de Souza the director. There’s a reason ‘Street Fighter’ is his first and only theatrical directorial project: the man has no clue what he’s doing. All of the characters’ lines come out awkward and the fight sequences are stuck in practice mode—almost as if what we’re watching is the very first rehearsal. A few examples of the amateurish cinematography include when a tiny Kylie Minogue jumps onto one of Bison’s soldiers and choppily kerplunks him over with her thighs, or the entire ridiculous sequence with Guile’s stealth boat. The whole time I was hoping that maybe—just maybe—Blanka would redeem everything and look semi-cool, but what emerges is none other than the illegitimate offspring between the Lou Ferrigno ‘Hulk’ and a “Troll Kid.” Honestly, I had better looking Halloween costumes during the eighties.
One thing I will admit, I did have a hard time quelling my laughter after reading the synopsis on the back of the case which states, "…this film hurtles beyond imagination with explosive action, humor and amazing special effects." Um, we are referring to ‘Street Fighter’ aren’t we? The action is terrible, I didn’t find any of the intentional humor funny, and the special effects are downright laughable. The only thing this movie hurtles beyond is stupidity.
Universal brings the ‘Street Fighter’ atrocity to high-definition with a pretty decent 1080p/VC-1 (2.35:1 aspect ratio) transfer on this Blu-ray. It isn’t the best picture I've seen for a catalog title, but it definitely isn’t the worst, either.
’Street Fighter’ features a colorful and clown-like palette, especially in regards to the wardrobe of cartoonish costumes (including the pastel blue berets of Guile and his troops that practically scream “beat me up”). The picture has good dimensionality and benefits from strong black levels and shadowing. Detailing is also solid for the most part, although in some cases it was obscured by the smoky atmosphere of certain settings such as Sagat’s illegal fight club. The most noticeable issue for me was a small amount of noise running rampant throughout the whole movie, which becomes more noticeable in the poorly lit scenes. I didn’t think it was as annoying as some films, but it still provided enough of a distraction at any rate.
The U.S. version of the “Street Fighter” Blu-ray apparently isn’t region-locked so it should play in all PlayStation 3 and standalone players.
‘Street Fighter’ packs a powerful punch in the audio department, boasting a solid lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track for an older catalog dud.
I’m calling this one the way I see it: loud and noisy. The blaring musical score by Graeme Revell sounded more like a screeching racket used to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, but at least the bass was enjoyable with a few decent explosions. The surrounds also come alive with all of the incessant gunfire and megaphone blabbing from the Allied Nations troops. Dialogue was clear and easy to understand, except for Van Damme’s rambling speech that should have had one of those translators in a window on the bottom corner of the screen just to explain what the heck he was saying. Why couldn’t he just keep it short and sweet? You know, something along the lines of “We fight for freedom, wherever there’s trouble… G.I. Joe—I mean Street Fighter—is there! A real American heeero—Street Fighter is they-eee-ere!” Yes, that is me dripping with sarcasm.
The Blu-ray disc also includes French and Spanish DTS 5.1 tracks, as well as optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles.
Nearly all of the bonus features on the ‘Street Fighter: Extreme Edition’ Blu-ray are included on the standard DVD version (which have just been recycled from the previous Collector’s Edition). The list might seem long, but looks can be deceiving as there’s hardly any content here of real value.
It’s blatantly obvious that Universal’s only motive behind dusting off ‘Street Fighter’ is to cash-in on the recent ‘Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li’ movie as well as the ‘Street Fighter IV’ game to make a quick buck. Honestly, there really is no other explanation for re-releasing this god-awful piece of cinematic crap. At least the movie never looked or sounded better than it does on this Blu-ray, but the paltry assortment of extras is almost as embarrassing as the film itself. Therefore, it’s time to throw in the towel and put this 'Street Fighter' out of its (not to mention our) misery. Game over.